Managing a Business/MBA-SM and MIS

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Question
1Q. Strategic Management:
Select an appropriate generic strategy to position your printing business unit in its competitive environment (map the environment primarily as a pattern of competitive pressures from rivals, suppliers, buyers, entrants and substitutes).

2Q. Management Information System
How will you plan a Management Information System in marketing information system taking into account the actions of antecedents or consequences of consumers, competitors, employers, institutions, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, govt. bodies and NGO's (NOTE: You must also take into account the physical, technological, economic factors, beside legal and social taboos) (Take an example of your choice)

Answer
1Q. Strategic Management:
Select an appropriate generic strategy to position your printing business unit in its competitive environment (map the environment primarily as a pattern of competitive pressures from rivals, suppliers, buyers, entrants and substitutes).
printing business unit
Business-level strategies are the strategies that are formed by individual business units within a company. There are four characteristics that differentiate business-level strategy from corporate strategy. Managers should understand these characteristics and how they apply to their own strategic decision making.
1.   Specificity
o   Business-level strategies are specific, rather than broad. This means that they deal with specific issues that affect the particular business unit. Examples of specific issues are deciding a pricing strategy and creating a product mix. These strategies deal only with the specific business unit and do not extend to the rest of the firm.
Short-Term Orientation
o   Corporate strategy tends to be oriented toward long-term goals. Business-level strategy, in contrast, is focused on short-term goals. Examples of short-term goals include quarterly and annual revenues, return on investments, sales and production levels. Business units tend to focus on these short-term goals while allowing corporate strategists to make decisions regarding the long-term focus of the company.
Simplicity
o   Business-level strategies tend to be fairly simple in nature. Corporate strategies tend to focus on abstract goals such as building core competences or creating firm flexibility. Business-level strategies however, tend to be much simpler. Goals tend to be tangible objectives such as increasing market share or developing brand recognition.
Independence
o   An important characteristic of business-level strategies is the concept of business-unit independence. The individual business unit is given the independence from the company as a whole in order to decide certain strategic issues on its own. This allows business-level strategies to deal primarily with the concerns of the business unit without interference from other units.



The Five Forces model of Porter is an Outside-in business unit strategy tool that is used to make an analysis of the attractiveness (value) of an industry structure. The Competitive Forces analysis is made by the identification of 5 fundamental competitive forces:

  1. Entry of competitors. How easy or difficult is it for new entrants to start competing, which barriers do exist.
  2. Threat of substitutes. How easy can a product or service be substituted, especially made cheaper.
  3. Bargaining power of buyers. How strong is the position of buyers. Can they work together in ordering large volumes.
  4. Bargaining power of suppliers. How strong is the position of sellers. Do many potential suppliers exist or only few potential suppliers, monopoly?
  5. Rivalry among the existing players. Does a strong competition between the existing players exist? Is one player very dominant or are all equal in strength and size.

Sometimes a sixth competitive force is added:

  6. Government.

Porter's Competitive Forces model is probably one of the most often used business strategy tools. It has proven its usefulness on numerous occasions. Porter's model is particularly strong in thinking Outside-in.
 

1. Threat of New Entrants depends on:

   * Economies of scale.
[not  LARGE VOLUMES  ARE  REQUIRED  AnD  MANY  PLAYERS  ARE THERE]
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   * Capital / investment requirements.
[PRINTING  MACHINE CAPITAL  INTENSIVE  BUSINESS  AND  HENCE ONLY FEW  CAN ENTER  THE  MARKET]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Customer switching costs.
[IT IS  VERY EXPENSIVE   TO  BUY CUSTOMER  LOYALTY]
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   * Access to industry distribution channels.
[ THIS  SERVICE  IS  SOLD BY  MANY  PLAYERS]
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   * Access to technology.
[CHANGING  PRINTING  TECHNOLOGY   WOULD  MAKE  IT  HARD  FOR  NEW  COMERS]
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   * Brand loyalty. Are customers loyal?
[THERE  IS SOME  BRAND  LOYALTY  AMONG  CUSTOMERS ]
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   * The likelihood of retaliation from existing industry players.
[THE  CURRENT  INDUSTRY  PLAYERS  GIVE  THE  NEW  ENTRANTS
A  ROUGH  TIME---BY  PRICE  CUTTING/  BETTER  SERVICE
AND  ADDITIONAL   COMFORTS]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Government regulations. Can new entrants get subsidies?
[WITH THE  LIFESTYLE CHANGES  AND CHANGING  ECONOMIC  CONDITIONS
THE  GOVERNMENT  IS   ENCOURAGING  NEW  ENTRANTS.]
======================================================


