LONDON: At the most successful companies, insight is no longer the preserve of the marketing department but is incorporated across all areas of the business, according to a new study.

The Insights2020 report, from marketing consultancy Millward Brown Vermeer, was based on interviews with 325 business, marketing, and insights and analytics leaders along with a survey of more than 10,000 practitioners in 60 countries.

This found that 74% of companies that over-perform on revenue growth create customer experiences based on data-driven insights, with only 30% of under-performing companies reporting the same.

"[Insight] can't just sit in marketing if you want to have a holistic view of the business," explained Amanda Phillips, sales and marketing director at Millward Brown.

"Where it becomes powerful is when analytics and insights are pulled together, as opposed to insights being viewed as a marketing task and analytics classed as an IT task," she told Marketing Week.

The study reported that 62% of over-performers leveraged insights and analytics to drive consistency across all customer touch-points, while only 26% of under-performers did so.

The ability to link up the diverse elements of a business – customer experience, product innovation, service and delivery, sales and marketing – is vital.

"That total 360-degree view, where customer data is at the centre of decision-making, is where the high performance comes from," said Phillips.

"It defines the brand purpose, it ladders down into all of the areas that touch customers – both in terms of the internal operation and the external-facing parts of the business," she added.

A boardroom presence also helps: the Insights and Analytics function reported directly to the CEO in 33% of over-performing companies, but in just 13% of the under-performers.

In the UK, the financial services sector is blazing a trail, with Phillips describing some companies as "awe-inspiring in terms of the grip they have on data and how they're using it to drive decision-making within the business".

"They felt to me like the ones that the Unilevers would want to follow," she said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Millward Brown; additional content by Warc staff