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Marketing Research and Marketing Information System

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The marketing information system is a continuing and interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation, and control (Kotler, 2004). The system is built on an understanding of the information needs of marketing management of the marketing mix and the decision-making process of the business, where and how the manager requires it. Marketing research is one of the major elements of the marketing information system. Marketing research is the systematic and objective search for, and analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing. It provides the information to help managers to fine tune the marketing mix. However, advances in technology are bringing the new challenges in the scope and effectiveness of marketing research.

The marketing information system comprises four elements, including internal continuous data, internal ad hoc data, environmental scanning and marketing research. Internal continuous data is the enormous amount of marketing and financial data that may never be used for marketing decision-making. The MkIS is the conversion of financial data into a usable form by marketing management. Company data can also be used for a specific purpose. Capturing the data on the MkIS allows specific analyses to be conducted when needed. Environmental scanning focus on the economic environment analysis which provides an early warning system for the forces that may impact a company's products and markets in the future. Finally, marketing research concerns with the provision of information about markets and the reaction of these to the marketing mix. There are two types of marketing research can be distinguished: external continuous data and external ad hoc data. External continuous data reflects the customer purchase patterns and responses to promotion. External ad hoc data are often gathered by means of surveys into specific marketing issue, including usage and attitude studies, advertising and product testing. Usually the emphasis is on external data sources. Thus, marketing information system plays significant role to store and produce information on a continuous basis. This information is generally concerning behaviour, attitudes and motivations of a particular target group. Market research is the first step before any decisions are taken. As a supplier of information its role is only effective if it enables companies to make useful marketing decisions.

Nevertheless, a useful framework for understanding the steps involved in the marketing research process provides the basic way to conduct the marketing research. The start of the process is usually the realization that a marketing problem requires information to help its solution. Second, the research objectives should be defined. There are four types of research objectives, including exploratory, descriptive, correlational or causal. The chief purpose of exploratory research is to identify the variables which should be measured to reach a better understanding of the research problem. As the name suggests, descriptive research is concerned with describing market characteristics and marketing mix characteristics. Correlational research collects a set of facts organized into two or more categories and examines the relation between them. Causal research deals with the test hypotheses about cause and effect relationships. Developing the research plan is the third step. It includes

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