Customer data currently not being collected because of privacy and security concerns is the ‘Holy Grail' companies need to thrive, accoding to American Express.
Dan Schulman, American Express's group president, claimed that bespoke marketing and advertising campaigns based on consumer data obtained via customers' smartphone and computer usage is a key area companies need to invest in.
"Data is the Holy Grail of digital commerce," Schulman told delegates at the Open Mobile Summit event in London.
"You can undo all the inefficiency in marketing and advertising - we can stop spamming. Imagine if a retailer can know whether a customer is a first time or loyal customer the moment they enter the store. When someone taps a phone to respond to an offer we can know what they bought and what offers appeal."
Schulman claimed that were Google to overcome the privacy and security concerns preventing it from tracking specific users' click patterns, information from the search giant would be of huge value.
"Google can't track its users' click data, but if they could, as opposed to eight or nine cents per click, they could charge $8 to $9," said Schulman.
The American Express chief executive went on to warn that in order for such a change to occur companies will have to work together.
"We need to fundamentally re-think the ecosystem. No one business can do that alone, we need to work together," said Schulman.
"We're battling over security and privacy issues. It's a thorny journey."