2.Threat of Substitutes depends on:

   * Quality. Is a substitute better?
[QUALITY  IS IMPORTANT  AND  HENCE  SUBSTITUTE  PRODUCTS   HAVE  SHORT LIFE]
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   * Buyers' willingness to substitute.
[SOME  BUYERS  WILL  SHIFT  TO  SUBSTITUTE, IF  THE  PRICE  IS RIGHT]
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   * The relative price and performance of substitutes.
[ IF  THE  PRICE  IS  LOW,  THE  SERVICE  OFFERED  WILL  BE  LOW AS  THE  QUALITY WILL BE LOW]
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* The costs of switching to substitutes. Is it easy to change to another product?
[THERE  WILL  SOME  BUYERS/  BUT  CHANGING  THE  BUYERS  WILL  BE  DIFFICULT]
==========================================================

3.Bargaining Power of Suppliers depends on:

   * Concentration of suppliers. Are there many buyers and few dominant suppliers?
[THERE  ARE A  LARGE  NUMBER  OF  USERS / MANY  SUPPLIERS]
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   * Branding. Is the brand of the supplier strong?
[BRAND  IS  NOT A  STRONG  FACTOR  WITH  THE  SUPPLIER]
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   * Profitability of suppliers. Are suppliers forced to raise prices?
[ SUPPLIERS  RAISE  PRICES  DURING   THE  PEAK  SEASON ]
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   * Suppliers threaten to integrate forward into the industry (for example: brand manufacturers threatening to set up their own retail outlets).
[PRINTERS  PREFER  KNOWN  CUSTOMERS   OUTLETS]
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   * Buyers do not threaten to integrate backwards into supply.
[NO,  THE  BUYERS  CANNOT   INTEGRATE  BACKWARDS INTO  SUPPLY]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Role of quality and service.
[ QUALITY  AND  SERVICE  PLAY  AN  IMPORTANT  PART]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Switching costs. Is it easy for suppliers to find new customers?
[IT IS  NOT  VERY  EASY. THE  SUPPLIERS  HAVE  TO  PROSPECT
AND  CULTIVATE  CUSTOMERS]
=========================================================

4. Bargaining Power of Buyers depends on:

   * Concentration of buyers. Are there a few dominant buyers and many sellers in the industry?
[ NO.THERE  ARE  MANY  MANY –MANY   SUPPLIERS]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Differentiation. Are products standardized?
[ THERE   ARE  SIGNIFICANT  DIFFERENTIATION  AMONG  THE  SERVICES ]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Profitability of buyers. Are buyers forced to be tough?
[ MOSTLY   THE  RECOMMENDED  PRICE]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Role of quality and service.
[ QUALITY  AND  SERVICE  PLAY  AN  IMPORTANT  PART]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Threat of backward and forward integration into the industry.
[ NO----]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Switching costs. Is it easy for buyers to switch their supplier?
[  YES.........]
=======================================================

5.Intensity of Rivalry depends on:

   * The structure of competition. Rivalry will be more intense if there are lots of small or equally sized competitors; rivalry will be less if an industry has a clear market leader.
[THERE  ARE  BIG  PLAYERS  ]
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   * The structure of industry costs. Industries with high fixed costs encourage competitors to USE  at full capacity by cutting prices if needed.
[THE  INDUSTRY   HAS  A  HIGH  FIXED  COST ]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Degree of product differentiation. Industries  HAVE   typically have greater rivalry.
[ THE   BRAND  DO NOT PLAY  A   SIGNIFICANT  PART]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   * Strategic objectives. If competitors pursue aggressive growth strategies, rivalry will be more intense. If competitors are merely "milking" profits in a mature industry, the degree of rivalry is typically low.
[SUPPLIERS  PURSUE  AGGRESSIVE  GROWTH  STRATEGIES]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Exit barriers. When barriers to leaving an industry are high, competitors tend to exhibit greater rivalry.
[ THERE  VERY  LIMITED  BARRIERS  FOR  EXIT]
======================================================

