So says a study by Data Practitioners, carried out among executives at a broad range of companies, including start-ups, SMEs and PLCs. It found that more than 60% of firms see the strategic use of data in sales and marketing as a board-level issue, with more than 20% of firms saying they have a dedicated board member responsible for marketing data. Fewer than 20% of firms see data as a middle management responsibility.
Some 83% of respondents said that the increasing value of data, from modelling, predictive capabilities and measurement potential, has led to a closer working relationship between marketing and finance functions.
Businesses also reported that they are embracing new methodologies. More than two-thirds said that they now routinely use external tools to enhance their data and just over a third said they use behavioural modelling techniques to improve the quality of their targeted marketing and advertising activities.
However, fewer firms said that they use anonymised data in their marketing efforts, restricting promotional reach.
The impact of GDPR has also had a negative impact on just over a third of firms, who indicated that the new regulations have slowed down the use of data.
Data Practitioners chief commercial officer Richard Robinson said: "This study reflects the growing role that data plays in commerce and in strategic decision-making today. Marketing has never been more measurable. The use of data in forward-planning, modelling, behavioural insights and more make it, with the right enhancements, an incredibly valuable potential asset. Alongside the board seat, data should to be valued on the balance sheet.
"GDPR pressed the pause button for marketing activity for many firms, but it needn't have a dampening effect on commercial activity. With the right tools, appropriate anonymising and enhancement techniques, there is a huge win-win for consumers and businesses in the form of better targeting and better anticipation of needs.
"The predictive capabilities built into the latest tools in our view make data potentially more valuable than goodwill on the balance sheet. The businesses that are able to demonstrate the most effective use of data will not only perform better; they will be able to achieve the best company valuations."