Marketing managers can effectively monitor changes in the marketing environment using marketing intelligence system.

A marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain their everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment”.

Managers scan the environment in four ways:

  • Undirected viewing: General exposure to information where the manager has no specific purpose in mind.

  • Conditional viewing: Directed exposure, not involving active search, to a more or less cleanly identified area or type of information.

  • Informed Search: A relatively limited and unstructured effort to obtain specific information or information for a specific purpose.

  • Formal Search: A deliberate effort usually following a pre-established plan, procedure or methodology – to secure specific information or information relatively to a specific issue.

Marketing Managers carry on marketing intelligence mostly on their own by reading books, newspapers and trade publications, talking to customers, suppliers, distributors and other outsiders and talking with other managers within the company. Well-run companies take additional steps to improve the quality and quantity of marketing intelligence. First, they train and motivate the sales force to spot and report new developments. Sales representatives are the company’s ‘eye and ears’. They are in an excellent position to pick up information missed by other means. Secondly, the company motivates distributors, retailers and other middlemen to pass along important intelligence. Some companies appoint specialists to gather marketing intelligence. They send out “Ghost Shoppers” to monitor the presentations of retail personnel. Much can be learned about competitors through purchasing their products, attending open houses and trade shows, reading competitor’s published reports and attending stock holders meeting; talking to their former employees and present employees, dealers, distributors, suppliers and freight agents collecting competitors’ ads.

Thirdly, the company purchases information from outside suppliers such as NRS (National Readership Survey Report) etc. These research firms can gather store and consumer-panel data at much less cost than it each company carried out its own panel operations.

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