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Q.1 What is Marketing Information System? Explain its characteristics, benefits and information types.


Answer:
A Marketing Information System is a set of procedures to collect, analyze and distribute accurate, prompt and appropriate information to different levels of marketing decision makers.

Philip Kotler defines MIS as “a system that consists of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate and distribute needed, timely and accurate information to marketing decision makers.
Its characteristics are as follows:


1. It is a planned system developed to facilitate smooth and continuous flow of information.

2. It provides pertinent information, collected from sources both internal and external to the company, for use as the basis of marketing decision making.

3. It provides right information at the right time to the right person.
A well designed MIS serves as a company’s nerve centre, continuously monitoring the market environment both inside and outside the organization. In the process, it collects lot of data and stores in the form of a database which is maintained in an organized manner. Marketers classify and analyze this data from the database as needed.
With the advent of Computer Technology, MIS has taken a step further to provide managers direct access to the databases. This system called Marketing Decision Support System (MDSS) links a decision maker to relevant databases and analysis tools, thereby allowing him to gain deep insights into needs and trends of customers with the help of sophisticated statistical analysis.
Today companies organize the information in databases such as customer database, product database, and field sales database and combine them to be stored in a huge database called Data Warehouse. The process of searching through information in data warehouse to identify meaningful patterns that guide decision making is called Data Mining .
Benefits of MIS
Various benefits of having a MIS and resultant flow of marketing information are given below:
1. It allows marketing managers to carry out their analysis, planning implementation and control responsibilities more effectively.
2. It ensures effective tapping of marketing opportunities and enables the company to develop effective safeguard against emerging marketing threats.
3. It provides marketing intelligence to the firm and helps in early spotting of changing trends.
4. It helps the firm adapt its products and services to the needs and tastes of the customers.
5. By providing quality marketing information to the decision maker, MIS helps in improving the quality of decision making.

Types of Marketing Information
A Marketing Information System supplies three types of information.
1. Recurrent Information is the data that MIS supplies periodically at a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual interval. This includes data such as sales, Market Share, sales call reports, inventory levels, payables, and receivables etc. which are made available regularly. Information on customer awareness of company’s brands, advertising campaigns and similar data on close competitors can also be provided.
2. Monitoring Information is the data obtained from regular scanning of certain sources such as trade journals and other publications. Here relevant data from external environment is captured to monitor changes and trends related to marketing situation. Data about competitors can also be part of this category. Some of these data can be purchased at a price from commercial sources such as Market Research agencies or from Government sources.

3. Problem related or customized information is developed in response to some specific requirement related to a marketing problem or any particular data requested by a manager.
Primary Data or Secondary Data (or both) are collected through survey Research in response to specific need. For example, if the company has developed a new product, the marketing manager may want to find out the opinion of the target customers before launching the product in the market. Such data is generated by conducting a market research study with adequate sample size, and the findings obtained are used to help decide whether the product is accepted and can be launched.

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