Strengths of the Five Competitive Forces Model. Benefits

   * The model is a strong tool for competitive analysis at industry level. Compare: PEST Analysis
* It provides useful input for performing a SWOT Analysis.

Limitation of Porter's Five Forces model

   * Care should be taken when using this model for the following: do not underestimate or underemphasize the importance of the (existing) strengths of the organization (Inside-out strategy). : Core Competence

   * The model was designed for analyzing individual business strategies. It does not cope with synergies and interdependencies within the portfolio of large corporations. : Parenting Advantage

   * From a more theoretical perspective, the model does not address the possibility that an industry could be attractive because certain companies are in it.

   * Some people claim that environments which are characterized by rapid, systemic and radical change require more flexible, dynamic or emergent approaches to strategy formulation. : Disruptive Innovation

* Sometimes it may be possible to create completely new markets instead of selecting from existing ones. : Blue Ocean Strategy
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  2.Differentiation Strategies:
1   Goal is to provide value to customers through unique features and
  characteristics of a firm’s products.
2   Differentiators focus or concentrate on product innovation and
  developing product features that customers value. Products
  generally cost more (offset cost of differentiation).
3   Can’t completely ignore costs.
  
  Differentiation Strategies:
4   Can differentiate based on:
5   Superior quality (John Deere, Mercedes)
6   Customer service (IBM or Caterpillar)
7   Engineering design (Hewlett-Packard)
8   Unique features
9   Image of prestige or exclusivity (L’Oreal Cosmetics, Mercedes)
10   Package design (Arizona Iced Tea)
11   Requirements for usage:
12   Use may require a high market share initially.
13   Implies a trade-off with low-cost (i.e., costs to differentiate).
14   Generally leads to a lower market share than in the low-cost approach.

Differentiation Strategies:
1   Defense against 5 competitive forces:
2   Competitors - Decreases rivalry due to brand loyalty and resulting lower
  sensitivity to price.
3   Suppliers - Allows an increase in price margins (customers willing to pay
  more, can withstand supplier price changes).
4   Buyers - Removes buyer power due to a lack of comparative alternatives.
5   New-entrants & Substitutes - Requires others to overcome customer
loyalty and product uniqueness.

Differentiation Strategies:
1   Competitive risks:
2   If selling price is too high buyers may become price sensitive despite
  customer loyalty or uniqueness (price differential between standardized
  and differentiated product is too high).
3   Buyers may decide they don’t need the special features (means of
  differentiation no longer provides value).
4   Rival firms may imitate the product thereby decreasing product
  uniqueness.
5   When to use:
6   When ways exist to differentiate the product which buyers perceive
  to have value.
7   When uses of the item are diverse.
8   When not many rivals are using the same strategy.
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approaches to positioning strategy:

(1) Using product characteristics or customer benefits,
1.Using SERVICE  Characteristics or Customer Benefits
Probably the most-used positioning strategy is to associate an object with a product characteristic or customer benefit. Imported automobiles illustrate the variety of product characteristics that can be employed and their power in image creation. Honda and Toyota have emphasized economy and reliability and have become the leaders in the number of units sold. Sometimes a new product can be positioned with respect to a product characteristic that competitors have ignored. Sometimes a product will attempt to position itself along two or more product characteristics simultaneously. Sometimes different models of a product may be positioned towards different segments by highlighting different attributes.
It is always tempting to try to position along several product characteristics, as it is
frustrating to have some good product characteristics that are not communicated. However, advertising objectives that involve too many product characteristics can be most difficult to implement. The result can often be a fuzzy, confused image, which usually hurts a brand.
Myers and Shocker have made a distinction between physical characteristics, pseudophysical characteristics, and benefits, all of which can be used in positioning. Physical characteristics are the most objective and can be measured on some physical scale such as temperature, color intensity, sweetness, thickness, distance, dollars, acidity, saltiness, strength of fragrance, weight, and so on.
Pseudophysical characteristics, in contrast, reflect physical properties that are not easily measured. Examples are spiciness, smoky taste, tartness, type of fragrance (smells like a . . .), greasiness, creaminess, and shininess. Benefits refer to advantages that promote the well being of the consumer or user.


