The first definition of marketing information systems was presented by Cox and Good (1967) who referred to them as a group of procedures and methods for the planned analysis and the presentation of information to be used in marketing decision making. Later, this definition was extended by several authors such as Brien and Stafford (1968), Proctor (1991), Talvinen (1995), Burns and Bush (1995), and Kotler (1991, 2003), among others.
Thus, Proctor (1991) defined the MKIS as a system that examines and collects data from the environment; that uses data for the operations and transactions within the company, and that filters, organizes, and selects data to present them for business purposes. According to Kotler (2003) and Bums and Bush (1995) defined the MKIS as a consistent system of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, classify, analyze, evaluate, and distribute the necessary, timely, and precise information needed for decision making.
For Talvinen (1995), the marketing information systems are a fundamental part of the company information systems portfolio that aids the direction of the managerial process, especially the marketing process. Jobber (2007) defines it as a "system in which marketing data is formally gathered, stored, analyzed and distributed to managers in accordance with their informational needs on a regular basis. " Kotler, et al. (2006) define it more broadly as "people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers. A formal MkIS can be of great benefit to any organization whether profit making or nonprofit making, no matter what its size or the level of managerial finesse. It is true today that in many organization an MkIS is integrated as part of a computerized system. To manage a business well is to manage its future and this means that management of information, in the form of a companywide “Management Information System" (MUS) of which the MkIS is an integral part, is an indispensable resource to be carefully managed just like any other resource that the organization may have e. . human resources, productive resources, transport resources and financial resources. Marketing information systems (MKIS) must play a different role from the roles they traditionally performed; that is, they need roles that may guide and support the decisions made at the corporate, functional, and operational levels. Previous research on the application of the MKIS shows that they have been applied mainly to the routine function of marketing rather than the strategic function (Xianzhong, 1999).
Frequently, organizations have utilized these information systems to support the competitive analysis that they themselves conduct and to find out the market conditions, however, they have not developed research that may support the formulation of strategies, or such development has been nonexistent (Main & Marone, 2002). According Zabriskie and Huellmantel (1994) have pointed out that providing competitive information to formulate strategies is the responsibility of the marketing director, with the support of the marketing research department.
However, conceptual and empirical research on marketing information systems has given little attention to the type of information that those in charge of making decisions may consider useful for the performance of their marketing tasks (Ashill & Jobber, 2002). According to Proctor (1991), there is a lot of information, but not of the correct type, and much error; that is, such information is more focused on the operational rather than on the strategic function.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to take into account that the utilization of the MKIS is crucial for the success of an organization and should be an integral part of the strategic planning process (Amaravadi, 1995) since the marketing data base is a vital element for the strategic planning of many companies and often presents challenges in terms of management, marketing and sales (Stone & Shaw, 1987). In the latter half of the 20th century, several authors such as Cox and Good (1967), Kotler (1991, 2003), Proctor (1991), and Talvinen (1995), among others, have presented models for marketing information systems.
Bums and Bush (1995) presented a classification of the marketing information systems similar to that of Kotler's (2003) through a model in which there is an interrelationship between the environment and the MKIS and among these and the managing directors. Talvinen (1995) classified the models presented in two groups determined by the managerial position and the operational-tactical function of those who make the decisions.
In the first group, the basic classifying models of all the authors are presented, and the users are likely to be the senior executives, business strategy units, directors, marketing analysts, and experts. In the second group, the model of Moriarty and Swartz (1989) is found, and its users are likely to be the mid-level executives and sales operations personnel. According to Ansoff, Declerck, and Hayes (1990), the strategic level of a company is in continuous contact with the organizational environment; for Mintzberg and Quinn (1993), strategy is defined in terms of the four p's: plan, pattern, position, and perspective.
Finally, according to Thompson, Strickland, and Gamble (2005), the strategy consists of business competitive movements and approaches that the directing managers employ in order to attract and please clients, compete successfully, make the business grow, conduct operations, and reach set goals. At the turn of the 21st century, researchers paid increased interest in the marketing information systems that are required by those in charge of making decisions (Amaravadi, 1995; Ashill & Jobber, 2002; Talvinen, 1995).
However, little has been studied regarding the marketing information systems and the formulation of strategies at different levels. Research studies have centered upon general aspects of the formulation process and strategy implementation (Ashill, Frederikson, & Davies, 2003; McCarthy & Leavy, 2000; Varadarajan & Jayachandran, 1999; White, Conant, & Echambadi, 2003) rather than on specific aspects such as the information systems that the organizations require in order to formulate strategies (Proctor, 1991).
However, it is necessary to consider that organizations operate at three levels (corporate, business unit, and functional or operational) and reflect, at the same time, three strategy levels (corporate, business unit, and functional or operational). The MKIS range from the strategic to the operational level and require a different type of information on marketing at each level.
This distinction of levels has prompted some authors to study the MKIS and strategy levels (Hair, Bush, & Ortinau, 2003; Talvinen, 1995), as well as the MKIS required at each strategy level (Talvinen, 1995), but the type of marketing information required at each strategy level and for each MKIS has not been studied. Like the application of the marketing activities, the application of the MKIS has also concentrated on the area of productivity and sales administration more than on the strategic area (Hewson & Hewson, 1994; Wilson & McDonald, 1994).
Even though some businesses have used these systems at the strategic level, their use still concentrates on the marketing functions related to the client, such as, for example, direct sales (Xianzhong, 1999). In the face of the existing gap in the literature, and, above all, because there is no classification of the MKIS by strategy level, the information that the managing directors require at each level was classified for each MKIS taking into account the definitions that these systems present (Burns & Bush, 1995; Kotler, 2003; Talvinen, 1995).