Marketing managers rely mainly on MIS systems and reports generated for the same to establish marketing plans. Marketers rely on three sources of information: internal information, marketing intelligence, and market research.
Marketing managers need to have an internal analysis to determine where does their own company stand. For these they need regular sales reports, shipment reports, purchase reports, margin reports, costing, customer service expenses etc. All these can be obtained through MIS and it is the first type of information a marketing manager looks for.
The second kind of information which will be needed is the business environment or in other words market intelligence. The Market intelligence pertains to overall demand in the market, the potential of the market, competitors in the market etc. Generally a lot of marketing intelligence is gathered from internal sources itself such as customers, suppliers and distributors. Marketing intelligence from these sources is important to grasp any day to day changes happening in the business environment. For example – A television company will expect lots of sales in a festive environment and your distributors will probably inform you that they will be needing discount in this time. Thus during a festive environment you have to use Price discounts as a sales promotion tactic and at the same time ensure having a higher inventory of televisions. Furthermore, industry information can also be found by professional organizations such as Nielsen and others.
While internal information and market intelligence is important, the most important information which a marketing manager can receive is “What a customer wants”. Thus time to time market and consumer research is needed for new product ideas as well as expected improvement in processes. This kind of information can be expensive to gather but is worth the expense. Major changes in industries happen mainly because they are in touch with their end customers and they know what their customer wants. Furthermore, predicting how a market will respond to any changes being made in the marketing plan can be answered by your end customers only and not by your distributors and suppliers. This is why a lot of organizations conduct trial runs.
With these three information, a marketing manager has enough knowledge to go ahead with his marketing plan. If the plan fails, then he has to determine which of the above information is improper. If the marketing plan fails because of internal problems, then his internal company information was improper. If it fails because of poor support from distributors and suppliers, then his marketing intelligence was incorrect. And finally if the end customer does not accept the marketing plan then his market research was improper.