Deloitte Insights Strategist Makes Case for Ethics in Digital Marketing

Denise Weiss from Deloitte Insights explains digital empathy and user experiences during the annual Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecture Series in Ethics.

Denise L. Weiss, UX Strategy and Digital Operations Leader for Deloitte Insights, presented “The Ethical Case for Digital Empathy in User Experience” to a crowd of about 100 in the Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom on the Summerville Campus on Mon., Oct. 4, as the Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecture Series in Ethics returned to an in-person event.

“Trust is foundational to user experience,” Weiss explained. “There is a growing distrust in the marketplace today.”

Difficulty canceling subscriptions, constantly receiving spam emails, shopping habits being tracked, and clickbait social media posts are among the most common complaints against digital marketing, she said.

Weiss discussed the importance of companies researching their users and their needs before rolling out products, including digital ones.

Weiss said she encounters people who have difficulty using apps or navigating web portals, and places the blame on the companies, not the users. “It’s not you, it’s the system. They did not do the user research needed to understand.”

Understanding the behavior of the users can really impact a design, she said.

“We’re using empathy to think about developing products – so compassion, cognition, and emotion – pouring that into user experience and strategy,” she explained.

The annual lecture on business ethics is meant to inspire students, faculty, and community leaders in their ethical decision-making.

“These events when we’re able to bring together our students, our faculty, and our local business community are always the best events,” said Hull College Dean Richard Franza, Ph.D.

The Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecture Series in Ethics is made possible through the Georgia Bank and Trust Endowment established within the Augusta University Foundation honoring the legacy of Blanchard, former CEO of Georgia Bank and Trust.

David Hudson, attorney with Hull Barrett and close friend of the late Blanchard, told the audience that his friend treated everyone with courtesy and fairness.

“During Mr. Russell’s lifetime, he interacted with thousands of customers and employees at the bank and countless members of the churches and community boards on which he served. No one that I have ever encountered has ever said that Mr. Blanchard treated anyone unkindly, unfairly, and certainly never unethically,” Hudson said.

Blanchard was an alumnus and was the first recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was a two-time recipient of the university’s highest honor, the President’s Award, as well as one of only two individuals ever to receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University. He also was a member of the Augusta University Foundation, which he helped create in 1963.

Written by
Tim Rausch

Tim Rausch is a Communication Specialist in the Dean's Office at the Hull College of Business at Augusta University.

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Written by Tim Rausch

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The James M. Hull College of Business is accredited by AACSB International and offers outstanding, highly-engaged business education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.