The Marketing Information System (MIS) can be defined as a structured network of relationships, involving people, machines and processes, which aims to generate an orderly flow of information from sources internal and external to the company and relevant to the area of marketing.
The SIM is materialized in a computer system with a database, whose analysis allows to know the variables that affect the marketing management of the company, especially those related to the monitoring of the market and the characteristics of the clients that comprise it. Understand your purchase process.
The growing importance of the client has made the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) evolution stand out among the tools that make up the MISs, above all to personalize the company's relationship with its customers and get to know them better. CRMs have allowed the implementation of relational marketing strategies in large consumer markets, as well as the use of all the information generated in customer interactions with the company through the Internet (eCRM).
2. Requirements and advantages
The data that is entered in the SIM must be as reliable as possible, clearly determining its origin. In addition, they require setting an adequate update rate so that the system can provide useful information. Finally, it is also necessary to establish the level of disaggregation necessary to understand each of the parts or elements of the problem being analyzed.
The SIM, by managing the relevant information quickly and efficiently, improves the entire planning, implementation and marketing control process. Thus, it makes it easier for marketing management to make decisions related to aspects such as the development of new products, pricing, distribution channels, advertising campaigns, etc.
II. THE INFORMATION, OBJECT OF THE SIM
1. The data collection
Information is the raw material for marketing decision making and the SIM is the channel that follows this information to reach the marketing direction. The SIM allows the information to be collected, classified, analyzed, evaluated and distributed on time. The company manages a multitude of data and the SIM converts this data into relevant information for marketing decision makers. It is, therefore, fundamental for organizations, especially as they increase in size and complexity, systematize the collection of data. This effort helps to avoid the problems derived from the lack of relevant information and the existence of false or incomplete data, which make the information search and treatment processes more expensive and can delay decision making in the marketing department.
The data that feed the SIM can come from external sources and internal sources of the company, although sometimes the border between both can seem somewhat diffuse. For example, in CRM systems there is a history of customer transactions (internal data of the company) but also with data that the customer has been able to provide (external data). In general, a criterion to differentiate between internal and external sources is that external sources are data purchased abroad (journals, databases, sectoral studies ...), while internal data are exclusively owned by the company. .
2. Reasons to implement a SIM
The SIM aims to satisfy the information needs that marketing managers need to make sound commercial decisions. The specific reasons that lead organizations to design and implement a SIM are diverse:
- - Your organizational structure can be complex and make information flows difficult.
- - The sources of information can be numerous.
- - The business environment is increasingly complex to analyze and organizations operate in larger and more difficult to know markets.
- - Market research is insufficient.
3. Characteristics of the information of a SIM
The information provided by the SIM must meet minimum requirements that guarantee its quality. Specifically, the SIM information must be:
- - Timely. The information must be available when it is needed.
- - Flexible. The information must be presented in various formats and details so that it adapts to the information requirements of each moment and situation.
- - Complete. The system must provide the necessary information to the decision maker, without falling into an excess of data that would only hinder the analysis.
- - Exact. The level of accuracy of the information must be adapted to the needs of the situation.
- - Convenient. Access to information must be easy and it must be presented clearly and effectively to the marketing decision maker.
III. STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONING OF A SIM
The SIM is usually divided into four subsystems that provide the necessary information to the marketing manager: the internal reporting subsystem, the market research subsystem, the analytical marketing subsystem, and the marketing intelligence subsystem.
a) Subsystem of internal records
This part of the SIM allows access to standardized data of the internal management of the company: production volumes, unit costs, sales figures broken down by segments, regions or products, number and types of customers. These data allow to control the effectiveness of marketing actions.
b) Market research subsystem
Market research provides information to the company on specific aspects from ad hoc studies or panels, with a high level of depth.
c) Analytical marketing subsystem
This module of the SIM helps the marketing manager in its functions of analysis, planning, implementation and control by using statistical tools that work analyzing the data of the rest of subsystems.
d) Marketing intelligence subsystem
This part of the SIM allows filtering, compiling, evaluating and storing information about the environment from the sales team, from existing documentation or from other sources as providers of added value information. It is a set of sources and procedures used to obtain information, in time, on the most relevant aspects of the marketing environment of the organization.
The dynamics of the implementation and operation of a SIM is marked by three basic activities: the evaluation of information needs, the development of information and, finally, the distribution of information.
a) Evaluation of information needs
The dynamics of the SIM starts with the interaction with marketing managers to define their information needs. This stage requires consultancy services and analysis of processes, systems, organization and methods.
b) Development of information
Based on the company's internal records, marketing intelligence activities and market research, the SIM develops the necessary information, which is processed by the analytical subsystem to make it more useful. It is the most critical and complex phase, having as an integrated element the data repository or Data Warehouse, a powerful fundamental database for the planning, execution and measurement of marketing actions.
c) Distribution of information
Finally, the SIM distributes the information to the marketing management in the correct way and at the opportune time to help the planning, implementation and control of marketing. The distribution of this information requires connectivity and communication tools.
Featured image from shutterstock by Wright Studio