In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir Martin says that customer insight accounts for about £4.5bn to £5bn of WPP’s revenue.
“It’s about understanding the importance of data”, he says
He adds: “In this case, it’s data on what the world’s shoppers are buying, whether they are British, American, Russian or Indian.
“It carries echoes of a change in the newspaper industry, where the advent of the web has allowed editors and journalists to see for the first time which specific articles and subjects are most popular with readers.”
WPP bought market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres in 2008 for £1.2bn to boost its data business. It also recently bought US data company I-Behavior.
The marketing services company, which owns agency networks Ogilvy & Mather and Mindshare, recently raised its 2011 growth forecasts after experiencing a better than expected start to the current quarter.