INFORMATION & SERVICES
As Philip Kotler has rightly said, “The future is not ahead of us. It has already happened”. Today companies have to prepare themselves for the new economy, which is characterized by globalization, hyper competition, technology and empowered consumer. The old economy marketers worked on certain set theories and principles, which was focused on internal efficiency and productivity. But now the focus has shifted to doing well in the marketplace against competitors and hence strategizing for the future. As more and more companies are entering the race, the scope of having a competitive edge is declining. Marketers have been working on various parameters like advertising, quality, pricing, branding, discounts, packaging, etc to gain that extra but they seem to work no more as everybody is emphasizing on them.
Hence the inevitable question? How do companies compete successfully in today’s marketplace? The answer is to practice the art of market-oriented strategic planning, the managerial process of developing and maintaining a viable fit between the organization’s objectives, skills and resources and its changing market opportunities. Marketers today need to unleash new capabilities to gain a substantial advantage because that will create winners and losers. There is a need for holistic marketing, which brings us to the three most important and critical success factors that are Relationships, Information and Services. Their literal meaning is understood by all but what needs to be known is what they symbolically stand for in today’s market. The degree to which these concepts can be applied would vary from industry but their importance cannot be ignored. I. INFORMATION
“Marketing is becoming a battle based more on information than on sales power” Companies today are realizing the significance of information about practically all the aspects of business. And how this can lead to creation of such wealth, which could play a key role in strategizing for the future.
Nevertheless, most business firms lack information sophistication. Their activities are limited to occasional surveys, routine forecasting, sales analysis, etc. But nothing from long term view.
In addition, many managers complain about not knowing where critical information is located in the company; getting too much information that they cannot use and too little that they really need; getting important information too late; and doubting the information’s accuracy. In today’s information based society, companies with superior information enjoy competitive advantage. The company can choose its markets better, develop better offerings, and execute better marketing planning. Information relating to any aspect of marketing, be that be advertising and promotional material, sales data, order and processing cycle, inventory levels, pricing components, distribution and logistics, dealer network, consumption patterns, consumer behavior studies, brand recall and advertising effectiveness researchers, product variants and their quality, major accounts, etc. can be critical to business all the time. Hence efforts should be made to maintain this in a retrievable and analyzable form. Companies must study their manager’s information needs and design marketing information systems which consists of people, equipment and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribution needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers. The broad components of this system should be: 1. Internal records system- Data relating to order-to-payment cycle, customer dispatch orders, invoices, shipping and billing documents, sales information systems, customer databases, product and salesperson databases should be warehoused by the firms. Furthermore, by hiring analysts skilled in sophisticated statistical methods, they can “mine” the data and garner fresh insights into neglected customer...