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So how should you go about formulating your positioning plan? There are essentially 2 ways of going about it.
(a) Market Positioning.
(b) Psychological Positioning

Market Positioning
It is a three-step process:
(i) Identify market opportunities.
(ii) Segment the market and select the right segment.
(iii) Devise a competitive strategy.
The whole idea is to meet market requirements better than the competitors can.
1. Explore the Market
Ask which are the areas where the company has distinctive advantage over the competition. Study the sales potential of the new market and its growth rate. Do financial calculations like to produce, profits, pricing etc. Understand market dynamics and channels of distribution.
Put the key factors that may contribute to success on paper.
2. Segmentation and Targeting
Markets can be segmented on different bases, e.g., users, products. Further segmentation be on the basis of end-use. The marketer targets his product to a particular segment. While doing so, competitor's positions are kept in mind, by drawing a product space map (PSM).
3. Competitive Strategy
Identify the competitor's weaknesses and your company's strengths. Emphasize your strengths to differentiate your offer. The company identifies the most important differences to develop strategy.
Consider factors like:
(i) Market share
(ii) Profitability
(iii) Product range
(iv) Corporate profile
(v) Financial strength
(vi) Cost position
(vii) Product differentiation
(viii) Quality of management, technology, distribution
(ix) Reputation.
Find out the gaps between you and your competitors against the above-listed factors. It will give you an offer that distinguishes you - a benefit bundle or value package consisting of price, distribution and service mix.
These days many products are technologically so similar to each other and distinctions are not possible. The other possibilities to distinguish the offer are so many - warranties, after-sales-service, installment offers, price-offs, discounts, strong distribution, responsiveness etc.

Psychological Positioning

Basically, psychological positioning is a communication exercise that follows AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action model. It is derived from market positioning and tells who the company is, what the product does, and what to expect from the purchase.
The brand name, the look and the packaging must complement the psychological positioning. Consumer behavior is driven more by feelings than rationale, and even the most aptly positioned brand might fail if it does not strike the right chord. Brand ultimately has to build a relationship with the customer. Benefits and benefit gaps are easy to identify through research. Feelings are more difficult to get to. Coffee, for instance, is about intimacy, romance and togetherness. Titan is a gift of appreciation. Lakme and Vareli touch a streak of narcissism in a woman. Brand positioning is thus not just occupying a slot in the mind of the consumers. It is about ruling the heart also.
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2Q. Management Information System
How will you plan a Management Information System in marketing information system taking into account the actions of antecedents or consequences of consumers, competitors, employers, institutions, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, govt. bodies and NGO's (NOTE: You must also take into account the physical, technological, economic factors, beside legal and social taboos) (Take an example of your choice)
ANALYSES  THE  FOLLOWING   DATABASE
AND  APPLYS   THE  PROBELM  SOLVING/ DECISION
MAKING   APPROACH   /   FINALIZES   THE  PLAN.

