Marketing environment refers to the forces operating outside an organization, which are influential to the organization’s operations either directly or indirectly. This can be either on a macro or micro level. The macro-level of marketing environment consists of factors such as legal, political, technological, societal, regulatory and economic issues (Luck & Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2010). The micro-level marketing environment on the other hand consists of factors that are directly related to the organization, and these include, competition, suppliers and customers. The macro-marketing environmental factors are crucial since they affect the organizations in the market. These forces are summarized with the acronym PEST, while marketers prefer to include two more factors, which are the regulatory and legal factors (Dawson, 1979).
This is also referred to as green marketing and it is the situation whereby companies opt to use environmental friendly marketing strategies. A big percentage of consumers today are more inclined to goods and services that promote good health. The issue of environment conservation is also a crucial one owing to the consequences of environmental degradation being experienced. Many companies have been forced by the market trends to adopt the green marketing trends (Luck & Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2010). This explains why so many companies are trying to convince customers how environment friendly their products are and how much they promote health. This also explains the massive rise of products that are branded as “herbal” in almost all the companies.
A good example of a company that has adopted the green marketing strategy is the BMW Company. They came up with the concept of “recyclability of its cars” in the process of promoting its products (Dillon et al, 1990). The Company indicated that its latest product, the three series is produced with high consideration to the environmental standards and they used manufacturing processes that are eco-friendly. The components used in the production of this car model can be recycled. To ensure that this was possible, they put up their own recycling plant where they would dispose vehicles that have finished their useful life. They were on the frontline in the environmental campaign dubbed “recycling for safety”.
The general economic trends are of great concern to marketers when coming up with marketing strategies since they affect the demand patterns in the market. These trends include recession, purchasing power, patterns of consumer spending and the willingness to spend among others (Luck & Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2010). Other factors under this category include the structure of the market that is whether it is monopolistic, oligopoly or perfect competition as well as the rate of inflation, unemployment, the level of the disposable income, business cycles and the cost and availability of energy.
The gross domestic product determines the market trends in a country. Marketers are therefore faced with the challenge of observing the GDP patterns to ensure that they produce according to the current GDP levels, and the economic performance. For example, companies are expected to adapt to inflation by reducing the cost of production, which will enable them to produce cheap products that are affordable to the consumers. Companies, which operate in a competitive market structure, are more affected by the economic trends compared to the monopoly organizations (Chartered Institute of Marketing, 1994). Consumers tend to shift their choices owing to inflationary pressure and so the Companies are required to come up with measures of ensuring that they adjust to the economic conditions to the customer’s satisfaction.
One of the most successful companies in the establishment of the economic market trends is the Coca cola Company. It is considered the most successful company in maintaining constant price level for its commodities irrespective of the economic conditions (Dawson, 1979). This has enabled the company to acquire the largest market share owing to the stable prices and the unchanging quality of their products.
These include the forces that enable the creation of new market opportunities and products. Examples of technological factors that affect marketing trends are the transformation in communication patterns, internet technology and any other technological factor that influences the production and distribution of products. Research done on marketing trends indicates that technology is one of the most important determinants of the market trends in the modern world because of the following reasons. Technology has made it possible for goods to be produced at a cheaper cost with an improvement in quality and the efficiency in production. Apart from this, it provides organizations with innovative services such as the mobile banking and wireless cash transfer. This has significantly influenced the marketing world since it is now possible to market products across the globe over the internet. It is also possible to make purchases through the same channel hence increasing the scope of the market.
An example of how technology has influenced the marketing trends is the Apple iPhone technology. This enables users to support their high technology applications, which are adjusted to perform a wide range of tasks. Many successful businesses such as the Geico insurance company have adopted the use of iPhone in delivering their services to their customers. This has reduced the queues in the offices and since it is an automatic system, it reduces errors in the accounts. Other companies that have been successful in incorporating their business operations in the mobile devices include CNN and CNBC broadcasting companies, which are able to broadcast live news all over the world using mobile devices
Competition is one of the leading threats to the success of any company. In fact, the reason why marketing is a fundamental aspect in any business is because it puts the company ahead of its competitors. An organization is expected to master the competition trends in the market for them to develop successful counteractive strategies. It is important for marketers to anticipate the actions and reactions of their competitors when making pricing decisions. This is a very sensitive area of marketing since any slight miscalculation can give the competitors an advantage over the company. For example, an organization can decide to attract more customers by lowering its prices and the competitors decide to counteract this move by improving the quality (Oldroyd, 2006). This can lead to a complete loss since the company cannot hike back the prices for fear of losing customers. It is therefore advisable for a company to consider all the possibilities before implementing a competitive policy and for each policy, there should be a provision of what action will be taken if it fails.
An example of competitive strategy in marketing is the adoption online advertising strategies. Most of the companies, which advertise their products online, have a greater competitive advantage compared to the companies that rely on traditional advertising methods. This is because they are able to reach a wide range of customers from all over the world and they tend to incur a lower cost in advertising. This method is used by successful companies such as Microsoft Corporation. They provide information on their new products in the internet immediately they release it and make sure that this information is transmitted to all parts of the world.
These include the regulations imposed by the government agencies on the marketing environment. Most of governments develop policies, which govern commerce in their respective countries. Some of the trends under the regulatory factors include the protection of public companies from competition by the private companies, policies protecting consumers from the unfair business trends imposed on them by producers, and protection of the society’s interest from the uncontrolled commercial behavior (Oldroyd, 2006). The governments mostly concentrate on ensuring that ethical practices are observed and that there is social responsibility on the part of the marketers.
An example of regulatory trends is whereby the government sets price ceilings and price floors for the commodities. Price ceiling ensures that the companies do not offer extremely low prices to win customers as this practice can be detrimental to the economy. Price floors on the other hand ensure that the companies operating as monopoly do not set prices at high levels that are exploitative to the customers. In short, the government works towards protecting both the producers and consumers from exploitation.
Chartered Institute of Marketing. (1994). Marketing trends survey. Great Britain: Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Dawson, J. A. (1979). The marketing environment. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
Dillon, W. R., Madden, T. J., & Firtle, N. H. (1990). Marketing research in a marketing environment. Homewood, IL: Irwin.
Luck, D., & Chartered Institute of Marketing. (2010). Assessing the marketing environment. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Oldroyd, M.. (2006). CIM Coursebook 06/07 Marketing Environment. Burlington: Elsevier.