Marketing Information System (MIS) assesses the information needs of different manager sand develops the required information from supplied data in time regarding competition, prices, advertising, sales, distribution and market intelligence etc. Most of today’s information systems are computer applications in a sophisticated data-driven age. These enable marketers to be more better informed about their customers, potential customers and competitors. New applications are being developed at a faster pace.
The term ‘Marketing Information Systems’ refers to a programme for managing and organising information gathered by an organisation from various internal and external sources. MIS assesses the information needs of different managers and develops the required information from supplied data in time regarding competition, prices, advertising expenditures, sales, distribution and market intelligence, etc. Information sources for MIS include a company’s internal records regarding marketing performance in terms of sales, and effectiveness and efficiency of marketing actions, marketing databases, marketing intelligence systems, marketing research, and information supplied by independent information suppliers.
A database refers to the collection of comprehensive information about customers and prospects such as demographic and psychographic profiles, products and services they buy, and purchase volumes, etc., arranged in a manner that is available for easy access and retrieval. Databases allow marketers access to an abundance of information, – often through a computer system – such as sales reports, news articles, company news releases, and economic reports from government and private agencies, etc., that can be useful in making various marketing decisions.
Internal Records
Modern technology is making information required for marketing decisions ever more accessible. It is possible to track customer buying behaviour and better analyse and understand what customers want. The integration of various modern technologies is allowing companies to access valuable information. Ever increasing numbers of market researchers and managers are having access to e-mail, voice mail, teleconferencing, video conferences, and faxes.
Internal database is the most basic starting point in developing a strong MIS. Marketers,
not just the growing numbers of large retailers in our country, need information about what is demanded more by customers and what is not. Internal record systems help in tracking what is selling, how fast, in which locations, to which customers, etc. Availability of all such information relies on reports available on orders received from sales people, resellers, and customers, copies of sales invoices, prices, costs, inventories, receivables, payables, etc. Getting inputs and designing systems to provide right data to the right people at the right time is critical for marketing decisions.
External Sources
Census Bureau is one key source of information regarding various demographic variables. Besides Census Bureau of India, other sources include Newspapers, Trade Publications, Technical Journals, Magazines, Directories, Balance Sheets of companies, Syndicated and published research reports. Various third party information suppliers offer a variety of information about customers as per marketer’s requirements, for a price. For example, Reader’s Digest markets a database covering 100 million households. It is one of the
best databases to assess potential markets for consumer products. It lets Reader’s Digest
The term ‘data mining’ refers to automated data analysis of large amount of data stored in a data warehouse. This is similar to extracting valuable metals from mountains of mined ore. The purpose is to unearth – with the help of modern computing power – meaningful patterns of information that might be missed or remain undiscovered. Data mining creates customer database, which is extremely important for all narrowly defined target-marketing efforts. Data mining also leads to build database on resellers, distribution
channels, media, etc. Data warehousing refers to storing subject-based, integrated, nonvolatile,
time variant data in support of managerial decisions. It can be viewed as a
central collection of clean, consistent, and summarised information gathered from several
operational systems. With increasing computing capabilities, organisations are collecting
large amounts of a variety of information or data possibly faster than they can use, and for this reason all the collected data or information needs to be sorted, classified and warehoused, so that it can be retrieved when needed in a meaningful manner.
In the current fast-paced business climate, keeping up with macro-environmental changes, and competition is becoming increasingly difficult. Marketing intelligence system refers to systematic and ethical approach, procedures, and sources that marketing managers use to gather and analyse everyday information about various developments with regard to competitors and other business trends in the marketing environment. This intelligence is collected from various sources such as newspapers, trade publications, business magazines, talking with suppliers, channel members, customers, other managers, and sales force people.
About competitive intelligence, the general idea is that more than 80 per cent information
is public knowledge. The most important sources from which to obtain competitive intelligence include competitors’ annual and financial reports, speeches by company executives, government documents, trade organisations, online databases, and other popular and business press. The company can take certain steps to obtain quality marketing intelligence. The company should take steps to train and motivate field sales personnel about the types of information to report regularly on any relevant developments in the
marketplace. Besides sales force, the company can take steps to motivate channel members to pass along important intelligence. The company can also purchase competitors’ products, and attend trade fairs.
Some important questions that managers should ask about competitive intelligence are:
How fast does the competitive climate in our industry change? How important is it
to keep our knowledge about these changes current?
What are the objectives of our company about competitive intelligence?
l Who are the important clients for competitive intelligence? To whom should the
intelligence effort be reported?
With rapid developments in the area of software applications that run on PCs, it is becoming
increasingly possible to keep track of client lists and the various kinds of contacts that are made with each client. Many such programmes keep track of clients’ names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, personal details such as birthdays, likes and dislikes, product/brand usage, hobbies, club memberships, etc. Most of today’s information systems are computer applications in a sophisticated datadriven
age. These enable marketers to be better informed about their customers, potential customers, and competitors. This helps marketers to be more productive and establish and sustain competitive advantage. New applications are being developed at a faster pace. The ultimate focus of most such systems is to enable marketers to know enough about any given customer and the competitive context, to fine-tune their marketing efforts to better serve the target market so that customer’s needs are met perfectly. This is the ultimate dream for every marketer.
While the Marketing Information System has its focus on managing the flow of relevant information to decision-makers in the marketing department, marketing research is
concerned with the function of generating information for marketing decision-makers. There are occasions when there are no easy answers for a variety of marketing situations that marketing managers face. Such situations may call for conducting formal marketing studies of specific problems and opportunities. Marketing research is intended to address carefully defined marketing problems or opportunities. It helps in identifying consumer needs and market segments, furnishes information necessary for developing new products and formulating marketing strategies, enables managers to measure the effectiveness of marketing programmes and promotional activities, develops economic forecasting, helps in financial planning, and quality control. Research undertaken without precisely defining the problem and objectives usually results in wasting time and money. For conducting marketing research, companies develop systematic procedures for collecting, recording, and analysing data from secondary and primary sources to help managers in making decisions. Marketing research is different from market research, which is information collected about a particular market or market segment.
In the process of marketing research, companies collect a lot of different types of information. David G. Bakken is of the opinion that it is easy to think of all these in terms
of three Rs of marketing:
Recruiting New Customers.
Retaining Current Customers.
Regaining Lost Customers.
To recruit new customers, the researchers study different market segments to develop
the right products and services consumers need and want. To retain customers, the marketer may conduct customer satisfaction studies. Marketers realise that good relationship with customers is important for long-term positive sales results. Regaining lost customers can be a formidable problem. It needs innovative marketing and outstanding communications. The information collected with respect to the first and the second Rs helps regaining the lost customers.

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