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Episode One

Data, AI and Marketing - Charting the Uncharted in 2024

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Nine’s Liana Dubois and Suzie Cardwell with ADMA’s Andrea Martens discuss incoming post-privacy, post-cookie impacts

Seismic shifts in data privacy, the demise of third-party cookies, and the burgeoning influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) make 2024 “the most pivotal year for marketers in decades,” warns ADMA CEO Andrea Martens, with marketers “on the front line” for ensuring compliance under the new rules of engagement. Nine’s CMO Liana Dubois, Chief Data Officer Suzie Cardwell and ADMA CEO Andrea Martens, unpack what’s coming rapidly down the track. 

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Data privacy impacts

The year heralds the most extensive review of the Privacy Act since its late-1990s inception. What we know so far is these changes redefine personal information and place new demands on businesses. Companies must adapt to these legal shifts, balancing the collection and use of consumer data with heightened transparency and ethical considerations. This evolution challenges marketers to rethink their data strategies, pushing them towards more responsible and transparent practices in how they handle customer information.

In another seismic shift, the imminent removal of the Small Business exemption spells a broader impact. Marketers across businesses of all sizes now face the challenge of pre-emptively considering the use of data, weighing its benefits against privacy and ethical risks. The narrative shifts from data collection to responsible data stewardship, emphasising consent, transparency, and consumer protection. As ADMA CEO Andrea Martens puts it: “There’s a real shift in the onus of responsibility from customer to the business to act more responsibly, and to be more transparent in the data practices and notices. Businesses will need to decide if collecting data is worth the risk.”

Cookies crunch

Suzie Cardwell addresses the game-changing scenario of third-party cookie deprecation, a move set to redefine digital advertising. This development underlines the importance of first-party data, marking a critical juncture for targeted communication and audience engagement strategies. The reliance on third-party cookies has been a cornerstone of digital marketing; its absence necessitates a fundamental reassessment of targeting practices. Marketers are now compelled to develop more direct, consent-based relationships with consumers, fostering trust and relevance in an increasingly privacy-conscious world. Cardwell stresses the importance of transparency in data collection and consent management, especially with new types of data being considered personal information. “We need to make sure that with those new types of data, if we are collecting it, first of all, we're very transparent with the consumer about the fact that we're doing that” she says. Plus, if people decide they don’t want their data held, businesses need to make opt-outs easy.


AI’s ascent in the marketing domain offers a blend of challenges and opportunities. It automates mundane tasks, freeing marketers to focus on creative and strategic endeavours. However, ethical considerations and the need for responsible AI governance cannot be overstated. The integration of AI in marketing must be approached with a blend of enthusiasm and caution, ensuring data integrity and ethical usage. AI's potential to personalise customer experiences is counterbalanced by the need for transparency and adherence to privacy norms. Liana Dubois sees AI's potential to enhance customer experiences and personalise marketing efforts as significant, but it must be balanced with ethical considerations. She says: “The idea of [AI] can only be as good as the tradesperson using it.”

CMO warning

Businesses that are already applying best data practices “don’t need to be worried” about incoming privacy law changes, says Martens. “It is the marketers that believe compliance sits somewhere else in the business, that it sits with the legal teams or their agencies, they’re actually the ones that need to get across the changes. Because the reality is that the marketers are the ones that are going to be at the front line … It is not something that can be delegated to another department.”

In this context, internal collaboration within companies takes on paramount importance. As organisations grapple with the complexities of new data privacy regulations, the phasing out of third-party cookies, and the ethical integration of AI, the need for cohesive internal strategy becomes clear. Departments such as marketing, legal, data management, and technology must work in unison to navigate these changes effectively. This internal synergy is not just about compliance or technology adoption – it’s about creating a unified vision that places the consumer at the forefront, ensuring that all facets of the company are aligned in their approach to these new challenges.


The year 2024 marks a significant turning point for marketers. Balancing the technical aspects of data privacy, cookie deprecation, and AI with the art of creativity and consumer centricity will be key to navigating these changes successfully. As we embrace these challenges, the internal focus must be on transparency, ethics, and collaboration whilst building trust and providing value to the consumer.

Key take-aways 

Embrace transparency in data handling: Understand and adapt to evolving data privacy regulations. Be clear about what data you’re collecting and why, ensuring transparency with consumers.

Focus on first-party data: With the deprecation of third-party cookies, shift your focus to building and leveraging first-party data. Develop direct relationships with your audience based on trust and consent.

Collaborate for better insights: Work collaboratively within your organisation and with external partners to share insights and strategies. This can help in better understanding and navigating the changing marketing landscape.

Prepare for AI integration: Acknowledge the role of AI in marketing and prepare for its ethical and effective use. AI can automate routine tasks and enhance customer experiences, but it must be managed responsibly.

Stay informed and adaptable: Continuously educate yourself about new laws, technologies, and market trends. Be adaptable in your strategies to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

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