A marketing information system (MkIS) is a set of procedures, frameworks and technology for the continuous gathering of information that might affect the promotion and selling of a product or service. Software tools allow marketers to gather information around-the-clock and preserve, analyze, evaluate, update and distribute information relevant to specific products, services or promotions.
The information, which can come from various sources both inside and outside the organization, helps marketers keep up with changing customer needs, customer feedback, industry trends and competitors’ plans. This, in turn, helps the marketer to make data-driven decisions about such things as product designs, service options, pricing, packaging, distribution and advertising channels.
MkIS challenges can include high initial time and labor costs due to the complexity of setting up an information system capable of working with both structured and unstructured data. Typically, the components of a marketing information system include integration with:
Company data management systems - provides marketers with real-time data about internal operations, including orders received, inventory records and sales invoices. This helps ensure that sales and leads can be traced back to the marketing effort that produced them, and positive and negative feedback can be tracked to the source.
Marketing research systems - provides marketers with information gathered by third-party syndicated research firms, custom marketing research firms and speciality-line marketing research firms. This helps marketers be more accurate when predicting consumer buying trends.
Marketing intelligence systems - provides marketers with information about such things as market opportunity, competitor penetration strategies and market growth metrics. Typically, this information is gathered internally by marketing personnel and is less formal than marketing research.
Marketing models - provides marketers with the ability to view data in terms of traditional frameworks used when creating marketing plans. This can help marketers gain a broad perspective on a product or service's potential to be lucrative and help with cost-benefit analysis.
Arguably, the ultimate goal of installing an MkIS is to help managers gain better insight into the return on investment (ROI) for specific marketing initiatives. Information gleaned from MkISes will not only indicate how things are going, but also why and where performance needs to be improved. An additional benefit is that an MkIS allows marketers on geographically-distributed teams to work together virtually and share the same view of data.