Di Mayze, WPP: “The digital divide is real”

“The digital divide is real”

In today’s digital-first world, more and more data is being gathered, started and used - ushering in the first-party data era. But with that exponential growth comes challenges and, in today’s automated world, data bias.

In the latest episode of our Identity Architects podcast, InfoSum's SVP Sales Europe, Stu Colman, sat down with Di Mayze, Global Head of Data and AI at WPP, to discuss data transformation, privacy, collaboration, and more.

"I'm really conscious about the unintended consequences of data and how that feeds into AI and then what we eventually will be asking the machines to do. And, well, let's say most people don't mean any harm whether you're accidentally or unintentionally offering different prices to different ethnicities or genders or whether you're excluding groups. The digital divide is real and could be helped by data but possibly is being made worse."

Unintentional consequences and responsibility certainly make for an interesting debate. We’ve all become hyper-aware and are afraid to make mistakes to not lose customers. But there is one thing we need to keep reminding ourselves of:

"Where there's mistakes, there's great learnings. And if people learn and companies learn from that, then we can move forward and make sure we keep progressing."

That is the same with data privacy and targeted advertising. We are still talking about Google deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome and what that means for organizations - whether it’s advertisers, media owners or others - as well as consumers. For organizations, the focus should be on collecting and using the right data in the right way - always protecting consumer privacy. 

“We can't assume that individuals don't want to share their data because we know they do and they want to be recognized. I love it when a brand recognizes me as a loyal consumer.“

As an industry, we are consistently challenged to get the value exchange right. On the one hand, the knowledge about a consumer, and on the other, the value the consumer gets out of providing that data. It is long overdue that the industry rethinks its relationship with its customers. What part is WPP playing in all this?

“WPP's vision is to create better futures for our people, our planet, our clients and our communities. So the role of data and AI in that can be immense. [...] And then for the planet as a company that employs one 109,000 people and operates in pretty much every market, we have influence. [...] So I think that the scale mixed with our vision, we have a big role to play [...] thinking differently about data and thinking more creatively. [...] That ability and willingness to embrace that creativity has to come from the top and it has to be part of your DNA.”

Thanks, Di, for the chat!