What are the components of a digital marketing information system?

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Philip Kotler, marketing professor and thought-leader of modern marketing methodologies, defines a marketing information system (MIS) as follows:

“A marketing information system is a ongoing and interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures in order to gather, sort, analyse, evaluate, and distribute pertinent, timely as well as accurate information for utilisation by marketing decision-makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation as well as control.”

These systems are intended to collate unrelated data sets into one cohesive, coherent body of information. It’s more than just about data-driven decision making. It also reveals methods for interpreting the information gathered and how this information can be used by marketing departments to improve their promotional efficacy and overall quality.

Below are the four components of every marketing information system, and one can’t function properly if any of the below-mentioned components are not present:

Four components of every marketing information system

1. Internal reporting system

Integrated internal data-sharing systems are essential in the modern business world. Workers in different departments, like logistics and human resources, don’t realise that their information can actually enhance decision-making in other departments. The most critical information a marketing department must obtain from other organisational organs should include: Orders received, stockholdings, and sales invoices.

2. Marketing research systems

This part of the marketing information system is all about the pro-active search for information. Most marketing research campaigns are undertaken to solve a specific marketing challenge, using purposeful data collection methods. However, many organisations engage in regular marketing research projects in order to monitor the brand’s presence in the areas they’re focusing their marketing efforts on. Again, information gained from marketing research should be made available as part of the MIS.

3. Marketing intelligence systems

Whereas marketing research systems assess and monitor the organisation’s existing marketing efforts, marketing intelligence is a general look at the current market situation. In other words, marketing managers can evaluate the macro-environment in search of potential challenges, threats and opportunities. These assessments can be conducted in a formal manner (compiling research reports for higher-tiered decision makers) or informal (casually browsing for information while on lunch break).

4. Marketing models

These models (including statistical, mathematical, financial, and econometric) form the analytical subsystem of a marketing information system. These models are intended to automate the analysis of the data collected in the previous three MIS components. Some models are stochastic in nature, where they determine probabilities based on the presented data, while others are deterministic, where the relationship between variables is expressed in mathematical terms.

Very few SMEs in South Africa have – or even know about – digital marketing information systems. These are important to the overall success of any marketing department.

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