Marketing Planning

Marketing Information System Basics

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

It is common and basic knowledge that each business needs to have its own strategy for gathering market information so as to stay abreast with or be ahead of the competition. This calls for the adoption of an effective marketing information system, quite akin to the intelligence machinery of the diplomatic and military corps, but non-clandestine and very socially acceptable.

A marketing information system refers to that continuous structure that a business uses in gathering, processing, storing, and later retrieving information that is required to make crucial decisions that concern its marketing effort.

The ideal marketing information structure to adopt must anticipate the future and it must also operate on an ongoing basis, not in an intermittent manner. All the information it generates must be put into use lest the entire effort be useless.

There are quite a number of reasons why having a marketing information system is imperative. First of all, it is worth appreciating that businesses are increasingly coming under pressure to develop and market new products/services faster than before. This in effect means that decision making times are becoming more limited. The fact that today's marketing activities are becoming broader and more complex is another reason why an effective marketing information system is required. Concerned businesses will surely need to determine the buyer characteristics in a certain market before targeting the same.

It is evident that the costs and availability of energy and some raw materials are in a constant upward spiral, a fact that is necessitating the conservation of resources including labor. With a marketing information system a business will be able to pinpoint which of its products/services are profitable and which of those will need to be discontinued.

The current market environment is one in which cutthroat competition is the order of the day. More than ever every business needs to be aware of the level of consumer contentment with respect to the marketing effort. The factors to consider here are quite broad based and may range from the performance of the middlemen to the quality of the product/service. A firm that cannot access the requisite information that highlights the cause(s) of discontent stands to lose big. Last but not least, we live in an era when there is an information explosion - the amount of information available is simply mind-blowing; what is required is an effective way to manage it.

In this context, businesses need to adopt marketing information systems that can acquire and process information fast and effectively. Choosing an ineffective system leads to the delay, loss and distortion of information but with an effective structure in place management will continuously be able to monitor the performance of its products, target markets and sales.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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