No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. Efficient and effective marketing strategy is a function of the marketing manager's ability to understand the environment in which the business operates.
The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that operate or influence 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 it environment are constantly in a state of: give and take" or homeostasis.
The marketing environment consist of those forces or element that impacts on the company's capability to operate effectively in its chosen target market.
The marketing environment is divided into two major components. The elements are,
Internal environment: the internal environment is concerned with the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables. External environment: the external environment is concerned with the uncontrollable variables. These variables are called uncontrollable because the marketing manager cannot directly control any of the elements. The marketing manager is left with the option of adapting 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 elements that fall under the micro environment consist of forces or factors in the firm's immediate environment that affect the firm's capability to perform effectively in the market place. These forces are suppliers, distributors, customers and competitors. Let us discuss each of the variables in details.
Suppliers are business customers who provide goods and services to other business organizations for resale or for productions of other goods. The behavior of certain forces in the suppliers can affect the performance of the buying organization positively or negatively. The critical factors here are the number of suppliers and the volume of suppliers to the industry. An audit of the suppliers will enable us to appreciate their strength and bargaining power, which the suppliers hold over the industry as a whole. The answers to the issues concerned have the potentials to affect the capability of firms in the industry to effectively deliver need-satisfying goods and/ or services. The trend today is that buyers attempt to persuade the supplier to provide exactly what the firms want. This process is known as "reverse marketing".
Customers are those who buy goods and/ or services produced by the company. In a purchase chain, different people play significant roles before a purchase decision is made. The various influences must be understood. The customer may be the consumer of the products where he/she is the user. The critical factor here is that needs and wants of consumers are not static. They are fast changing. The changes in the preferences of the consumer create opportunities and threats in the market. The changes called for the marshaling of separate strategy to either fit into windows of opportunities or survive the threats in the market. A good knowledge of consumers' behavior will facilitate the design and production of goods and services that the customers need and want, and not what they are able to produce.