External Environment Situation Analysis Instructions
You will need to collect information on the major forces which are impacting or are likely to impact your project SBU. You need to gain a feel for this by using secondary sources and your text book. Your text can act as a guide for the major topics impacting the business, the secondary sources provide the information as to the forces which are impacting the business. Use the bullet points below to aid in guiding your research and analysis.
Your search strategy should include using terms such as: industry news trends (place in industry name). You can also use sources that are specifically designed to provide macro trend information. A few examples of macro trend sources were outlined in the discussion. This information is not industry specific, so you would need to make and justify linkages.
Identify the top 2-3 most relevant items related to the criteria below:
- With respect to the firm’s target customers, identify changes in society’s demographics, values, and lifestyles that affect the firm or the industry.
- Explain how these changes are affecting (or may affect) the firm’s products (features, benefits, branding), pricing (value), distribution and supply chain (convenience, efficiency), promotion (message content, delivery, feedback), and people (human resource issues).
- Identify the ethical and social responsibility issues that the firm or industry faces. How do these issues affect the firm’s customers? How are these issues expected to change in the future?
Economic Growth and Stability
- Identify the general economic conditions of the country, region, state, or local area where the firm’s target customers are located. How are these economic conditions related to customers’ ability to purchase the firm’s products?
- Describe the economics of the industry within which the firm operates. These issues might include the cost of raw materials, patents, merger/acquisition trends, sales trends, supply/demand issues, marketing challenges, and industry growth/decline.
- Identify the firm’s major competitors (brand, product, generic, and total budget).
- Identify the characteristics of the firm’s major competitors with respect to size, growth, profitability, target markets, products, and marketing capabilities (production, distribution, promotion, pricing).
- What other major strengths and weaknesses do these competitors possess?
- List any potential future competitors not identified above.
Science and Technological Trends
- How have recent technological advances affected the firm’s customers with respect to needs/wants/preferences, access to information, the timing and location of purchase decisions, the ability to compare competing product offerings, or the ability to conduct transactions more effectively and efficiently?
- Have customers embraced or rejected these technological advances? How is this issue related to customers’ concerns over privacy and security?
- How have recent technological advances affected the firm or the industry with respect to manufacturing, process efficiency, distribution, supply chain effectiveness, promotion, cost-reduction, or customer relationship management?
- What future technologies offer important opportunities for the firm? Identify any future technologies that may threaten the firm’s viability or its marketing efforts.
Political and Legal Trends
- Identify any political activities affecting the firm or the industry with respect to changes in elected officials (domestic or foreign), potential regulations favored by elected officials, industry (lobbying) groups or political action committees, and consumer advocacy groups.
- What are the current and potential hot button political or policy issues at the national, regional, or local level that may affect the firm’s marketing activities?
- Identify any changes in international, federal, state, or local laws and regulations affecting the firm’s or industry’s marketing activities with respect to recent court decisions, recent rulings of federal, state, or local government entities, recent decisions by regulatory and self-regulatory agencies, and changes in global trade agreements or trade law.
Other Major Global Forces
- Identify any other major global forces that could impact your projects SBU.