How do marketing agents and marketing researchers get the information they need? All marketing management information comes either from sources internal to the firms or from external sources. External sources of information can be further broken down into primary and secondary sources. Thus marketing management information comes from (1) sources internal to the firm (2) primary sources external to the firm and (3) secondary sources external to the firm.
Some sources are internal to the firm, such as information generated by the marketing, accounting and production departments. Their normal operating responsibilities require that they compile some of the sales and cost data needed by management. There are also data sources external to the firm, and these can be further classified as primary or secondary data sources.
Secondary data are those that have been collected by other organizations for example, government agencies such as the Commerce and Labor departments of the federal government, financial organizations such as Dun & Bradstreet’s and Poor’s newspapers and magazines such as the Chicago Tribune and Fortune, trade associations such as the National Association of Manufacturers, and commercial marketing research services such as the AC Nielsen Company. Data from these sources are called secondary because these organizations collect original data; analyze and tabulate these data, but then publish only summary tables and charts.
Sources of Marketing Management Information:
Internal to firm>
Sales and costs broken down by products, markets, and types of marketing activities (advertising, promotion, personal selling, etc)
External to firm:
Primary sources: Consumers, Retailers and wholesalers and other business forms. Secondary sources: Government publications, Trade association publications, Commercial services and other publications.
Users of such data are limited to what is presented in the summary tables and charts; the original data are not available to them. As secondary data typically are compiled for some general audience not just for a specific manager it is unlikely that their form and content will perfectly satisfy a specific manager’s information needs.
Primary data are those collected specifically by, or for, data users. There is no intervening party it summarize the original data. As the original data from each unit or respondent are available, they can be re-tabulated or re-analyzed in as many different ways as managers choose. Most important however is that the data collected are specified in advance by managers who will use the data; this assures managers that the data will be tailored to their needs.
Frequently, managers’ needs will result in the use of information from both external and internal sources. For example, in the last phase of the administrative process, managers may use information similar to that in Table. The top portion of that table is derived from internal sales and accounting data, while the total dollar retail market and media efficiencies are from secondary sources. The share of market and percent distribution may be derived from either primary or secondary sources. In addition, if both brand awareness and attitude and preferences data are used, they will be primary data. In effect, there may be numerous management information needs that can be satisfied only by a systematic integration of eternal primary and secondary data with the firm’s internal data.
Marketing research is a growing and widely used business activity because sellers need to know more about their final consumers but typically are widely separated from those consumers. According to empirical studies, the vast majority of companies engage in advertising research product research forecasting research and research to measure the size and characteristics of their markets. Marketing research is also used throughout all four phases of the administrative process’ selecting strategies developing marketing plans, putting the plans into action, and evaluating their effectiveness. Some companies are now beginning to coordinate and integrate their marketing research activities into marketing information systems designed provides managers the information they need for recurring problems and decisions.