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What Is a Marketing Decision Support System?

A marketing decision support system, often abbreviated as MKDSS, is a system that helps you reach a decision based on your organization’s marketing goals.

Marketing is complex, so anything that can streamline your efforts and give you a helping hand is worthy of consideration. An MKDSS is just that; it’s a system that takes historical data and allows you to play out various scenarios in order to see which approach might be most effective.

Not every marketing plan bears fruit, after all, so basing your decisions on data is a smart way to boost your chances of success.

Just as the marketing mix has been around for many years, so has the concept of the MKDSS, which has its origins in the 1970s.

Your average DSS (decision support system) can come in various forms and can serve many functions — from database management to creating data-based graphs and reports.

Under the hood of every DSS, you’ll find organizational data, a mathematical model, packaged within a clean user interface or dashboard that allows you to view the relevant data at glance.

Examples of a marketing decision support system

In terms of marketing decision support system examples, there’s the ERS dashboard which allows users to customize and track KPIs and Business Intelligence (BI) systems that use queries and data to generate useful marketing insights.

A DSS doesn’t necessarily have to rely on the processing power of a computer, though.

In fact, there are several manual DSS systems that have been around in business for a long time. The most popular is the classic SWOT analysis, which has you break down the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each move you make.

Some of the best decision support systems in life are surprisingly simple. 

Take GPS, for instance, which relies on analyzing multiple travel routes to determine which route is best for the driver. These days, the basic DSS behind GPS has evolved into something much more elegant, capable of factoring in live information about traffic and road blockages to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.

The DSS is commonplace in the health industry, too.

Many hospitals turn to DSS software to correctly diagnose illness, showing how much trust is placed in these decision support systems.

In the field of marketing, you’re most likely to find DSS systems that provide information about KPI (Key Performance Indicators), such as sales figures and turnover. Using historical data like this can influence and inform your marketing decisions going forward.