A marketing environmental analysis helps a business understand external forces that can affect it. The environment, or external forces, are often factors that a business cannot control, yet it is important to be aware of environmental concerns when preparing a marketing plan or introducing a new product to the market. The most common method for preparing a marketing environmental analysis is to conduct a PESTLE analysis, which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental, all areas affecting a business. Francis J. Aguilar is credited with the initial PESTLE research in 1967.
Identify the purpose for conducting a PESTLE analysis. Your organization may be introducing a new product or service to the market, entering a new market with an existing product, creating a strategic marketing plan, or analyzing environmental factors that have caused a recent decline in sales. Know your goal so that you can focus your efforts.
Investigate political factors that would impact your subject. There may be pending legislation that would affect how you can market your products, cutbacks in government spending that would impact your cash flow, or political factors within your own organization, such as majority stockholders being against a new idea.
Research economic factors that may affect you. Poor economic conditions may mean that your target consumer has cut back on spending, and won't be willing to pay as much for your products. There may be tax implications for starting a certain type of business, or tax incentives for introducing an environmentally friendly product.
Identify social factors that could influence your subject. Consumer opinions, trends and buying patterns, the brand image of your company and ethnic or religious views are all potential social factors.
Discuss technology and its impact on your business or product. Whether you are introducing new technology to the market or you will need technology to conduct business, technology is an important issue to consider. Examine available technology, competition and Internet implications.
Examine the legal implications of conducting business, introducing this product, or entering this market. You may be taking on additional liability by entering a youth market, for example, and may need to carry additional insurance to cover potential lawsuits. Legislation can also be a part of legal implications.
Review the environmental impacts of your plan. If you are introducing a product that is environmentally friendly, it may open doors to additional markets. If your product is harmful to the environment, you will have additional legal concerns to address.
Review each factor and rate its importance. Determine the level of impact it could potentially have on your marketing plan, and whether the impact will be positive or negative. Address any negative impacts with high importance prior to launching your idea or product, or develop a plan for overcoming them.
If you find that you have a large number of high risk factors affecting your idea, you may want to reconsider whether now is the right time to introduce that product or idea to the market. You can also examine ways to modify it so there is less risk and negative impact involved.