Marketing orientation places customers at the forefront of planning activities. It is a philosophy of total business thinking that is not merely confined to the realms of the marketing department. Organizations face changes and challenges from outside as well as inside their boundaries. The role of marketing is to anticipate and identify such changes and advise the organization on how to respond to challenges in the context of a competitive marketplace.
Marketing needs information to carry out this task. Marketing research collects information and a marketing information system (MkIS) analyses and acts on such information. According to Kotler and Keller1 a marketing information system consists of: ‘People, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate and distribute needed, timely and accurate information to marketing decision makers.’ This definition highlights that the marketing information system is more than just marketing research. Information provided by marketing research is one input to the marketing information system, albeit a crucial one. The whole purpose of the marketing information system is to enhance the marketing manager’s decision-making capabilities.
In practice, an MkIS provides a store of historical customer data. This produces better efficiency internally due to better organized data, thus ultimately leading to more effective strategic improvements; better identification of opportunities that might lead to the development of new products and services, and the development of better long-term relationships with customers arising from increased customer loyalty. concerned with forecasting, and the forecast is the starting point when constructing a business plan. It is, therefore, critical that forecasting information is lodged on the MkIS. To achieve this requires a study of an organization’s current information base and its ability to monitor existing marketing activities. It also needs the ability to use information to match the dynamics of a changing market and to report such changes to marketing management in order that appropriate planning action can be taken.