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Application of marketing decision support systems to brand management practices aiming to enhance the ability of brand managers to take strategic decision

Proposal for PhD Thesis

April, 2018

PhD Candidate - Valentina Caruso

PhD Supervisor – Dr. Tyge Kummer

Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics

Griffith University

CONTENTS

1. Introduction………………………………………………...…………..p.3

2. Problem Statement……………………………………...………………p.3

3. Objectives…………………………………………………..…………..p.4

4. Preliminary Literature Review………………………………..………..p. 5

5. Methodology……………………………………………...…………….p.5

6. References…………………………………………………..………….p.6

Application of marketing decision support systems to brand management practices aiming to enhance the ability of brand managers to take strategic decision

1. Introduction

Marketing decision support systems (MDSS) can be adopted by managers in finding a solution to multi-level decision problems related to brand management such as information sharing, price strategy and firm performance. The research is combining methods, frameworks, theories and software to identify a structured decision support system targeting brand managers. Additionally, it is employed diversified research methodology, with both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection for data analysis. The use of structured questionnaires and multiple case studies is adopted in eliciting knowledge from industry practitioners using a snow-balling technique. An inductive and deductive approach is adopted in developing a strategic decision support system capable of bridging existing knowledge gap(s) among industry practitioners operating in marketing. The potential readers of this research are brand managers and marketing professionals that use MDSS software to solve their decision problems. This research contributes to the body of knowledge in decision support systems applied to brand management decisions by exploring the key factors affecting the brand management and developing a strategic decision support system to enhance the success of a brand. It is an academic work that provides vast insight into strategic solutions to marketing problems.

2. Problem Statement

The importance of developing a structured work plan for marketing departments has been recognized by different industries. In fact, different marketing departments are experiencing a deterioration in empowerment transforming brand managers in administrators that lack of power, responsibility and strategic input (Abrahams, 2016:10).

Today's marketing projects are becoming more and more technically challenging due to the advances in technologies and social media. This require a new set of skills for marketing managers, especially awareness of new technologies. Information technology (IT) broadcast in real time market knowledge outside the marketing department. For this reason, IT or Knowledge Management specialists may have more control of marketing information compared to the marketing department itself as the brand mangers lack of skills to collect and evaluate data available online.

In the past brand managers created the meaning of a brand and consumers were passive receivers of meaning. Managers perceived that in order to make a brand popular was needed investing in communication, market research and marketing. However, in the current market this is not anymore applicable because technologies are exponentially increasing the consumers power that demands higher brand interaction through social media and multisensory brand experiences. Therefore, brand managers should be more aware of IT trends and particularly knowledgeable of MDSS. Also, more decision support systems should be developed to help the marketing departments identifying the needs of their consumers through new research methods.

Second, the traditional marketing methods as market research, decision trees, industry analysis, stochastic models are not enough to model and solve branding issue. Five possible issues that can possibly affect branding research are: lack of systematic theory development, the transference of consumer concepts, the dominance of quantitative research, the lack of longitudinal research, and the focus on single industries (Guzman, 2012).

Generally, brand managers need to create in advance the annual brand plan, usually six months before the start of the new year. During the brand plan are set targets for sales, prices and forecasted profit. Once the year starts the performances are immediately monitored. MDSS can help managers to monitor in real time actual results and take promptly corrective actions in case is needed.

In summary, there is a need for brand managers to update their IT skills to be able to follow the new trends in brand management. Also, managers need a structured approach in identifying and modeling constraints to ensure a constraint-free work plan.

More specifically, the following research questions need to be addressed:

1. What are the typical constraints found in brand management projects?

2. What are the most effective and ineffective tools currently adopted by brand managers to make strategic decisions?

3. The potential of MDSS is fully utilized by brand managers? If not, why?

4. Brand mangers know how to use MDSS or they prefer to follow their experience and skills instead?

5. How MDSS can be more promoted?

By identifying these issues, the author hopes to aid a more rapid advancement in brand management as a discipline and direct future research efforts to MDSS where a greater impact can be made.

