Gathering Information and Measuring Market Demand
In this dynamic market with the free flow of information and innovative marketing programs, needs and wants of consumers are always changing. As per capita income increases consumers are willing to explore more alternatives for purchase decision. Companies should be aware of changing situation all the time to take the right decision. This calls for development of sophisticated marketing information systems.
The information system consists of stakeholders, process and equipment to collect, analyze and proliferate information across relevant decision makers. The system is formulated using the internal company records, market research data and other intelligence gathering system. The internal system consists of analyzing information from product order to the delivery cycle and sales information systems.
In product order to the delivery system, companies analyze consumption of various brands and make sure inventory of raw materials as well as finished products are maintained at sufficient levels. This is to make sure that whole cycle is completed in the shortest time possible.
In the sales information systems, sales figure across different geographical centers are collected and analyzed to understand the consumption pattern. The data collected from the above process is analyzed to understand consumer behavior and develop products as well as programs to cater to consumer demand.
The marketing intelligence system requires a combination of people, system and procedure to gather market data. For the company, sales people are on the frontline to spot and report any trend prevailing in the market. The distribution channel also can provide companies with valuable information of the end user. However, sales people as well as distribution have to be train about spotting trends and then sending to the right people in the organization.
Sometimes companies send a decoy into to the supermarket as a potential customer to check customer service, another way of gathering intelligence. Companies also outsource intelligence gathering activities to agencies like A C Nielson.
If the marketing information system reports any issue or emerging trend then further analysis can be done through marketing research. The marketing research process consists of following; defining the problem, developing research plan, collecting data, analyzing data, presenting findings and implementing the decision. Each step has to be carefully planned and executed for market research to succeed. During problem defining process companies have to make sure that objective is not too vague, nor does it take researchers in the wrong direction.
Developing research plan consist of creating a blue print as to how the information collection is going to occur. Here particular focus has to be maintained on cost for not over shoot the benefits. The step includes reaching out to the target audience and collecting information.
Market researchers have various techniques and models at their disposal to analyze the collected data. Once market researchers are done with their analysis, findings have to be presented in a structure format as to answer the research objective questions. It is now for the top management to take the decision as the way forward from market research study.
In the world driven by technology, marketing managers are also making efforts to use the available resources. Marketing managers are routinely using the statistical tools like regression analysis, factor analysis, etc., models like markov process model, sales response models to support decision making process. Marketing managers are also using marketing and sales software, which helps in making day to day decision like pricing, budgeting, etc.
Once managers are able to finalize opportunities using marketing research and other technology backed models then next step forward is to calculate the market size, growth and other business model related attributes.
Managers estimate market demand for a given product by calculating total product sell per market segment, per defined customer set, in a finite time and under specific marketing strategy. From these managers calculate companys market share vis-a-vis the competitors business plan.
Marketing managers have to admit it is the consumers market, which makes it important to gather information to understand their perception through available technology, market research and quantitative models. Understanding customers would help companies estimate total market demand for its products.
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