What Is Marketing Information Management?

By Joe Weller | November 30, 2017 (updated March 22, 2023)

Marketing information can drive business success, product development, marketing strategies, and continued business improvement — but only if it’s accurate and insightful.

The data needed to successfully run and improve a business can be overwhelming, but incorporating marketing information management into a company’s crucial processes can help keep this data manageable. In fact, a true marketing information system manages data on both internal and external factors, ensuring you make growth decisions based on up-to-date insights. 

Even with a management platform, data information systems can be tricky, so we created this in-depth guide to explain the benefits and challenges of marketing information management and the steps to creating a marketing information system.

What Is Marketing Information Management?

Marketing information management refers to the act of compiling, organizing, storing, analyzing, and reporting analytics based on marketing information and data. Marketers can compile this  from data studies, sales numbers, campaign results, marketing research, and other types of data projects.

Information management of marketing data keeps facts and statistics organized, which can help determine strategy plans, business decisions, and other company-wide settlements. If you leave marketing information unmanaged, it can be more harmful than beneficial.

Computer with data graphics and written definition of marketing information management

What Is a Marketing Information System?

A marketing information system is the ideal approach for marketing information management. In short, this system is responsible for keeping your marketing information organized and actionable.

These systems are enabled by developments in the broader field of management information systems (MIS), which allow marketers and other business partners to gather large volumes of data and analyze it with sophisticated analytical tools. Additionally, this system provides companies with a numerary basis for decisions.

Why Is Marketing Information Management Important?

Marketing information management decreases the chance of skewed data and uninformed decisions. Because marketing data frequently covers a variety of topics — customer demographics, competitor analysis, campaign analysis, etc. — it can be easy to confuse data points, leading to overspending and incorrect forecasts.

Investing in a marketing information management system can lower the possibility of negative effects, which increases a company’s possibility for growth.

What Is Marketing Information?

Marketing information is data that companies can track, organize, and analyze. There are three main types of marketing information: internal data, competitive intelligence, and marketing research.

Internal Data

Internal data refers to the information that comes from within a company, such as sales records, inventories, and product costs. This type of information can provide valuable insights into company capabilities and product success.

Competitive Intelligence

Competitive intelligence — also known as marketing intelligence — refers to external insights from third-party sources, such as trade journals or industry associations. This intelligence enables companies to better understand the landscape of their individual sector as well as competitive forces at work.

Marketing Research

Marketing research refers to project-based research that seeks to answer specific marketing questions. This type of research provides insights into the broader marketing information framework and is a powerful tool when combined with internal and external data.

Icons that illustrate and define marketing information, including internal data, competitive intelligence, and marketing research.

Marketing Information Management: 7 Benefits

There are many different ways that marketing information management systems can benefit companies. Seven key benefits of information management include ensuring better business understanding, design and product insights, internal team guidance, enhanced data access, emergency preparedness, improved lead conversions, and expanded sales and profits.

1. Increased Business Understanding

Marketing campaign tracking systems can often be inadequate or have limited effectiveness when taken in isolation. Using a marketing information management system can help companies avoid problems caused by inadequate campaign tracking systems and gain a better understanding of the following elements:

  • Customers: A marketing information system can track customer demographics, attitudes, behavior, buying cycles, taste profiles, brand recognition, and product approval.
  • Markets: Marketing intelligence included in marketing information systems provides insight into market niches, industries, and competitive landscapes, which can help you size your market and predict growth trends for your business.
  • Statistics and Developments: Other outside forces that can be tracked through marketing information systems include regulatory and legal risks, privacy and data collection, product regulations and updates, trade policies, and new developments.

2. Design and Product Insights

A robust marketing information system can develop invaluable insights for product marketing teams. Then, you can use this sector and competitive information — along with consumer research — to drive the process of analyzing your competitive niche, setting product positioning, messaging, pricing, and determining your product’s value proposition. When you include insights regarding your sales trends and company capabilities, you have a solid foundation for developing ideas for new products, features, packaging, and delivery.

3. Internal Team Guidance

A marketing information system can provide valuable guidance for many parts of your organization. Teams that will benefit from marketing information management include the following:

  • Marketing teams: This group is the initial beneficiary of a marketing information system. Marketing teams can use it these systems to develop product messaging and positioning, generate ideas and track success for specific campaigns, determine the right marketing mix based on what’s succeeding and what’s already being used within the industry, and ensure they base decisions on a strong understanding of return on investment (ROI).
  • Customer-facing teams: Sales and account teams can benefit from a better understanding of the competitive landscapes and customer needs, so they which can speed up the sales cycle and win more customers produce better customer service, and provide ongoing support throughout the customer relationship management (CRM) cycle.
  • Financial teams: A marketing information system can help drive the integration of accounting systems into the broader business. The internal data can help manage product inventory and distribution, track and manage customer churn, and analyze profit margins and drivers.
  • Company-wide teams: Throughout the organization, marketing information systems can ensure managers have a strong understanding of their sector and business by providing broad inputs into strategy development. Companies can also use a marketing information system to understand which parts of the business are supporting the bottom line or contributing the most resources toward growth.

