Invariably, there is mass marketing information in the company’s own records. In a marketing research investigation, these sources should be tapped first. These data include invoices, salesmen reports, detailed operating statements, departmental budgets and other periodic reports.
These sources are most profitable and can be used as pointers for determining useful line of investigation, i.e., in internal business records, useful leads and clues for research are mostly concentrated.
In most firms the internal data is gathered in such an unorganized manner that there is little knowledge among the organization’s own departments as to the actual types of information being compiled. This lack of awareness regarding information availability leads many researchers to go outside the firm for collecting data which is already available within the company. Almost as great a sin as not knowing what information exists in the firm is passing up opportunities to obtain additional potentially useful information. There is growing awareness that greater interdepartmental co-operation is needed in order to get maximum benefits from internal data. This is done by developing some appropriate information system.
A typical information system for internal data in an organization can be a central agency within the firm responsible for accumulation and dissemination of all the data pertinent to individual departments.
The main internal records within an organization can be classified in following categories:
- Sales force records
- Accounting records
- Miscellaneous records
(i) Sales force records: These are found to be rich and untapped sources of marketing research information. These are maintained in accordance with the policy of the organization only, and are preserved by some inexperienced or ordinary assistants. Due to this, sometimes the information degenerates into a mere collection of files.
The usefulness of these records is important for measuring the effect of changes in the marketing policy of the organization. The criteria of maintaining sales records and the exact form in which these are available, varies according to the attitude and requirements of the concerned enterprise. The concept is that record system must be made to fit the business and not the business to fit the records. In general, sales records are maintained in following forms:
- Area wise sales
- Periodic sales records
- Sales records with regard to the type of outlet viz., wholesalers, retailers etc.
- Product wise sales.
- Average size of orders to determine volume of profits.
- Information from different dealers to evaluate the efficiency of sales force and impact of policy change on marketing of the concerned product.
- Information about the complaints received from consumers. The main advantage of sales records is that these can reduce the scope and cost of the external research in an investigation.
(ii) Accounting records: These are found to be most appropriate for the identification and classification of problems. Their chief characteristic is relevance, reliability, accuracy and up to-date maintenance. These are generally kept by trained and competent experts due to government regulations and other legal requirements. It is generally experienced that balance sheet and other financial statements, after analysis disclose the degree of efficiency of various aspects of the business.
(iii) Miscellaneous records: Other useful marketing information is available from earlier marketing research studies, reports, procured from other concerns, invoices etc. The invoices provide valuable information about (i) identification and specification of the customers’ attitude; and (ii) information related to some specific relations. The analysis of miscellaneous records can help the researcher in determining profitable and unprofitable customers, market segments, product lines etc; identification of developing trends; effects of marketing mix manipulations. The quality and importance of this information depends on the approach of the management and the attitude of the reporting channels or agencies. To have relevant, trustworthy, accurate and timely information, it must be adequately stressed by the organizations to the reporting personnel or agencies, and some form of the financial assistance or some other incentives should also be assured.
Learn more about the internal information system of secondary information for marketing research only at the University Canada West.
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