Chapter 3: Marketing Environment

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to list and describe the environments that surround an organization and influence its strategic decision making
  2. Students will be able to create an environmental scanning list and articulate the difference between and environmental scan and an environmental analysis
  3. Students will be able to create and explain the importance of a SWOT analysis.


Marketing managers are confronted with many environmental concerns, such as those posed by technology, customers, competitors, ethics, law, the economy, politics, demographics, and social trends everyday. These environmental trends can impact every aspect of a marketing plan.. All organizations should continuously appraise their situation and adjust their strategy to adapt to the environment.



A sign that says "Internet Upstairs."

Technology: The commercialization of the Internet has rattled many industries.

One technique used by organizations to monitor the environment is known as environmental scanning. This term refers to activities directed toward discovering and obtaining information about events and trends that occur outside the organization.

In a sense, such data collection scanning acts as an early warning system for the organization. It allows marketers to understand the current state of the environment, so that the organization can predict trends.

Issues are often forerunners of trends. A trend  could be a value shift in society, a technological innovation that might be permanent, or a paradigm change. Issues are less deep-seated and can be “a temporary short-lived reaction to a social phenomenon. ” A trend can be defined as an “environmental phenomenon that has adopted a structural character. ”

A formal but simple strategic information scanning system can enhance the effectiveness of the organization’s environmental scanning efforts. An information system (part of marketing research) organizes the scanning effort so that information related to specific situations can be more readily obtained and used.

As will be discussed shortly, a scan is different than an analysis. A scan identifies trends. An analysis will assess if a trend can have any impact on an organization’s strategic plan.


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