A marketing information system (MIS) is intended to bring together disparate items of data into a coherent body of information. An MIS is, as will shortly be seen, more than raw data or information suitable for the purposes of decision making. An MIS also provides methods for interpreting the information the MIS provides. Moreover, as Kotler’s (2003) definition says, an MIS is more than a system of data collection or a set of information technologies:
“A marketing information system is 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”.
With an increasingly competitive and expanding market, the amount of information needed daily by an organization is profound. Thus they have to establish a Marketing Information system. There are several advantages of Marketing Information Systems that can improve most if not all organizations and industries.
Benefits of a Marketing Information System (MIS)
If you are a marketing manager or business owner, finding effective ways to market your business is vital. Marketing information becomes even more important if you are part of a crowded market with many competitors, or you have a product that isn’t well known (Laudon and Laudon, 2016). If you don’t have good information, such as the data found in sales reports, you may end up wasting a lot of time and money on ineffective marketing activities. An investment in an MIS system is an effective way to help you organize and prepare your marketing campaigns. One of the key benefits of an MIS system is the insight it can provide about what your customers want and their perceptions of your products. Through your MIS, you’ll be able to make better decisions about consumer behavior and choices or product development.
One aspect of the IT impact on the organization is the use of new organizational structures which leads to the reduction of the number of administrative levels, and expand the scope of supervision and control, supervision in this way is based on staff confidence and less direct contact between supervisors and subordinates and relies on e-mail and software in achieving coordination between the individuals who perform common tasks, and increase managers delegation of decision-making responsibilities to lower levels, making the organization more responsive to its customers and its competitors (Densemore and Himes, 2016).
Organized Data collection is one of the benefits of an MIS. Lots of data can be collected from the market. But the main word here is “Organized”. Organizing data is very important else the data is meaningless. Thus MIS helps you to organize your database thereby improving productivity. Marketing information systems offer a broad perspective in marketing and management in an organization. With a proper MIS in place, the complete organization can be tracked which can be used to analyze independent processes. This helps in establishing a broader perspective which helps us know which steps can be taken to facilitate improvement (Laudon and Laudon, 2016). Storage of Important Data is a crucial element of MIS. An example can be seen in the pharmaceutical industry. Several times in pharmaceuticals, when one drug is being produced they may need data from another drug which was produced years back. Similarly, in Media, photographs are stored in archives. This storage of important data plays a crucial role in the execution and thus proves again that MIS is not important only for information but also for execution (Kotler, 2003).
An important benefit of Marketing Information Systems sees the avoidance of a potential crisis. The best way to analyze a products market performance is to see its past performance. Densemore and Himes (2015) state that top websites like Google and Facebook thrive on MIS. These websites run extensive marketing campaigns for which it is imperative to utilize a thorough marketing information base. Similarly, MIS helps an organization keep track of margins and profits. With an amazing information system established, management can know where how its organization is moving and probably avert a crisis long before it has taken place.
Co-ordination is a major benefit of Marketing Information Systems. Consumer durables and FMCG companies have a huge number of processes which needs to be coordinated. These companies depend completely on MIS for the proper running of the organization. There are dedicated people for marketing information systems in such organizations (Kotler, 2003). This is mainly because of the speed required to access information and implement it. Analysis and Planning is another advantage that helps an organization achieve its objectives. MIS is critical for planning. You cannot do planning without information. For planning, the first thing which is needed is the organization’s capabilities, then the business environment and finally competitor analysis. In a proper MIS, all these are present by default and are continuously updated. Thus MIS is very important for planning and analysis. A Marketing Information System also offers management more control that is well informed. Just like MIS can help in a crisis, in normal times it provides control as you have information of the various processes going on and what is happening across the company (Laudon and Laudon, 2016). Thus it provides you with a sense of control.
Lever Brothers Example (Densmore and Himes, 2015)
Lever Brothers have a system that produces 2500 different pages of daily reports, 3000 pages of weekly reports, and 40,000 pages of monthly reports. Thus, managers have daily tabulations for the sales of their brands by geographic districts. Data are also provided as to whether the sales quota is being achieved, and how close to this the salesman is coming. It is possible to compare brands by zones, by districts, and by regions.” Every month there are reports on more than 3000 important customers and, best of all, they are available during the first week of the new month. These reports show a variety of information such as how well a particular account is doing vis-li-vis its performance in a prior year. This example was originally taken from Berenson (1969). It brings to light the complex nature of marketing within large corporations and why Marketing Information systems are imperative for their success in capturing and utilizing customer data.
Relation to the Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is the basic working document by which the marketing department conducts its activities. Obviously, every facet of this plan requires information so that appropriate decisions can be made (Kotler, 2003). The output of the marketing information system hence provides the input to the marketing plan for these marketing decisions. Therefore, the relationship of the information system to the marketing plan is two-fold: Cl) the marketing plan uses the output of the information system, and (2) provides control criteria for the marketing information system (Laudon and Laudon, 2016).
Marketing information systems are intended to support management decision making. Management has five distinct functions and each requires support from an MIS. These are planning, organizing, coordinating, decisions and controlling. Information systems have to be designed to meet the way in which managers tend to work. Research suggests that a manager continually addresses a large variety of tasks and is able to spend relatively brief periods on each of these. Given the nature of the work, managers tend to rely upon information that is timely and verbal (because this can be assimilated quickly), even if this is likely to be less accurate then more formal and complex information systems.
Managers play at least three separate roles: interpersonal, informational and decisional. MIS, in electronic form or otherwise, can support these roles in varying degrees. MIS has less to contribute in the case of a manager’s informational role than for the other two. Three levels of decision making can be distinguished from one another: strategic, control (or tactical) and operational. Again, MIS has to support each level. Strategic decisions are characteristically one-off situations. Strategic decisions have implications for changing the structure of an organization and therefore the MIS must provide information which is precise and accurate. Control decisions deal with broad policy issues and operational decisions concern the management of the organization’s marketing mix.
A marketing information system has four components: the internal reporting system, the marketing research systems, the marketing intelligence system and marketing models. Internal reports include orders received, inventory records and sales invoices. Marketing research takes the form of purposeful studies either ad hoc or continuous. By contrast, marketing intelligence is less specific in its purposes, is chiefly carried out in an informal manner and by managers themselves rather than by professional marketing researchers.
Berenson, C., 1969. Marketing information systems. The Journal of Marketing, pp.16-23.
Densmore, M.L. and Himes, S.H., 2015. A Synthesizing Conceptualization of Communication in a Marketing/Physical Distribution Setting. In Marketing Horizons: A 1980’s Perspective (pp. 179-183). Springer, Cham.
Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J.P., 2016. Management information system. Pearson Education India.
Kotler, P., 2003. Marketing de A a Z: 80 conceitos que todo profissional precisa saber. Gulf Professional Publishing.