Assessing Marketing Information Needs
The marketing information system primarily serves the company’s marketing and other managers. However, it may also provide information to external partners, such as suppliers, resellers, or marketing services agencies. For example, wal-mart gives key suppliers access to information on customer buying patterns and inventory levels. And dell creates tailored Premium Pages for large customers, giving them access to product design, order status, and product support and service information. In designing an information system, the company must consider the needs of all of these users.
A good marketing information system balances the information users would like to have against what they really need and what is feasible t offer. The company begins by interviewing managers to find out what information they would like. Some managers will ask for whatever information they can get without thinking carefully about what they really need.
Too much information can be as harmful as too little. Other managers may omit things they ought to know, or they may not know to ask for some types of information they should have. For example, managers might need to know about a new product that a competitor plans to introduce during the coming year. Because they do not know about the new product, they do not think to ask about it. The MIS must monitor the marketing environment in order to provide decision makers with information they should have to make key marketing decisions.
Finally the costs of obtaining, processing, storing, and delivering information can mount quickly. The company must decide whether the benefits of having additional information are worth the costs of providing it, and both value and cost are often hard to assess. By itself, information has no worth; its value comes from its use. In many cases, additional information will do little to change or improve a manager’s decision, or the costs of the information may exceed the returns from the improved decision. Marketers should not assume that additional information will always be worth obtaining. Rather, they should weigh carefully the costs of getting more information against the benefits resulting from it.