4. Enhanced Data Access

Storing essential data and making it easy to access is a core aspect of any marketing information system, granting members across a company data access and credentials while allowing them to easily access their an organization’s marketing information.

5. Emergency Preparedness

With their extensive external data inputs, these systems can help keep you and your organization prepared for industry and competitor changes. They can also help you maintain solid control over your marketing systems, so you can spend marketing budgets wisely and minimize risk.

6. Improved Lead Conversions

Marketing information management systems are responsible for organizing and maintaining customer data and insights. Marketing teams can use this data to create targeted marketing campaigns based on up-to-date information, which leads to better lead generation and customer conversion rates.

7. Expanded Sales and Profits

Marketing information management systems can also help improve your bottom line. By providing a solid analytical basis for everything from product development and marketing initiatives to customer relationship management, they can help control your costs and make decisions concerning products clients want to buy.

5 Common Challenges of Marketing Information Management

Of course, nothing is perfect, and marketing information systems are no exception. These are the most common challenges of marketing information management:

  1. Data and Security Risks: Data security is always a critical concern when sensitive information is being collected. Customer information can play a significant role in marketing information systems, which can lead to equally significant security risks like hacked systems and breaches.
  2. Lack of Resources: Creating a comprehensive marketing information system can require more money, time, and expertise than many companies have to spare. Additionally, management systems may need future repairs and updates, which adds cost and resource needs.
  3. Maintaining Clean Data: Internal systems may capture incorrect information, be unable coordinate or connect with each other, not update often enough, or lag behind the current competitive landscape.
  4. Ethical and Legal Issues: The collection of detailed information about a customer’s location, movements, shopping history, social media presence, behavior, and attitudes could overstep collection boundaries for many customers. Government regulations do exist to protect consumers against invasions of privacy, and companies would be well advised to avoid breaching those regulations.
  5. Human Error: As with any system run and regulated by humans, human error is a potential challenge. Incorrect data collection, entering, and reports created and distributed by humans could negatively impact the actions of a company.

6 Steps to Create a Marketing Information Management Strategy

Once you’ve weighed the benefits, risks, and resource needs, you’re ready to get started setting up your own marketing information system. The basic steps are fairly simple but can be more complex — and time-consuming — than they may look, so make sure to plan accordingly.

1. Goal Analysis

There are a lot of different potential functions a marketing information system can include, so plan for success by establishing clear goals at the beginning. These goals will help you decide what data to include within your system.

Here are a few goal examples your company could agree upon during this step:

  • Campaign management and tracking
  • Target market data gathering
  • Corporation data tracking
  • Competitor tracking
  • Product success

2. Metrics Analysis

Once you’ve established your goals, you can move on to determining what data points you will include in your marketing information system. There are a broad number of different internal and external inputs you may want to consider.

Monitored metrics could include the following:

  • Ad clicks
  • Return on investments (ROI)
  • Lead generations and conversions
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Follower growth

…or other key performance indicators (KPIs).

For campaign tracking, you may be more focused on internal metrics. For product design and strategy initiatives, external inputs may matter more.

3. Data Management Plan Setting

After you’ve identified your goals and the metrics you want to track, you need to decide how to manage your data. Database management systems can control and protect data during the collection, evaluation, and distribution processes. 

Reevaluate the following components before agreeing to a data management plan:

  • Regulations: Government regulation restricts some data collection and storage. Be aware of these regulations and how your management system handles them.
  • Storage: Determine what type of storage system your company wants to use. Different databases and software store data differently.
  • Security: Data security measures are important for companies collecting customer data. Invest in additional built-in security.
  • Reports: Consider how and when you want to receive data reports, as well as who has access to them.
  • Access: Data management plans identify who has access to marketing data and can provide unique credentials for identified individuals.

4. Department Coordination

Once you know what data will be available to you and how it will be managed, you can move on to identify how this data will fit into your processes and team operations. Determine who will be responsible for maintaining and using the data and what decisions will be supported by the data.

5. Tool Identification

Identify what marketing decision support tools you want to use. There are many variables here based on the amount and type of data you are dealing with.

Below are some different types of data management tools:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Databases
  • Graphs
  • Marketing information management software

For simpler systems, spreadsheets may be enough. Others may need more extensive data visualization tools, dashboards, or other types of decision support. You may need a skilled IT resource to assist you with this process.

6. Implementation and Deployment

Implementation will include collecting all the data you need for the system, ensuring how it will work together, and then integrating it into your tools. In order to be successful, carve out plenty of time for testing, QA, and user training. Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be ready for launch.

Steps on creating a marketing information management strategy, including goal analysis and data management

Improve Marketing Information Management with Smartsheet for Marketing

The best marketing teams know the importance of effective campaign management, consistent creative operations, and powerful event logistics -- and Smartsheet helps you deliver on all three so you can be more effective and achieve more. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.


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