The business environment
What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘environment’? You probably think of the surroundings and the conditions and influences of the surroundings. Similarly, the business environment refers to an organization’s surroundings – its external surroundings, as well as its internal surroundings.
Customers and customer service
This module starts by looking at customers and how they make decisions about their purchases. What factors do they think about when buying a chocolate bar, vegetables, a book, a refrigerator or a house? How do businesses decide which company to use when buying a new computer system? Before you can start to market to people you must have some clear ideas about how they think, and understand the attributes and benefits that they are looking for.
In marketing, a company is faced with two kinds of variables. First, there are the variables associated with the external environment; the environment surrounding the organization made up of the macro-environment (the broad environment consisting of political, economic, socio-cultural, technological dimensions) and the micro-environment (the competitive structure of the industry in which the company operates). A company has no direct control of these external variables. The second set of variables contains operational variables; factors over which a company has full control.
Marketing and sales planning
Marketing and sales are fundamental to business, whatever the sector. In the private sector, it is accepted that marketing and sales planning is essential to achieve profitability and market success. In the public sector and in the charitable sector, the focus is not on profit-making but on customer(or more broadly, stakeholder) satisfaction. Marketing is increasingly playing a key role in the non-profit sector to build awareness of issues and promote causes, taking the perspective of not just customers (recipients) but also donors.
IT in business
There is clear evidence that Information Technology provides a competitive advantage, whatever the business sphere an organization operates.
To gain the advantage, managers must know how IT can be used in internal and external processes to deliver better value to the end customer.
Managing and using marketing
This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to marketing. It is intended to be relevant to the management and operation of organizations in many different areas of the economy, including those which do not operate for profit.
Customers and their needs
Modern marketing aims to identify and then satisfy each customer’s needs and wants. This is often done by building relationships with customers and using these relationships to create two-way communication between the two parties. The customer communicates his or her preferences, and the business communicates information about products that will satisfy the customer’s needs and wishes.
The success of the World Wide Web and the proliferation of the Internet and associated technologies have revolutionized the way organizations conduct their business. The most apparent change has been the support provided through technology to several traditional operations, such as sales, communications, customer services, and marketing.
An organization’s success depends on several factors including its operations, its marketing strategy, its human resource management, and its sales. One of the most common criteria used for assessing the organization’s success is sales growth. This is an indication that the organization manages to maintain its existing customers but also attracts interest followed by sales from new markets.
How then do organizations develop strategies in a complex marketing environment? How do they assess opportunities and threats? Which markets and segments do they target and why? Which market positions play to an organization’s strengths? What product portfolio should be maintained for long-term value? These are some of the questions we shall address.