By Gerrit H. van Bruggen, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org | Berend Wierenga, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, email@example.com
Marketing management support systems (MMSS) are computer-enabled devices that help marketers to make better decisions. Marketing processes can be quite complex, involving large numbers of variables and mostly outcomes are the results of the actions of many different stakeholders (e.g., the company itself, its customers, its competitors). Moreover, a large number of interdependencies exist between the relevant variables and the outcomes of marketing actions are subject to major uncertainties. Given the complexities of the market place, marketing management support systems are useful tools to help the marketing decision makers carry out their jobs. Marketing management support systems can only be effective when they are optimally geared toward their users. We, therefore, deal with decision making in marketing (which generates the need for marketing management support systems). We discuss how marketing decisions are made, how they should be made, and the relative roles of analytical versus intuitive cognitive processes in marketing decision making. We also discuss the match between marketing problem-solving modes and the various types of marketing management support systems. Finally we discuss how the impact of MMSS can be improved. This is important, given the current under-utilization of MMSS in practice. We discuss the conditions for the successful implementation and effective use of marketing management support systems. The issue ends with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges for marketing management support systems as we foresee them.
Marketing Decision Making and Decision Support addresses the topic of marketing management support systems (MMSS), which are computer-enabled devices that help marketers to make better decisions. Marketing management support systems enhance the decision making capabilities of marketers, by improving their efficiency and their effectiveness. A marketing management support system can perform different roles. It can act as a data repository, which is a device that monitors events and provides information about these events to decision makers in such a way that they can easily use it. A more sophisticated MMSS can help detecting cause-effect relationships between events in the market place. An even more sophisticated MMSS can consider alternative marketing actions and predict the outcomes of these actions. Finally, an MMSS reaches the highest level of sophistication and functionality when it answers the "what should happen?" questions like "Should we introduce this new product?" or "Should we increase our advertising budget with 50% in order to realize our profit target?" Relative to other management areas such as finance and operations management, marketing is a domain where human experience and expertise have always played an important role. Many marketing processes are weakly structured and require a good deal of human judgment. The authors discuss in detail how the combination of the marketing decision maker and MMSS improves the performance of marketing decision makers.