HONG KONG: Marketing intelligence is becoming increasingly important to global companies but just 10% have truly "world class" capabilities in this area, a report has claimed.

According to the new study, from advisory group the Global Intelligence Alliance (GIA), around 76% of companies have "systematic", rather than world class, marketing intelligence capabilities. This is an increase from the 63% recorded two years ago.

Around one-third of the firms that currently lack a marketing intelligence business unit intend to build one in the next year.

Moreover, two-thirds of firms with existing marketing intelligence capabilities intend to increase their investment in this area. Asia and Latin America will take a relatively high proportion of this extra funding.

Markko Vaarnas, GIA's ceo, said: "The proportion of companies that have systematic market intelligence globally has grown in the past two years.

"This is quite significant as this shows that the financial crisis has further solidified the position of market intelligence in companies that need to grow and compete internationally."

To be categorised as world class, marketing intelligence teams within companies need to take contributions from an "extensive" network of international contacts, GIA said.

Central planning can also be beneficial - with 69% of companies categorised as world class having some form of centralised market intelligence function. Across all companies, this total stands at just 56%.

To attain world class status, firms also need to reduce the number of organisational "layers" between their marketing intelligence team and the ceo, and use their budgets more efficiently, the report added.

Data sourced from GIA; additional content by Warc staff