Micro and macro refer to economic environments within which marketing takes place. Though not exactly opposites, broad differences exist between macro marketing and micro marketing. Despite such differences, these terms often occur in tandem, as they constitute the two primary types of marketing.
Micro means small in scale or scope while macro means large in scale or scope. Micro marketing concerns individual steps in an overall process. Macro marketing, on the other hand, examines that same process as a whole. Depending on the scale, the micro marketing concerns anything from a single production process to the workings of an entire corporation. Macro marketing applies to anything from the relationship between the production process and the consumer to global purchase patterns.
In her book “Marketing Theory,” author Shelby D. Hunt lists primary concerns of both micro and macro marketing. Among those concerns listed for micro marketing are individual consumer behavior, pricing decisions and methods, channels of distribution, how firms decide which products to make and market, packing and promotional decisions, methods, and brand image management. Among those concerns listed for macro marketing are market regulation laws, marketing and social responsibility, socially desirable advertising techniques, the efficiency of marketing systems, and overall consumer behavior patterns.
In many ways, the differences between micro and macro marketing are best described by examining the differences between purchasing targets and scope. The purchasing target of micro marketing is the individual. It concerns determining a product that a person likes, needs and is willing to spend money on. Micro marketing professionals focus on just such a concern and nothing else. The purchase target of macro marketing is the maximum possible customer base. It concerns determining which sections of society compose a product’s target audience and how that product reaches that audience. From distribution to advertising, features, in-store availability and packing type, macro marketing considers it all.
The rise of the Internet and social networking sites has precipitated a rise in the importance of micro markets. Twitter and Facebook, for instance, comprise micro markets. Despite the fact that each contains countless users and individual sites, the focus of each is the individual. Marketers must think in the micro when customizing advertisements on social media sites. In a world with fewer divisions between cultures once considered radically different, a primary concern of macro marketing becomes how to take Trend A from Region B and sell it to People C. Take, for example, soccer in the United States. Media companies and Major League Soccer aggressively pursue macro marketing concerns when considering how to best package, produce, market and interpret soccer for the American market, which has proven relatively hostile toward the sport.
- “Marketing Theory: Foundations, Controversy, Strategy, Resource-Advantage Theory”; Shelby D Hunt; 2010
- “The Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Marketing, Volume 4”; Barbara R Lewis, editor; 1999
- “Micro Marketing: Getting Big Results By Thinking and Acting Small”; Greg Verdino; 2010
- "The Smart Journal"; Marketing Professional Soccer in the United States; Richard Southall and Mark Nagel; 2006
- Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images