ORLANDO, FL: Insights and analytics have extended their reach beyond marketing at a majority of businesses which are setting the pace in terms of revenue growth, a study led by Millward Brown Vermeer has shown.

Gayle Fuguitt, president/ceo of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) – one of the founding partners supporting the "Insights2020" research – discussed this theme at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing conference.

And the fact that 51% of enterprises ranked as "overperformers" regarding revenue growth had given insights teams a broader remit than marketing alone provided a clear hint concerning one source of their success.

By way of further corroboration, only 18% of businesses in the "underperformer" category had made a similar strategic choice – potentially leaving them at a disadvantage compared with their analytics-enabled rivals.

"Why is this important?" Fuguitt asked. "Because the insights are being applied across the whole spending portfolio." (For more, including details of how to "unlock" data, read Warc's exclusive report: Why marketing research needs to think beyond marketing.)

More specifically, the deeper understanding afforded by insights and analytics is now impacting a wide range of critical decisions at these pioneering firms.

"They're included in merger-and-acquisition activity. They're included in decisions about how to spend sales dollars, not just marketing dollars. They're in partnership with the finance organisation," said Fuguitt.

"It is not a service organisation; it's not siloed out. It works across an entire organisation."

Some room for progress remains, however, as a modest 29% of the top performers have carried research to the uppermost echelons of their organisations – a total standing at 12% for the laggards.

The Tata Group – a diversified conglomerate based in India – is one example of a company where the insights and analytics group reports directly to the chief executive.

Fuguitt also pointed to the role of Stan Sthanunathan, Unilever's svp/consumer and market insights, as an illustrative case in point for future leaders in this space.

Executives such as Sthanunathan now "work across the entire global organisation", rather than simply being seen as "project managers" completing a slate of set tasks.

Data sourced from Warc