To spot important opportunities and potential problems, marketing managers rely on internal reports of orders, sales, prices, costs, inventory levels, receivables, and payables.
(1) The Order-to-Payment Cycle
The heart of the internal records system is the order-to-payment cycle. Sales representatives, dealers, and customers send orders to the firm. The sales department prepares invoices, transmits copies to various departments, and back-orders out-of-stock items. Shipped items generate shipping and billing documents that go to various departments. Because customers favor firms that can promise timely delivery, companies need to perform these steps quickly and accurately.
(2) Sales Information Systems
Marketing managers need timely and accurate reports on current sales. Companies that make good use of “cookies,” records of Web site usage stored on personal browsers, are smart users of targeted marketing. Many consumers are happy to cooperate: Not only do they not delete cookies, but they also expect customized marketing appeals and deals once they accept them. Marketers must carefully interpret sales data, however, to avoid drawing wrong conclusions.
(3) Databases, Data Warehousing, and Data Mining The explosion of data brought by the maturation of the Internet and mobile technology gives companies unprecedented opportunities to engage their customers. It also threatens to overwhelm decision-makers