-apply  the  pestel  analysis with  respect  TO ITS BUSINESS

1.Political (incl. Legal)   

-Environmental regulations and protection
[what  are  the  government regualtions/ protection laws  that  must be  observed ]

-Tax policies
what tax  hinder the business and what  taxes  incentives  are available]

-International trade regulations and restrictions
[ does  the  government    encourage  exports / with  high tariffs  on  imports]

-Contract enforcement law/Consumer protection
[does  the  government  enforce  on  consumer  protection ]

-Employment laws]
[ is the  government    encouraging  skilled  immigrants  with  temp. permits]

-Government organization / attitude
[ does  the  government  have  a   very  positive  attitude  towards  this   industry]

-Competition regulation
[ are  there   regulation  for  limiting  competition]

-Political Stability
[ politically ,  does the   government    have   a  very   stable  government ]

-Safety regulations
[ has  the  government      adopted  some  of  the  modern  safety regulations]
=================================================================
2.Economic     

-Economic growth
[  what  is  the economic growth rate  /  what  are  the  reasons ]

-Interest rates & monetary policies
[ are  the  interest  rates    under control /  is there   a  sound  monetary  policies]

-Government spending
[is  government  spending  is  significant   and  is it   under control ]

-Unemployment policy
[what  is  the  employment / unemployment  policies  of the government ]

-Taxation
[  has  the  taxation    encouraged  the  industry ]

-Exchange rates
[ is   there  well  managed   exchange  controls  and  is it  helping  the  industry]

-Inflation rates
[ is  the  inflation  well   under  control ]

-Stage of the business cycle
[ is  your    industry  is  on  the   growth  pattern]

-Consumer confidence
[ is  the  consumer  confidence   is   high/ strong and  if  not, why ]

==================================================
3.Social  

-Income distribution
[is there   balanced   income  distribution   policy ]

-Demographics, Population growth rates, Age distribution
[ what  is   population   growth  and  why ]

-Labor / social mobility
[ what   are the  labor  policies  and  is  there  labor  mobility]

-Lifestyle changes
[ are  there  significant  lifestyle   changes     taking  place--more  modernization/ why  ]

-Work/career and leisure attitudes
[ are  the  population      career  minded  and  are  seeking  better  lifestyle]

-Education
[ what  are  the  education  policies /  is  it  successful ]

-Fashion, hypes
[are  the   people    becoming  fashion  conscious ]

-Health consciousness & welfare, feelings on safety
[ are  the  people     becoming  health  consciousness]

-Living conditions
[ is the  living  conditions   improving  fast  and  spreading  rapidly]

=========================================================
4.Technological  

Government research spending
[is  the  government    spending  on research  and  development]

Industry focus on technological effort
[are  the   industries    focused  on  using  improved  technology]

New inventions and development
[ are  new  inventions     being   encouraged  for  developments]

Rate of technology transfer
[ is  the  rate  of  technology  transfer  is  speeding  up ]

(Changes in) Information Technology
[ is  the   information  technology    rapidly  moving  and  is  there  government  support]

(Changes in) Internet
[ is the   internet  usage    rapidly  increasing   and  why]

(Changes in) Mobile Technology
[is  the   Mobile   technology    rapidly developing  and  is there  government  support]
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5.External Assessment---

Areas for opportunities and threats

* Markets [ what  is  the market  situation, which is forcing the change requirements
*Customers [ how can service the customer -internal / external -better .          
* Industry  [ is  the  industry  trend ]
* Competition [ is  it the  competitive situation      
*Factors of  business [ causing  the change]
* Technology [ is  it  technology  change ]

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STEP 6

CONDUCT A ''SWOT'' ANALYSIS OF THE COMPANY'S RESOURCES.
Internal Assessment

Areas for strengths, weaknesses, and barriers to success

ORGANIZATION DIMENSIONS
*Culture [ is the working culture change ]
* Organization [ is the organization demanding change ]
* Systems [ is it the systems change ]
* Management practices [ change in managemement process]


OTHER KEY DIMENSIONS

*Cost efficiency[ is it for cost efficiency ]
* Financial performance [ is it for financial performance improvement ]
* Quality [ is it for quality performance improvement
*Service [ is it for service performance improvement
*Technology[ is it for technology performance improvement
* Market segments [ is it for sales performance improvement
* Innovation[ is it for performance improvement
*new products[ is it for new product performance improvement
*Asset condition[ is it for financial performance improvement
*productivity[ is it for financial performance improvement


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STEP 7

NOW THE CO. KNOWS WHERE IT STANDS.
PRIORITY ISSUES

FROM THE ABOVE , DETERMINE THE CORE ISSUES
WHICH NEEDS TO SOLVED WITH YOUR INVESTMENT.

