Now let’s look at one brief example of decisions that marketing managers confront. Put yourself in the position of an advertising manager. A few representative questions for which you might need answers are:
- Where is sales volume concentrated?
- Who are our specific major customers, both present and potential?
- What types of advertising have the greatest influence on our major customers?
Could the Information System help you to obtain the answers? Certainly, if it captured and stored historical data related to sales events and additional data related to customers. For example, to answer the first question, you might find a sales report by region helpful, and a sales report by customer class could provide some answers to the second question.
Where might you find answers to questions like the third one? Census reports, market research questionnaires, and trade journals often are included in the broader marketing Information System. Research houses garner vast amounts of information from public records—drivers’ licenses, automobile registrations, tax rolls, mortgage registrations, and the like—and sell that information to other companies. In certain industries, the mechanisms to collect data regarding customers, their buying habits, and other demographics have become quite sophisticated. Recent advances in database management systems and the underlying technologies are leading to a focus on the use of data warehousing and data mining techniques (as discussed in E-Business) to support marketing analysis. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key technologies supporting these efforts.