Meaning of Data and Information

Time to time market research should be conducted in order to achieve success in marketing. Data and information should be collected for this. Data and information should be collected for this. Data and information are interrelated. Updates, sufficient and accurate data are needed for effective information. Data become useful or
meaningful only after they have been changed into information. The data which are not changed into information remain only in the form of raw information. Such data can be made useful only changing them into information.

I. Data

At first data should be collected for market research. Data are the primary form of information. So, they are called as raw information. Data can be collected from two: primary and secondary sources. The data collected for the first time are primary data. Secondary data are not originated by the investigator himself/herself, but which he/she obtains from someone else records. Thus, if instead of obtaining data ourselves, we get from the records of chamber of commerce, trade union, government bodies and from other sources, the data are called secondary data. Data include figure, table, graph, word, letters, symbol, audio, visual, etc. They all can be data. Data can be also be defined as the integrated form of facts, estimate and opinion, because data can be in the form of fact, in the form of estimation and in the form of estimate.
  1. Facts: The recorded data of works done are called facts data. Such data show the actual performance. For example, sales data, production data, purchase data etc.
  2. Estimates: The data made in the form of plan or standard is called estimate data. This is prepared with estimates but it is not actual. For example, estimated sales data, estimated income statement, estimated balance sheet etc.
  3. Opinion: The data collected as a result of personal experience, knowledge, desire, trend, thought, attitude etc. is called opinion data. This type of data cannot be uniform, because the status and attitude of data collector and data provider affect the data. Opinion data can be collected through mutual talks and observation. Reliability of such data depends on the person and the collection process.
In conclusion, the primary stage or input of information is called data. This is raw information. It is useless unless it is processed. Data is the integrated form of facts, estimates and opinion. In other word, data can be found in the forms of facts, estimates and opinions. Whatever form of the data may be, they should be changed into useful form by scrutinizing, classifying, reviewing and analyzing them.

II. Information

After the data have been made useful by scrutinizing, classifying, analyzing, and reviewing, they become information. So, the processed data is called information. Information is the important raw material for marketing decision. It has an important role in market research.

Marketing decisions are not taken in vacuum. Marketing decisions should be taken being fully informed about the condition of market, competition, demand, supply etc. This needs reliable, sufficient and updated information. If the information is complete, clear, reliable, sufficient and updated and on right time, it becomes easy to take rational and quick decision. Information includes facts, estimates and opinions. Mainly, marketing experts want to get the following information in updated form:-
  • Characteristics of goods:- size, type, color, quality, design etc.
  • Quantity of demand,
  • Price of the goods expected by consumers,
  • Consumers’ priority in distribution channel,
  • Buying motives:- rational motive, emotional motive and patronage motive,
  • Dealers’ behavior, tendency and special need,
  • Degree of competition,
  • Demand, supply and price, and
  • Government policies.
Success can be achieved by minimizing the risk and uncertainty if reliable, sufficient and updated information are available about the above mentioned particulars. Regular information is needed at each stage of marketing management cycle (planning and decision making, organizing and staffing, directing and controlling).

In conclusion, the data or facts that can be used are called information. Reliable, updated and adequate information is needed for taking quick and rational decision avoiding risk and uncertainty. As information is obtained by selecting, classifying, analyzing and evaluating data, it can be directly used. Reliability of the information depends on the correctness of data.

Importance of Data and Information

As the information and data are the bases for analysis of strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) of a firm, it can be taken as the basic resources. Information and data resources are also compulsory as the financial resource, physical resource and human resource. Its importance in marketing can be expressed in the following points:

1. Helps in decision making

Reliable, complete and updated information is needed for taking rational and quick decision on marketing. Without information proper decision cannot be taken by developing alternatives and evaluating them.

2. Helps in planning, implementing and controlling

Preparing a frame-work of the activity to be done in future is called planning. It works as the standard of measurement of the performance. So, plan should be prepared on the basis of reliable, updated and complete information. Without information no effective plan can be made.

Information is also necessary for implementation of marketing plans and programs. Information helps to take decision about goods, price, distribution and promotion and also to know competitors’ strategies. The objectives of marketing can be achieved only through successful implementation.

Information also helps in controlling. Information is compulsory for monitoring, evaluating and taking corrective steps.

3. Helps to scan marketing environment

Economic, political-legal, socio-cultural and technological components are the uncontrollable components of marketing environment. These components do not remain under the control of marketers. They are dynamic. Information is needed to scan such components for making proper strategy.

4. Helps to reduce risk and uncertainty

Quick and ration decision can be taken by using reliable, updated and complete information. Effectiveness comes in planning, implementation and controlling. As a result, risk and uncertainty get reduced. So, data and information have an important role in marketing.

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