STRATEGIC PROGRAMS

FROM THE ABOVE CORE ISSUES , DETERMINE YOUR
STRATEGIC PROGRAMS.

Mission STATEMENT

VISION STATEMENT

Your CORE PURPOSE

Your CORE OBJECTIVES
Your Core markets;
Your CORE strategic thrusts.

BUSINESS DEFINITION:

The arena of products, services, customers, technologies, distribution methods, and geography in which you'll compete to get results.


-===================================================
STEP 8

WHERE DOES THE CO. WANTS TO GO

THE COMPANY ARRIVES AT THE FOLLOWING
DECISIONS AT THE END OF THE SESSIONS:

1.REVENUE BUDGET.
2.GROSS PROFIT BUDGET.
3.NET PROFIT BUDGET.

4.SALES TOTAL FORECAST.
5.SALES BY PRODUCTS.

6.OPERATIONAL EXPENSES BUDGET.
7.FIXED EXPENSES BUDGET.

8.PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT %
9.PROFITABILITY INCREMENT %
10. RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
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Marketing information system.

What  is  in the   MARKETING  INFORMATION  SYSTEM  ?

MIS  could  include  such  informations  as

-consumer  research  data

-market  research  data

-market  surveys

-market  analysis

-competitors  analysis

-product  analysis

-product  test  analysis

-product  plans

-test  market  results

-market strategy   analysis

-sales  analysis

-distribution  analysis

-media  analysis

-promotion analysis

-customer satisfaction   survey

-retail audit  data

-marketing  auditing  data

-market  forecast

-sales  forecast

-sales  planning  data

-distribution  planning

-customer  analysis

-market  segment  analysis

-consumer [  socio/economic /demographic/psychographic]  data

ETC  ETC.
==================================================

WHY  DO  THE  FIRMS  NEED  THIS  DATA ?

THEY  NEED  THE   DATA  FOR

-new  product  development

-new  product  planning

-new  product  testing

-new  product  test  marketing

-new   product  market  forecast

-new  product   sales forecast

-annual  market  forecast

-annual  sales  forecast

-annual  market  planning

-annual  sales  planning

-annual  distribution  planning

-annual  target  marketing

-market  segmentation

-annual  sales  development  programs

-annual  market  development  programs

-annual  sales  planning

-annual  distribution  planning

-annual  merchandising  planning

ETC  ETC
Components of a marketing information system
A marketing information system (MIS) is intended to bring together disparate items of data into a coherent body of information. An MIS is, as will shortly be seen, more than raw data or information suitable for the purposes of decision making. An MIS also provides methods for interpreting the information the MIS provides. Moreover, as Kotler's1 definition says, an MIS is more than a system of data collection or a set of information technologies:
"A marketing information system is a continuing and interacting structure of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyse, evaluate, and distribute pertinent, timely and accurate information for use by marketing decision makers to improve their marketing planning, implementation, and control".
Figure 9.1 illustrates the major components of an MIS, the environmental factors monitored by the system and the types of marketing decision which the MIS seeks to underpin.
Figure 9.1 The marketing information systems and its subsystems

