Marketing Information System - Meaning and Features

Marketing information system is the mechanism which provides all the necessary information and data to the decision maker on all marketing related issues. It gives regular flow of information about goods or services, price, advertisement, sale, competition etc. The important technology to scan and monitor
external environmental components is marketing information system. So, it is also called the life-blood of marketing. It collects important information from different sources, analyzes them and distributes to the decision maker.

This is the age of information revolution. Marketing managers need regular information to find out changing wants and needs to customers. Besides this, information is also necessary to know strong and weak aspects of competitors and make distribution channel effective. In fact, whatever a manager does is done only with the help of information. He/she cannot take decision on any issue without information. So, marketing information system should be developed in business organization for taking rational and effective decisions.

Facts, estimates, opinions etc. are included in marketing information. As important and great decisions are taken on the basis of the information, it (information) should be complete, accurate and updated. Generally, a business organization wants to get information about (a) expectation of customers about the specialty of goods (size, color, design, type, quality etc.), (b) quantity of demand at a time, (c) price of the goods wanted by the customers, (d) distribution channel chosen by customers (e) buying motives of customers (f) dealers’ behavior (g) degree of competition (h) government policy affecting market etc. from the marketing information system.

Marketing information system is a regular process. It never ends. It is very important for a marketing manager. He/she makes plans, programs, policies, strategies etc. with its help. Structured, human activities, machines, technology etc. are included in marketing information system. They are orderly used for taking marketing decisions. Different scholars and experts of marketing have defined it differently; among them some important ones have been given as follows:

According to prof. Philip Kotler, “A marketing information system consists of people, equipment and procedures together, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely and accurate information to marketing decision maker.”
According to Prof. William J. Stanton, “Marketing information system is an ongoing, organized procedure to generate, analyze, disseminate, store and retrieve information for use in making marketing decisions.”
 According to Busch and Houston, “A marketing information system consists of structured, interacting complex of persons, machines and procedures designed to generate and orderly flow of information sources for use and input to marketing decision making.”
In conclusion, marketing information system is an ongoing organizational process which includes the activities such as collection of information, sorting, analysis, evaluation, selection, distribution, acquiring etc. Men, equipment, procedures are orderly used for taking marketing decisions in it. Marketing information system should be able to give regular report, up-to-date information and find the trend.

Features of Marketing Information System

The main features of marketing information system are continuous process, accuracy, reliability and completeness, constancy and accessibility, interrelated components, right time etc. They are made clearer by the following figure:
Features of Marketing Information System

1. Continuous process

The important function of marketing information system is to collect necessary information, select, analyze, review and evaluate them for taking proper decision and controlling. This function goes on regularly. So, marketing information system is a continuous process.

2. Accuracy, reliability and completeness

Marketing information system provides accurate, reliable and complete information for taking rational and quick decision. Such types of information become compulsory in a competitive environment.

3. Constancy and accessibility

The bases of information provided by marketing information system become same. So, information becomes constant and uniform. Similarly, information can be easily obtained. Due to the tremendous development in information technology, consistency and uniformity in flow of information have become possible and easily accessible.

4. Interrelated components

Marketing research, marketing intelligence, internal record and information analysis are the components of marketing information system. The components have an important role to make information complete, reliable and updated.

5. Right time

Decision should be rational and quick. If there is no quickness in decision, it becomes meaningless. This means, if a decision to be taken today is taken tomorrow, it becomes meaningless and can work. Marketing information system provides accurate information in proper time for taking quick and rational decision.

Importance of Marketing Information System

Marketing information system plays an important role in market expansion, effective marketing plan, environmental scanning and monitoring, want creation and delivery, marketing programme formulation and implementing, evaluation and control.

1. Expansion of market

Marketing information system plays an important role in market expansion besides conducting daily organizational functions. It provides necessary information to promote market from local to national, national to regional and regional to global market. In the lack of marketing information system expansion of market becomes impossible. For example, goods are to be shipped to American or European markets, it becomes necessary to get information about the wants, needs, priority of consumers of these countries and market trend, price, quality, competition etc. in the markets. Such information is possible only through marketing information system.

2. Marketing plan

Organizational success in competitive market depends on effective plans. Sufficient and reliable information about customers’ wants, needs, changing fashion, strong and weak aspects of competitors, customers’ brand loyalty, buying behavior, and buying motives etc. become necessary making effective plans. Marketing information system helps in making effective marketing plans by providing information about such things.

3. Environmental monitoring and scanning

Environmental monitoring and scanning are the important organs of marketing information system. Business organizations should monitor economic, political, legal, social, competitive, technological and other elements regularly. Changes in such environmental elements provide opportunities on the one hand and threats on the other. So, environmental elements should be scanned, opportunities be utilized and threats be faced.

4. Want creation and delivery

To get success in competitive environment, a business organization should be able to create wants of the customers and deliver goods to satisfy their wants. Market research should be conducted and analysis be made to identify customers’ wants and make them realize such wants. For this, marketing information system is needed. As this psychological aspect of marketing, wants should be created only after clearly studying the customers and goods or services should be produced accordingly.

5. Marketing program formulation and implementation

Success of a business organization depends on effective marketing plans and their implementation. Marketing information system collects information about customers’ wants, needs, product price, discount, commission, sale condition, possible demand etc. and analyzes and disseminates such information, which is indispensable for making marketing plans and implementing them. So, marketing information system is also very important to make marketing plans and implement them.

6. Evaluation and control

Regular evaluation and control of marketing program is an important task of marketing management process. What types of programs become successful, what types of programs can help to achieve organizational goal to what extent and what changes or improvement are needed in the programs etc. are the matters related to study, evaluation and control which can be done only with the help of marketing information system.

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