NEW YORK: A majority of brand owners believe big data, digital marketing and social media tools will play a key role in their future strategies, McKinsey has found.

The consultancy polled 1,469 executives, some 65% of which ranked big data and analytics among their top corporate priorities, including 9% stating it was the most important area attracting attention at present.

Figures here hit 68% and 8% respectively when considering digital marketing and social media. New delivery platforms like cloud computing and mobile devices also logged 56% and 6% in turn.

“For each of the trends, the pace at which respondents say their organizations are adopting different practices varies greatly,” the study said.

A 38% share of firms today spend over 2% of their budgets on digital schemes, but while 36% of CEOs declared this was sufficient, only 30% of chief financial officers, and even fewer marketers, agreed.

Currently, 49% of companies utilise big data for insights, segmentation and targeting, but 60% felt they should. An additional 33% employ it in customer support, and 40% thought this was significant.

Scores on this metric reached 28% and 40% respectively for new product development, as well as 21% and 29% regarding pricing. A modest 12% of operators leveraged this information in R&D, and 19% hoped to.

Turning to marketing, 60% of firms are now consistently positioning brands across channels, 51% are engaging consumers through social media and 39% are targeting content to specific online audiences.

A further 38% are deploying targeted web ads, 35% are using company websites to test messages and offers, 30% are developing customer tracking systems and 26% are building apps and games.

Looking over the next three years, 66% of enterprises concurred that digital business would boost their operating income, with 12% expecting a 30% expansion on such a measure.

During this period, 44% of contributors believed data and analytics would yield more value, standing at 32% for digital marketing and 28% for social tools and technologies, as well as new delivery platforms.

The main obstacles to attaining digital priorities included inappropriate business structures on 52%, inadequate technological infrastructures on 51%, a lack of quality data on 46%, and outmoded processes on 42%.

Data sourced from McKinsey; additional content by Warc staff