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The Dynamic Marketing Environment

Various environmental forces influence an organization's marketing activities. Some are external to the firm and are largely uncontrollable by the organization. Other forces are within the firm and are generally controllable by management. Successful marketing requires that a company develop and implement marketing programs that take into account its environment. To start with, management should set up a system for environmental monitoring—the process of gathering and evaluating environmental information.

Six broad variables constitute the external environment that generally cannot be controlled by an organization. Demographic factors are one of these macro influences. Another is economic conditions such as the business cycle, inflation, and interest rates. Management also must be aware of the various types of competition and the competitive structure within which its firm operates. Social and cultural forces, such as changes in lifestyles, values, and beliefs, must be taken into account as marketing programs are developed. Four noteworthy sociocultural trends are the greening of America , changing gender roles, a greater premium on time, and added emphasis on physical fitness and health. Political and legal forces, ranging from monetary and fiscal policies to legislation, also affect marketing. As with the other external macroenvironmental influences, technology can present both opportunities and challenges for marketers.

Another set of environmental factors—suppliers, marketing intermediaries, and the market itself—is also external to the firm. But these forces can be controlled to some extent by the firm. Although all three of these external forces are generally uncontrollable, they can be influenced in some situations. As such, these micro environmental forces are different from macro environmental forces such as economic conditions and technology.

At the same time, a set of nonmarketing resources within the firm—production facilities, personnel, finances, location, research and development, and company image—affects its marketing effort. These variables generally are controllable by management.


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