Marketing Information Systems

Marketing information systems (MIS) is a computer-based system, which helps managers in collecting, organizing, and evaluating the data efficiently. An MIS includes database, hardware, decision support system, applications, and software for the efficient running of the system.

According to Kotler "A marketing information system (MIS) consists of people,equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed,timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers."

i.Components of MIS

MIS involves finding out the information required by the managers, gather the required information, and presenting that information to managers in a timely fashion.

The components of MIS are:

a. Internal company records
b. Marketing intelligence system
c. Marketing research system, and
d. Marketing decision support analysis

a. Internal Company Records: Internal company records are used to know about the market. Internal reports are made which includes reports on orders,sales, price, costs, inventory levels, payments etc. to keep tab and handle the day to day operations of the company.

Internal report formats and designs are driven by business processes followed by various departments. For example finance department will have its own set of reports while sales department will have its own different set to meet its requirements.

An internal report consists of:

i) Order-to-Payment Cycle: The steps included in this cycle are:

 Ordering - done by sales people, dealers, and customers.
 Invoices are prepared and copies are dispatched to different departments
 On availability of stock goods are delivered otherwise out-of-stock items are reordered.

A customer expects on time delivery of the ordered item. Therefore, the above steps should be performed quickly.

ii) Sales Information Systems: Marketing managers require the latest and updated information about the market. Using this information, they can analyse data about the prospects/customers and immediately send feedback/sales reports to the sales staff at the front end for taking necessary action to either increase sales or stop fall in sales.

According to Kotler some questions that can be asked from the managers to know their information needs are:

1. What decisions do you regularly make?
2. What information do you need to make these decisions?
3. What information do you regularly get?
4. What special studies do you periodically request?
5. What information would you want that you are not getting now?
6. What information would you want daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?
7. What magazines and trade reports would you like to see on a regular basis?
8. What topics would you like to be kept informed of?
9. What data analysis programs would you want?
10. What are the four most helpful improvements that could be made in the present marketing information system?

b. Market Intelligence System: An internal company record provides the results data however market intelligence system gives data about the ongoing activities in the market place.

Marketing Intelligence System:

According to Kotler, "A marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain everyday information about developments in the market environment." Information is gained through various sources like reading articles, talking to customers, distributors, and suppliers, meeting with other company persons etc.

The steps involved in marketing intelligence systems are:

1. Training and motivating the sales force to keep a track on new developments.
2. Motivate distributors, retailers and other mediators to pass the knowledge.
3. Companies should have knowledge about the competitors. A company can get information about its competitors by:

 Buying the competitors product
 Attending trade shows, and meetings
 Talking to employees, dealers, suppliers

4. Sending information for the manager to make business decisions. Information should be send carefully to the concerned person. Only the concerned person should get the required information.

5. A customer advisory panel should be made, having customers as the members.Where the topic discussed can be customer's requirement of services, new technologies, or anything a customer want to share with the company about the products. It helps the company to understand the customer needs.

6. Purchasing the information from outside sources.

Establishment of marketing information center to collect and circulate the information.

c. Marketing Research System: According to Kotler, "Marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company". The Marketing research process involves the following:

i)Define the problem and research objectives
ii) Develop research plan
iii) Collect information
iv) Analyze information, and
v) Present the findings

d. Marketing Decision Support System: Marketing decision support system is a collection of data, tools, techniques that helps the marketing managers to take important decisions. These are customized internal as well as external reports that help a manager get a bird's eye view of the business.

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