Using Marketing Information Systems (MIS)

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A few rounds of market research can produce tons of information that must be managed in a way that ensures it has value to decision makers. The use of a Marketing Information System (MIS) is one approach for dealing with the volumes of market research data created for clients or even to support the use of research data by a small business owner. 

A Marketing Information System consists of three components: 

  1. The computer hardware and software needed to analyze data and generate reports
  2. An output system for marketing and advertising decision makers
  3. Four types of data that can be analyzed by the MIS

Functions of a Marketing Information System Perform

A Marketing Information System or MIS is a highly desirable tool for market researcher professionals since it offers a comprehensive suite of functions. An MIS can be used to identify the type of information that marketing and advertising decision makers need, which is a very significant function. The more common functions of an MIS include the capacity to collect data and then sort it for future access. An MIS stores the information that it collects and can be used to analyze the data it collects, as well. Finally, an MIS can be used to distribute relevant data to managers who will use it for product or service promotion. And since the use of an MIS is under the direction of a market researcher, the information will be disseminated to clients in a timely manner. 

What Types of Data Can a Marketing Information System Utilize?

Since an MIS is designed to be a multifunctional system, it can handle several types of data. Several sources provide the MIS with data, and these can be classified as follows:

  • Acquired databases
  • Internal company data
  • Marketing intelligence
  • Marketing research

The MIS can be set to generate a report series for different categories of decision makers. 

Frito-Lay's MIS produces daily sales data reports according to region and product line. The decision makers at Frito-Lay use the reports to assess the current market share of products, both across product lines and compared to the competitors in the snack foods space in each region where Frito-Lay does business.

Needs Met by a Marketing Information System

  • Acquired databases: A truly enormous amount of information is available in the form of databases, and a surprising body of data can be accessed without cost to companies. Government databases, for instance, contain economic and demographic information on individuals, groups, and companies
  • Internal company data: Data from sales and marketing activities are sent to the MIS, and the articulation across the databases enables the production of reports. Also, integration of the MIS with the company intranet platform can enable access to different business units, departmental databases, and even employees. An intranet is an internal corporate communications network. 
  • Marketing intelligence: All of the relevant information about the target market environment can be accessed through smart intelligence activities that monitor competitors' websites, industry trade publications, and marketplace observations by people in the trenches. Other avenues for market intelligence include trade shows, talking with customers and prospective customers, conversing with distributors as they go about their business, and engaging in activities such as hiring mystery shoppers and purchasing and testing competitors products.
  • Marketing research: The marketing research and data integrated into the MIS includes information from syndicated research reports and custom research reports, which may be derived from secondary research or new primary research. The more specific and unique the market research data is about the business environment, competitors, and customers, generally the more value it has to the company.


Solomon, M.R., Marshall, G. W., Stuart, E. W., Smith, J. B. Charlebois, S., & Shah, B. (2013). Marketing: Real people, real choices (4th Canadian ed.). Pearson Canada Inc.