THE ROLE OF MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS: THE CASE OF ECOBANK
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The study examines the Role of Marketing Information Systems in the Decision Making Process of Ecobank. The study population consists of all the Ecobanks branch/head office in the South West and Littoral Regions on Cameroon and the main management centres in Douala and Buea. The research targets the branch managers, the deputy managers, and the marketing managers of the banks. The researcher used the descriptive analytical method and utilized both primary and secondary sources for data collection. The researcher retrieved 99 of the 117 distributed questionnaires, forming a response rate of 84.6%. The research results show that the managers rely on Marketing Information Systems (MkIS) in making their decisions and they trust these decisions, because the banks have reliable technology and Marketing Decision Support Systems (MDSS) that organizes the information gathered from all sources and analyze the data to help the managers in making marketing decisions. Moreover, MkIS components (i.e. internal records, marketing intelligence, marketing research, marketing decision support system, and the new technology) have effects on the decision making process. In addition, the study found a significant relationship between on one hand MkIS and all of the components and on the other hand the decision making process. The research results also clarify the use of the MkIS tools in collecting information by the banks, where marketing research is widely used in the process of collecting the information, and is useful in the decision making process. Moreover, internal records are the second most used component for gathering information by the banks, where marketing intelligence is used for collecting information about competitors and all external environment members. The researcher recommends that the banks should train the employees to use the MDSS available in the bank. In addition, the banks should enhance the use of marketing intelligence, increase the budget allocated for marketing research, and get more information from outside sources rather than depending only on internal source of information.
FURTHER READINGS: SIMILAR MARKETING PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS
The Internet is rapidly changing the way business views marketing information systems. New business models present challenges and opportunities as organizations seek to adopt “e-business” methodologies in the search for competitive advantage. Organizations of all sizes are feeling the “ripple effect” of Internet-enabled customers, supply chains and competitors. This pressure is particularly acute in the marketing function where information technology touches the customer and is increasingly becoming the key to creating superior customer value.
The importance of marketing information is particularly apparent as the economy continues to emphasize services as a primary source of value. Services is heavily information dependent.
Information is rapidly becoming a service in its own right. Even in industries that are primarily manufacturing in nature, the information content of the final product is rapidly increasing. Mass customization, often described as “one-to-one” marketing or the customizing of products and services for individual customers, is heavily dependent on comprehensive and timely customer information.
Modern marketing organizations, with their focus on the Internet, exhibit different characteristics than their “old economy” brethren.
They create and manage the customer interface where interactions are more virtual than face-to-face. They leverage IT technology to integrate and coordinate with customers and business partners to rapidly achieve measurable business results. The emphasis in on the rapid conversion of knowledge into customer value which depends on the ability to develop, deploy, and manage powerful new marketing information systems (MkIS). The key to competitive advantage depends on the firm’s ability to convert knowledge into customer relationships, reduced time to market and lower costs.
According to Kotler and Keller (2009), financial success depend on marketing ability, since finance operations, accounting and other functions will not really matter if there is no demand for the company’s products and services. Moreover, the competition is increasing day by day in the very fast growing global marketing, and marketing is affected by internal and external environmental forces (Taey and Alaq, 2009). Due to those changes, marketing management is a necessity which is defined as the art and science of choosing target market, winning customer loyalty, and attracting new customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value (Kotler and Keller, 2012). Marketing managers have to know what to sell, when to sell and how to sell the goods and services and in-order to do so, the managers have to get certain information to be able to make the right marketing decision. The value of information increases since it becomes one of the most valuable assets in ranking the competitive rivalry of the modern markets. The marketing managers have to make marketing decisions such as service to provide, price of the service, promoting the service and the place to sell the service (McLeod and Schell, 2001). This means that the firms need a systematic organization and development of Marketing Information Systems (MkIS) which can effectively collect, process and diffuse the necessary information available both to the internal and external levels (Panigyrakis, 2006). MkIS have been seen as a support system for the firms’ marketing management with its decision making process; in addition, to the management perspective, marketing information system can be an essential tool for the entire market organization. Kotler and Keller (2012), defines the Marketing Information Systems as “an interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures to gather sort, analyze, evaluate and distribute, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation, and control”. An efficient MkIS captures the status of and the relevant changes in the marketplace while simultaneously ridding the reporting environment of redundant information(O’Brien et al, 1995).
