Embracing big data can help chief marketing officers (CMOs) leverage their position and gain more influence within an organisation, as long as they have the right tools in place to manager it, according to a new report.

B2B market research company Circle Research and marketing agency dnx surveyed 52 marketers from B2B and B2C organizations in the UK and Europe, finding that 83 per cent of respondents have already put plans in place for big data investment.

According to the survey, the main reason behind this spending is that big data can offer granular, detailed understanding of consumer behaviour – allowing businesses to put more reactive, engaging plans in place for their own customers.

Some 69 per cent of people in the sample are already utilising this information to shape their overall operational and commercial approach.

Furthermore, there is a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ element to the widespread investment seen across the sector, with nine out of ten respondents worrying that insufficient spend on big data could see firms placed at a competitive disadvantage to their rivals.

Drew Nicholson, the chief executive of dnx, said technology is now in place to gain an unprecedented level of insight into what makes consumers tick, whatever the service or product involved in the process is.

“Whether it’s search, affiliate, display or email blasts, all of those things you can measure and work out if they’re helping your business or not,” he explained.

However, he warned that a shift in thinking may be needed before companies can fully embrace the potential of big data; although creativity remains crucial, it is vital that this approach is leavened with the use of hard information.

“Marketers need to be prepared to roll their sleeves up and get involved in the data, maybe a slight cultural change [is needed] in the way they think about things,” he explained.