The explanation of this model of an MIS begins with a description of each of its four main constituent parts: the internal reporting systems, marketing research system, marketing intelligence system and marketing models. It is suggested that whilst the MIS varies in its degree of sophistication - with many in the industrialised countries being computerised and few in the developing countries being so - a fully fledged MIS should have these components, the methods (and technologies) of collection, storing, retrieving and processing data notwithstanding.
Internal reporting systems: All enterprises which have been in operation for any period of time nave a wealth of information. However, this information often remains under-utilised because it is compartmentalised, either in the form of an individual entrepreneur or in the functional departments of larger businesses. That is, information is usually categorised according to its nature so that there are, for example, financial, production, manpower, marketing, stockholding and logistical data. Often the entrepreneur, or various personnel working in the functional departments holding these pieces of data, do not see how it could help decision makers in other functional areas. Similarly, decision makers can fail to appreciate how information from other functional areas might help them and therefore do not request it.
The internal records that are of immediate value to marketing decisions are: orders received, stockholdings and sales invoices. These are but a few of the internal records that can be used by marketing managers, but even this small set of records is capable of generating a great deal of information. Below, is a list of some of the information that can be derived from sales invoices.
• Product type, size and pack type by territory
• Product type, size and pack type by type of account
• Product type, size and pack type by industry
• Product type, size and pack type by customer
• Average value and/or volume of sale by territory
• Average value and/or volume of sale by type of account
• Average value and/or volume of sale by industry
• Average value and/or volume of sale by sales person
By comparing orders received with invoices an enterprise can establish the extent to which it is providing an acceptable level of customer service. In the same way, comparing stockholding records with orders received helps an enterprise ascertain whether its stocks are in line with current demand patterns.
Marketing research systems: The general topic of marketing research has been the prime ' subject of the textbook and only a little more needs to be added here. Marketing research is a proactive search for information. That is, the enterprise which commissions these studies does so to solve a perceived marketing problem. In many cases, data is collected in a purposeful way to address a well-defined problem (or a problem which can be defined and solved within the course of the study). The other form of marketing research centres not around a specific marketing problem but is an attempt to continuously monitor the marketing environment. These monitoring or tracking exercises are continuous marketing research studies, often involving panels of farmers, consumers or distributors from which the same data is collected at regular intervals. Whilst the ad hoc study and continuous marketing research differs in the orientation, yet they are both proactive.
Marketing intelligence systems: Whereas marketing research is focused, market intelligence is not. A marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and data sources used by marketing managers to sift information from the environment that they can use in their decision making. This scanning of the economic and business environment can be undertaken in a variety of ways, including2
Unfocused scanning   The manager, by virtue of what he/she reads, hears and watches exposes him/herself to information that may prove useful. Whilst the behaviour is unfocused and the manager has no specific purpose in mind, it is not unintentional
  
Semi-focused scanning   Again, the manager is not in search of particular pieces of information that he/she is actively searching but does narrow the range of media that is scanned. For instance, the manager may focus more on economic and business publications, broadcasts etc. and pay less attention to political, scientific or technological media.
  
Informal search   This describes the situation where a fairly limited and unstructured attempt is made to obtain information for a specific purpose. For example, the marketing manager of a firm considering entering the business of importing frozen fish from a neighbouring country may make informal inquiries as to prices and demand levels of frozen and fresh fish. There would be little structure to this search with the manager making inquiries with traders he/she happens to encounter as well as with other ad hoc contacts in ministries, international aid agencies, with trade associations, importers/exporters etc.
  
Formal search   This is a purposeful search after information in some systematic way. The information will be required to address a specific issue. Whilst this sort of activity may seem to share the characteristics of marketing research it is carried out by the manager him/herself rather than a professional researcher. Moreover, the scope of the search is likely to be narrow in scope and far less intensive than marketing research
Marketing intelligence is the province of entrepreneurs and senior managers within an agribusiness. It involves them in scanning newspaper trade magazines, business journals and reports, economic forecasts and other media. In addition it involves management in talking to producers, suppliers and customers, as well as to competitors. Nonetheless, it is a largely informal process of observing and conversing.
Some enterprises will approach marketing intelligence gathering in a more deliberate fashion and will train its sales force, after-sales personnel and district/area managers to take cognisance of competitors' actions, customer complaints and requests and distributor problems. Enterprises with vision will also encourage intermediaries, such as collectors, retailers, traders and other middlemen to be proactive in conveying market intelligence back to them.


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Managing a Business

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Leo Lingham

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In Managing a business, I can cover all aspects of running a business--business planning, business development, business auditing, business communication, operation management, human resources management , training, etc.

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18 years of working management experience covering such areas
as business planning, business development, strategic planning,
marketing, management services, personnel administration.

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24 years of management consulting which includes business planning, strategic planning, marketing, product management, training, business coaching etc.

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BESTBUSICON   Pty Ltd--PRINCIPAL

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MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINSTRATION

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