What is the business environment?
The business environment is made up from the microenvironment and the macroenvironment. Our previous lessons on the marketing environment summarises both topics. The business environment will now be considered in a more practical manner. There are forces in the business environment that will impact your business, which are out of your business’s control. You would undertake market scanning and some secondary research to help the business adapt to the influence of these external factors.
Corporate annual reports and accounts.
Local Chambers of Commerce and business groups.
Professional and trade federations such as the American Marketing Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
National and International Media such as the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japan), Financial Times (UK), The Wall Street Journal, IL Sole 24 Ore (Italy) Handelsblatt (Germany) and Poslovni dnevik (Serbia) – ordered by circulation.
Websites belonging to these organizations are also really useful but you could also refer to Yahoo! Finance, CNN Money, Google Finance, MSN MoneyCentral, BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, Forbes, MarketWatch, BusinessInsider, CNBC, Motley Fool, The Street and Biz Journals.
Governments are often sources of secondary data about all sorts of topics from housing to social trends. You can look at the website of a particular country or approach their local embassy.
Market scanning is undertaken to assess the impact upon the customer and the organization from environmental factors that are largely out of its control. Here you scan the market in the same way that an X-ray machine scans a body or in the way that your computer scanner copies a document. Another way to think about market scanning is that you use an imaginary pair of binoculars; you hold them to your eyes and turn your head left and right to scan the horizontal to look for changes in the broader business environment.
For example in the United Kingdom there is a movement from analogue television to digital television. This will render perfectly operational analogue TVs useless, but will create new opportunities for companies that manufacture digital TVs. By scanning the market businesses are able to flex to factors that are beyond its immediate control.
Sources of secondary data.
So you need to go and scan some sources of data. Data is subdivided into primary data and secondary data. Primary data is new data collected by you to solve a specific problem. Secondary data already exists. For the pros and cons of primary and secondary data, you will need to see the lesson on marketing research. For now let’s look at some useful sources of secondary data.
Electronic databases include:
- Market Research databases such as Business Insights (Datamonitor 360), eMarketer, Frost and Sullivan, Global Market Information Database (GMID Euromonitor), Key Note, and Mintel.
- Company information such as FAME, Emerging Market Information Service (EMIS), Kompass Worldwide, Onesource, and ORBIS.
- Business News and Journals such as Business Source Complete, ABI Inform Global, Business and Industry (Gale), Factiva and the Wall Street Journal.
- Business and Economic sources such as CountryData (Economist Intelligence Unit) and the Economist Intelligence unit itself.