Information requirements - Marketing Management

An organization’s strategy, planning and operational control is dependent on information that is available to the decision maker. A situation analysis is a method of considering this information, and then relating it to the operations of the organization. Environmental scanning should then be undertaken, as well as studying the internal marketing system, and this should then be made available to key decision makers. This forms the basis for strategic marketing decisions which are monitored to ensure that objectives are achieved. The MkIS provides the medium through which information is collected, channelled, focused and communicated.

Information requirements depend on:

  • the type of industry or environment;
  • the size of the organization;
  • the marketing decisions to be taken;
  • the dynamics of the industry or environment.

It is difficult to generalize about the individual needs of an organization. However, information is collected from internal and external sources that include customer, market and competitor information. Quite often this information exists, but is not in a form suitable for use by marketing. Much is collected for invoicing purposes, where its strategic value is not recognized. Customer inquiries and customer complaints need to be channelled into the MkIS to ensure that they are valued and used for planning and controlling marketing operations.

Information on existing customers will form the core of the database, e.g. invoices record information that can be used by marketing.

As the volume and sophistication of the information collected increases, an organization will build up its database of existing and potential customers, which will allow the application of more sophisticated targeting and segmentation strategies through a more thorough understanding of buying behaviour in the marketplace. Gounaris et al.2 show how far we have come with building and evaluating marketing information systems in today’s organizations. They demonstrate that an effective marketing information system in modern organizations improves not only internal performance, including functional performance and organizational climate, but also external performance such as better adaptability to market conditions and customer responsiveness. The nature of the marketing information function has changed over recent years, and so too has computing technology such as laser scanning of bar coded grocery products. This has resulted in revolutionary changes to business as information is more accurate and more quickly obtained. This is a key reason for the expansion of the large retail groups like Walmart, Lidl, Aldo, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

MkIS utilization of accounting invoice information

MkIS utilization of accounting invoice information

Decisions support systems (DSS) were developed in the late 1970s and these are designed from the viewpoint of an individual decision maker. They are computer-based systems that are interactive and flexible, so results can be generated on the spot and then sorted and regrouped and manipulated as required. Managers can probe for trends and isolate problems. The MkIS is an invaluable aid to decision making and is a specialized subset of the corporate management information system (MIS). The term ‘management information system’, along with that of MkIS, is synonymous with data processing and forms a framework for managing information that is gathered from both outside and inside the organization. The MIS consists of five separate planning subsystems, namely: Production or Operations; Human Resource Development; Finance; Logistics and of course Marketing’s MkIS that itself consists of four subsystems.

  1. The internal accounting system is a system that reports orders, sales, dispatches, inventory levels and cheques receivable and payable.
  2. The market intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used to obtain everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment, largely built up from data like reports from sales representative.
  3. The marketing research system is the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company.
  4. The analytical marketing system analyses marketing data using statistical procedures and models. This analysis feeds into strategic marketing plans.

Subsystems 1, 2 and 3 are data collection methods, whereas subsystem 4 is an analytical method. Together they provide a framework for marketing managers to marshal their thoughts into tactics, and to assist management in seeing the important elements of a particular situation and examining The analytical marketing system the relationships between these elements. A successful MkIS provides a structure for analysis, planning and control of a given set of activities. Creating an MIS and MkIS for any business is a complex, individualized process.

Marketing information system

Marketing information system

Lancaster and Massingham3 distinguish between an MkIS and marketing research. Marketing research is concerned with the task of generating information, whereas the MkIS is focused on managing the flow of information to marketing decision makers. This distinction is important because information is worthless unless it is relevant and effectively communicated.

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