ORLANDO: Top-performing companies put consumer-centricity at the heart of their marketing functions, executive remuneration and partnerships, a study led by Millward Brown Vemeer has found.

Marc de Swaan Arons, Millward Brown Vermeer's cmo/executive board member, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando.

And he reported that organisations which qualify as "overperformers" in terms of revenue growth had consumer-centricity deeply embedded in their marketing efforts.

More specifically, fully 79% of these enterprises agreed such a commitment was a crucial part of how they brought goods and services to the public.

Reaching that position, de Swaan Arons said, is "a very easy thing to say 'Yes' to" – but acting on the theory remains more difficult, and more valuable. (For more, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: How top marketers turn customer obsession into growth.)

Insights2020 drew on 325 interviews with business, marketing, insights and analytics leaders, alongside surveys of 10,000 practitioners in 60 countries, behaviour analysis by LinkedIn and crowdsourcing efforts led by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Its founding partners include the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), ESOMAR, Kantar, Korn Ferry and LinkedIn; Warc is a survey partner.

Another finding was that 91% of overperformers believed that customer-centricity was a "top priority" for leaders, with 45% of these operators tying C-suite incentives to relevant key-performance indicators.

These figures stood at 48% and 24% for the laggards – demonstrating that considerable progress remains to be made in this area.

"How does the boss get paid?" was how de Swaan Arons described this issue. "Is customer-centricity a priority – not for some department that's supposed to get it right, but for the real bosses of the company?"

Similarly, nearly three-quarters of the top-performing enterprises work closely with their customers, versus less than half of their less successful rivals.

By tracking consumer engagement, the leading players then take their learnings to external partners, where they look for the kind of partnerships that put them in closer touch with their customers.

Data sourced from Warc