MkIS help in analyzing product features with customer data, evaluating channel and pricing options, creating and testing promotion plans, gaining instant feedback on concepts and plans, and moving marketing plans rapidly into production (Harmon, 2003). Kotler and Keller (2012) model of a Marketing Information System has four parts, which are Internal records, Marketing Intelligence, Marketing Research, and Marketing Decision Support System (MDSS).
Internal records are the most used information in all the companies around the world such as reports of orders, sales, prices, costs, inventory levels, receivables, payables and so on. When analyzing these data the managers can spot the opportunities and threats facing the firm (Kotler, 2008).
Market intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain their everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment (Kotler and Armstrong, 2010). Marketing intelligence is viewed in its totality as a continuing and interacting structure of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation and control.
Kotler (2006) defines marketing research as the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company. According to Proctor (2005), the marketing research follows certain steps in the procedure to get the desired and accurate results.
Marketing Decision Support System (MDSS) is a set of core applications in the MkIS that provides computer-based tools, models, and techniques to support the marketing decision making process (Kotler, 2006). In the general case, MDSS is optimized for queries of historical data. MDSS data typically are derived from both internal and external market sources.
“Marketing information system technology is IT within the marketing information system (MkIS). The distinction is important as MkIS do not have to contain any IT, they can be completely manually based. In reality most MkIS within financial institutions contain some IT, although the sophistication varies greatly”(Colgate, 1998). However, when using the technology it will be easier to connect all the departments together, at the same time there will be no redundant information. This will lead to better decision making by the firms when faced by either day to day problems, or for a certain problem. According to the above information, all the components of the MkIS have a relation with the decision making process.
To survive in highly competitive markets, companies need to be able to develop the marketing function and scale it up on “Internet time” with best-of-class decision support solutions for customer relationship management, sales force automation, market research, marketing communications, logistics, and product development. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the MkIS as it is evolving into an Internet-based system.
The role of marketing information in decision making cannot be overemphasized; and effective decision-making demands accurate, timely and relevant information. As the numbers of employees, customers and transaction increases in an organization the more it become multifaceted, and the information needed for effective management, planning, decision making and control invariably becomes more complex. Decision making is the task of every top management in an organization and they need relevant and timely information to assist in taking decisions. The objective of information systems in an organization is to provide the management, managers and stakeholders with information for more precise planning, foresting, monitoring and controlling of business. More so, the use of powerful computer software and network information systems have helped organizations to become more flexible, removing layers of redundant management functions, separate work from location and also restraining work flows. In order to maximize the benefits of information systems in today’s highly globalized and information based economy, there is a greater need to plan the information architecture and infrastructure.
In today’s business, there is growing need for marketing information. The necessity for marketing information increases on daily basis and thus becomes more complex in nature. And as business keeps growing the management, staff and other users of marketing information within and outside the organization continues to depend and demand for marketing information to support the management duties and operations of the business. This information required should be accurate, timely and aimed at the correct recipients. The management is also becoming increasingly aware that information system can be used to produce meaningful information on which they can base their decisions in addition to performing the detailed paper work functions of the organisation. In view of this the researcher attempt to establish what marketing information systems connotes and the significant relationship between marketing information systems and management decision.
Since marketing is more than just selling and promoting, marketing information system technology can be useful for the banks, especially large ones in-order to get the firm to higher ranks. Studies about computer-based marketing information systems technology in Cameroon has not been done yet. Moreover, we do not know exactly if the banks in Cameroon use the marketing information system technology when making decisions.
This study focuses on the role of Marketing Information System Technology in the decision making processes of Ecobank Cameroon.
This study identifies several research questions which are the main objectives this study:
What is the role of marketing information systems on management decision-making in the Bank?
- What is role of MkIS technology on decision making process?
- What is the extent to which the new technology of Marketing Information Systems affects the decision making processes?
- What is the role of internal records in the decision making process?
- What are the components and outcomes of the marketing intelligence used by the banks and their role on the decision making process?
- What are the sources of information for marketing research, and the marketing research role in the decision making process?
- What is the role of MDSS in the decision making process?
- What is the role of personal traits on the role of MkIS in the decision making process?
- What is role of organizational traits on the role of MkIS in the decision making process?
FURTHER READINGS: SIMILAR MARKETING PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS