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Analysing the marketing environment
No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. To understand the environment in which the business operates is a major task of a product manager. Efficient and effective marketing strategy formulation depends upon it.
The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that function or control a company's performance in its chosen target market.
Jain (1981:69) defined the marketing environment to include all those factors that may affect the organization directly or indirectly in any perceptible way. Marketing environment factors affects the organization by the way of input and the organizations also affect the environment by output. The relationship between the organization and the marketing environment is often referred to as "inseparable" the organization and its environment are constantly in a state of: give and take" or homeostasis.
The marketing environment consists of two major components.
Internal environment: the internal environment consists of the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables.
External environment: the external environment consists of the uncontrollable variables. As the marketing manager cannot directly control any of these elements, these are called uncontrollable variables. The marketing manager has to adapt to the environment by prompt observation, analysis and forecasting of these environmental factors. The external environment can further be divided into two components, the micro environment and the macro environment.
(The Marketing Environment--市场环境
By Robert W Mccormack)
The microenvironment includes the forces in the firm's immediate environment and affects the firm's ability to serve its customers. It includes the company itself, its suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customer markets, competitors, and publics.
The company facet of microenvironment refers to the internal environment of the company. This includes all departments, such as management, finance, research and development, purchasing, operations and accounting. Each of these departments has an impact on marketing decisions. For example, research and development have input as to the features a product can perform and accounting approves the financial side of marketing plans and budgets.
Another important aspect of the microenvironment is the suppliers of a company because even the slightest delay in receiving supplies can result in customer dissatisfaction. Supply availability and other trends dealing with suppliers are critical for a marketing manager to ensure that product will be delivered to customers in the time frame essential in order to maintain a strong customer relationship.
Marketing intermediaries includes resellers, physical distribution firms, marketing services agencies, and financial intermediaries. These are important because they help the company promote, sell, and distribute its products to ultimate buyers. Resellers are those that hold and sell the company's product. They play the part of distributing the products to the customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. Physical distribution firms are warehouses that store and transport the company's product from its source to its destination. Marketing services agencies are companies that offer services such as conducting marketing research, advertising, and consulting. Financial intermediaries are institutions such as banks, credit companies and insurance companies.
Another aspect of microenvironment is the customers. There are different types of customer markets including consumer markets, business markets, government markets, international markets, and reseller markets. The consumer market is made up of individuals who buy goods and services for their own personal use or use in their household. Business markets include those that buy goods and services for use in producing their own products to sell. The government market consists of government agencies that buy goods to produce public services or transfer goods to others who need them. International markets include buyers in other countries.
Another important factor in the microenvironment is competitors. These are companies with similar offerings for goods and services. To remain competitive, a company should develop a strategic advantage over their competitors.
The final aspect of the microenvironment is publics. Public is any group that has a concern in or force on the organization's ability to meet its goals. For example, financial publics affect a company's ability to obtain funds considering the level of credit a company has. Media publics include newspapers and magazines that can publish articles of interest regarding the company and editorials that may influence customers' opinions. Government publics can affect the company by passing legislation and laws that put restrictions on the company's actions. Citizen-action publics include environmental groups and minority groups and can question the actions of a company and put them in the public spotlight. Local publics are neighborhood and community organizations and will also question a company's impact on the local area and the level of responsibility of their actions. The general public can greatly affect the company as any change in their attitude, whether positive or negative, can cause sales to go up or down because the general public is often the company's customer base. And finally, the internal publics include all those who are employed within the company and deal with the organization and construction of the company's product.
The macro environment includes all forces of the larger society and affects the microenvironment. It includes concepts such as , natural forces, technology, politics, and culture.
Demography is the study of human populations in terms of size, density, location, age, gender, race, and occupation. As it helps to divide the population into market segments and target markets, it is very important factor to study for marketers. For example, classifying groups of people according to their date of birth. These classifications can be referred to as baby boomers, who are born between 1946 and 1964, generation X, who are born between 1965 and 1976, and generation Y, who are born between 1977 and 1994. Each of these classifications has different characteristics and causes which are important to marketers. This can be beneficial to a marketer as they can decide who their product would benefit most and tailor their marketing plan to attract that segment. Demography covers many aspects that are important to marketers including family dynamics, geographic shifts, work force changes, and levels of diversity in any given area.
Another aspect of the macroenvironment is the economic environment. This refers to the purchasing power of potential customers and the ways in which people spend their money. Within this area are two different economies, subsistence and industrialized. Subsistence economies are based more in agriculture and consume their own industrial output. Industrial economies have markets that are diverse and carry many different types of goods. Each is important to the marketer because each has a highly different spending pattern as well as different distribution of wealth.
The natural environment is another important factor of the macroenvironment. This includes the natural resources that a company uses as inputs and affects their marketing activities. The concern in this area is the increased pollution, shortages of raw materials and increased governmental intervention. As raw materials become increasingly scarcer, the ability to create a company's product gets much harder. Also, pollution can go as far as negatively affecting a company's reputation if they are known for damaging the environment. The last concern, government intervention can make it increasingly harder for a company to fulfill their goals as requirements get more stringent.
The technological environment is perhaps one of the fastest changing factors in the macroenvironment. This includes all developments from antibiotics and surgery to nuclear missiles and chemical weapons to automobiles and credit cards. As these markets develop it can create new markets and new uses for products. It also requires a company to stay ahead of others and update their own technology as it becomes outdated. They must stay informed of trends so they can be part of the next big thing, rather than becoming outdated and suffering the consequences financially.
The political environment includes all laws, government agencies, and groups that influence or limit other organizations and individuals within a society. It is important for marketers to be aware of these restrictions as they can be complex. Some products are regulated by both state and federal laws. There are even restrictions for some products as to who the target market may be, for example, cigarettes should not be marketed to younger children. There are also many restrictions on subliminal messages and monopolies. As laws and regulations change often, this is a very important aspect for a marketer to monitor.
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