3. Objectives

The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework to help brand managers to find the optimal decisions regarding the choice of channel for information sharing.

The purpose of an internal information system is to produce a continuous stream of data which can:

• measure current performance 


• identify the characteristics of current performance 


• establish a baseline for change 


• form a basis for comparison: over time, over an industry, etc. 


• suggest a basis for resource allocation: geographical, profitability, product, etc. 


• indicate trends 


• monitor and track performance 


• signal change 


• provide an early warning detection system 


• form a basis for operating control systems 


• highlight performance problem areas 


• provide information resources 


• indicate areas for further research

(Crouch, 2003:27)


Particularly, this paper is aiming to contribute to the present and future development of branding using MDSS considering the increased power of consumers that using social media can directly interacts with brands. However, brand managers need more training in IT software and a structured decisions support system that can help them taking strategic decisions. IT tools can be the solution to increase consumer engagement and brand loyalty.

The goal of the research is to identify a formalized decision support system and framework in brand management. Brand management is defined herein as the process of identifying, classifying, modeling, and resolving marketing problems. Particularly, the study has the following sub-objectives:

1. To review current industry practices and researches in regard to brand management practices;

2. Adopt a Marketing decision support system (MDSS) to manipulate a collection of data and make management decisions.

3. To outline a standard conceptual framework for brand management

4. Preliminary Literature Review

A preliminary literature review is showing that MDSS has not yet achieved a full potential. It is argued that MDSS developers are not paying enough attention to managerial needs and strategic marketing. On the contrary, developers are more focused on the technological aspects. For this reason, MDSS is less evolved compared to DSS to support decision making. MDSS offer to managers mainly support on data retrieval but less support in the decision-making process (Li and Davies, 2001). This problem could be overcome combining MDSS with advanced artificial intelligence technologies that simulate human reasoning.

MDSS should be considered a valid tool for brand managers and marketing decision makers that can support the quick solution of complex and unstructured problems. The combination of managers intuition, skills, and MDSS can increase the quality of decision making. MDSS is relatively new and young field that will have and increasing important role in the future.

5.   Methodology

The primary research method for this study is literature review and conceptual modeling. This study will first review various types of brand management practices and their characteristics. Secondly, structured questionnaires addressed to brand managers using a snow-ball technique will be adopted to analyze the current practices and issues in brand management.

Subsequently, methods, frameworks, theories and brand management software currently adopted in brand management will be analyzed and compared (Table 1).

METHODS FRAMEWORKS THEORIES BRAND MANAGEMENT SOFTWARES

• based/direct measurement method;

• brand communication investments based method;

• awareness and franchise valuation method;

• finance based/indirect measurement method;

• excess-earnings method and relief-from-royalty method • Conceptual Frameworks

• Results Frameworks

• Logical Frameworks

• Theory of Brand Loyalty

• The Branding Theory

• The Value-based brand Theory

• Marcom Central Enterprise

• Bynder

• Asset Bank

• Widen Collective

• Frontify Enterprise

• Brand 24

• Media Valet

Table 1: Summary of methods, frameworks, theories and brand management software used in brand management

Based on this understanding, a classification method will be developed to categorize the most effective and ineffective brand management techniques for the purpose of identify a decision support model that can address brand manager's needs. Finally, once the techniques are identified, a conceptual framework for brand management will be outlined.

The result of this study will be valuable to the marketing sector as well as related brand management software providers in developing better practice and tools for brand management and marketing.

6. References

Guzman, F, 2012. Price strategy, information sharing, and firm performance in a market channel with a dominant retailer. Journal of Product & Brand Management, Volume 21 Number 6, 475.

Abrahams, D., 2016. Brand Risk: Adding Literacy to Brand Management. 2nd ed. New York: Rutledge

Crouch, S., 2003. Marketing Research for Managers. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge

Li, Shuliang, and Davies, Barry J. (2001). Key issues in using information systems for strategic marketing decisions. Int. J. Management and Decision Making, 2, 16-34.

The International Brand Valuation Manual

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