- Describe the external marketing environment in which businesses operate.
- Discuss the factors that influence consumer behavior.
By and large, managers can control the four Ps of the marketing mix: they can decide which products to offer, what prices to charge for them, how to distribute them, and how to reach target audiences. Unfortunately, there are other forces at work in the marketing world—forces over which marketers have much less control. These forces make up a company’s external marketing environment, which, as you can see in Figure 9.14 “The Marketing Environment”, we can divide into five sets of factors:
- Political and regulatory
- Social and cultural
These factors—and changes in them—present both threats and opportunities that require shifts in marketing plans. To spot trends and other signals that conditions may be in flux, marketers must continually monitor the environment in which their companies operate. To get a better idea of how they affect a firm’s marketing activities, let’s look at each of the five areas of the external environment.