The External Marketing Environment
The microenvironment can be separated into an internal environment and an external environment. The internal environment may include the organizations management structure, as well as its employees. The external environment is composed of suppliers, customers, competitors and the marketing intermediates. I would also include employee’s families, since they may bare an effect on scheduling, benefits and may even receive discounts through employees.
An organization is affected by its microenvironment as well as by its macro environment. The characteristics of the organization’s microenvironment affect its ability to deliver great service to its customers. The macro environment controls the societal forces which determine the opportunities and possible threats facing an organization.
According to our textbook, marketing researchers do not complain about the lack of information; however the quality and usage needs improvement. “They don’t need more information, they need better information. And they need to make better use of the information they already have. Says another marketing information expert, “transforming today’s vast, ever-increasing volume of consumer information into actionable marketing insights …is the number-one challenge for digital-age marketers” (Armstrong & Kotler).
So-called “customer insight teams”, headed by highly trained and motivated individuals, collect market and customer information from a variety of sources, to create a better value for the organization’s customer based. However, market researchers ought to be careful to let customer insights control their marketing strategies. A Marketing information system helps to validate collected information and make decisions based on complete research.
The marketing research process has four steps problem and research objectives, developing the research plan, research plan, and interpreting and reporting the findings.
1. Defining the problem and research objectives
2. Developing the research plan for collecting information
3. Implementing the research plan–collecting and analyzing the data
4. Interpreting and reporting the findings
Step 1 is known to be the most difficult yet most important step since it lays the ground stone for the research process. It would be a disaster to have found out that the wrong or distorted information had been collected, analyzed and maybe even used! Descriptive and causal researches are the two fundamental ways of marketing research. Descriptive research is used to better describe marketing problems, situations, markets, such as the market potential for a product or the demographics attitudes of consumers. Through conducting causal research market researchers and managers can” test hypotheses about cause-and-effect relationships. Pointing out the problem and developing a plan of attack guides the entire research process.
In step 2, collected information is presented and an outline is drawn to determine research approaches, contact methods and sampling plans. Specific information as to demographics, life-styles and economic situation of customers and potential customers should be collected and analyzed to draw a complete picture of the organization’s market niche. Suppliers’ and retailers’ reactions to product lines need to be taken into account as well. A written proposal should include primary and secondary data. Primary data includes specific information gathered for the project at hand, and secondary data is pre-existing date which had been collected for a different purpose prior to the project.
Step 3 asks to put the research into action by collecting, processing and analyzing the data. Accuracy and completeness are of top priority to avoid mistakes. In step 4 market researchers interpret the findings, draw conclusions, and report them to management. It is important to not overwhelm with statistics and unnecessary info. Managers and researchers must work together closely when interpreting research results, and both must share responsibility for the research process and resulting decisions.
In summary, organizations are well advised to carefully research and analyze data collected from various sources. Working together, managers and researchers can build a powerful marketing team which can carry an organization to great health and prosperity, simply by knowing who and how to serve!