Role played by marketing information and the methods of operating a marketing information system are a prelude to Market control and beyond. The use of marketing information for controlling the marketing program will be worthwhile to elaborate here the role of marketing information in marketing control.
Timely and relevant and marketing information facilitates the timely identification of variances between targets and achievements in respect of sales volume, market coverage and market share. It also throws light on market standing, advertising and personal selling effectiveness, and channel and physical distribution effectiveness.
While using marketing information for marketing control, however it is essential that control information, planning information and general purpose statistics are properly distinguished from one another out of the various marketing information outputs. Only then, can marketing information be used as an effective control tool. The following are samples of marketing information that can be used for control purpose.
1. Information on marketing goals/targets
2. Information on actual marketing performance
3. Information on emerging opportunities
4. Information on impending threats.
At times, essential control information is left out and the available information is inadequate for control; at times, the information lacks clarity, or there is a mix up of vital information and trivial information; in some other cases, the information is not related properly â€“ it is disjointed; in some cases, the information is not timely for effective control. The firm should avoid these pitfalls if MIS has to become the support for marketing control.
By instituting proper procedures for information flow and by pinpointing the specific role of MIS in the matter of control the problems described above can be overcome. The firm must appreciate that the control system is essentially an information system, or more precisely a cybernetics system, consisting of information flows and mechanisms for corrective action.
In recent years, the marketing controller idea has taken roots in marketing management. While marketing managers, by whatever names they were designated, have always practiced some kind of marketing control. The idea of viewing the chief of marketing ad, essentially a controller of the marketing effort as one who provides to the rest of the marketing staff a framework and blueprint for controlling marketing operations, is a relatively recent one. The marketing controllerâ€™s main job is to compare the achieved results with the planned results, and to make things happen in such a way that the firm is taken towards the planned results.
Compared to the marketing manager, the marketing controller is expected to have greater appreciation of the role of financial controls in marketing management and be more conversant with the application of such controls in the various functional areas of marketing. He must have a flair for cost analysis and profitability in each function/entity of marketing.
The marketing controller must secure all the relevant information through the right type of information flows and reporting systems. He should also be able to readily distinguish the controllable from the uncontrollable. Again, it is he who should decide the levels at which the different controls should take place, the positions that will exercise the different controls and the standards and parameters to be used for comparison. Finally, the marketing controller must combine the mechanical processes of control and managerial judgment in his control function.
Marketing controls and financial controls are inseparable from one another, since marketing and finance have the joint responsibility for ensuring the profitability of the enterprise. As such, integration of marketing and financial control tools is essential for meaningful and effective marketing control. The accounting system should be capable of organizing the various marketing expenditures into suitable groups based on functions and allocating these functional costs over the relevant marketing entities. Finance and marketing should travel hand in hand and assume joint responsibility for marketing control. Whether it is credit control, or bad debts analysis or contribution margin analysis or marketing cost analysis, successful application of control will need joint efforts of finance and marketing.