MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM
A modern Marketing Information System (MIS) consists in managing huge amounts of data to produce meaningful and accurate information that can support managers in planning, organizing, coordinating, deciding and controlling marketing activities in an efficient and effective manner. It is more than raw data or information collected and registered whether on paper or in a computerized system for decision-making purposes. This is evidenced by the Kotler1 who defines the Marketing Information System as “a continuing and interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation and control.” It is in that perspective that the current essay intends to highlight the components of a modern Marketing Information System and to explain how it provides management with valuable details concerning buyer wants, preferences and behavior.
The components of a modern Marketing Information System
The figure below highlights the components of a modern MIS, the environmental factors monitored by the system and the managerial decisionmaking types supported by MIS.
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Figure 1 The Marketing Information Systems and its subsystems
As the table above shows, there are four main components of a modern Marketing Information System. These are: Internal Report System (also called “Internal Accounting System”2 ), Marketing Research System, Marketing Intelligence System and Marketing Models (also called “Analytical Marketing System”).
Internal Report Systems
In general, all firms that have been in operation for a given time have some amount of information. This information is usually classified depending on its nature (e.g. financial, accounting, human resource and production and operations information). It is important for employees working in a functional department to understand how data they have in their department can help decision-makers of other departments. The latter should also appreciate how information from other departments can help them and should request it. It is in that perspective that numerous companies make available to their employees and managers some amount of internal information through intranets whereby only company’s employees have access on that Web-based system. For example, instead of asking an accountant to give him/her a report on the monthly sales of a particular product, a brand management officer can retrieve that information from the organization’s Intranet.
The Internal Report System has two main components: Order-to Payment Cycle and Sales Information System. The Order-to Payment Cycle describes the time it takes a company to receive and to respond orders from sales representatives, dealers and customers. Generally, consumers prefer a firm that responds quicker and more accurately than competitors. The Sales Information System deals with current and updated information on sales. It helps sales management to access valuable information about prospect and customers so as to make quick and effective feedback.
In order to provide marketing management with valuable details concerning buyer wants, preferences and behavior, some firms gather valuable information on buyer through clickstream data analysis. These are data generated about the number of people who visited the firm’s Website and its different pages, how much time they spent on the site, what they buy and what they do not buy. That can help managers know which areas of the Website are the most visited and why so as to offer products and promotions according browsing patterns. That is very critical because customers except marketers to know not only who they are but also what they want and prefer.
1 Kotler, P., (1988) Marketing Management: Analysis Planning and Control, Prentice-Hall p. 102.
2 http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=KQaprS2DJvQC&pg=PA41&dq=Marketing+Informati on+system&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a#PPA41,M1