No matter how well thought out and executed a marketing strategy may be, there are always external factors that will affect a company's plans. Businesses must be aware of the potential for these uncontrollable factors to influence the financial stability and growth of their company and make adjustments as they encounter each obstacle.

Society and Culture

In order to successfully market products or services, companies must meet the demands and needs of consumers. But those demands are constantly changing, fluctuating with the emergence of new trends, changes in lifestyle or even society's feelings toward environmental responsibility. For example, a fast food chain may choose to promote a new sandwich and side meal, but if enough customers respond to a trend to eat less carbs and therefore do not ever purchase the meal, the product will not successfully sell and may need to be discontinued.

Another example would be an increase in concern over the amount of plastic waste ending in landfills. Consumers that are deeply concerned about the environment may choose to purchase more items that utilize recycled packaging or those that will create less waste. A company that adapts and designs more environmentally friendly packaging will be able to meet consumer desires and maintain sales.


The amount of money available to be spent by consumers will greatly affect not only a company's marketing strategies but also the bottom line. When the economy is struggling and consumers are tightening their belts, they do not spend as much money on goods and service. Subsequently, companies will not make as much money. With less demand for their products, companies need to make adjustments or they will lose money on unsold inventory. Changes can be made in the amount of products manufactured or prices can be adjusted. If consumers are unable or unwilling to purchase a product listed at a certain price, a lowered sales price may increases the volume of sales.

Companies that manufacture or sell goods in other countries must remain aware of the economic changes within those countries as well. Factors that affect multiple economies must all be integrated so that strategies can be adjusted as needed. For example, if a natural disaster or harsh weather affects the crops in a country that supplies a U.S. company with produce, the buyer can do little about the resulting higher prices. Other than taking the financial hit themselves, the company will likely pass the higher prices on to the American consumer.

Politics and Regulations

Like it or not, companies need to abide by the regulations that government bodies set, concerning marketing campaigns or even production methods. Consider the cigarette and alcohol industries. Decades ago, alcohol and cigarettes were advertised in magazines and television. But with increasing concern over health issues and the influence of advertisements on minors, government regulations put an end to widespread advertising, even requiring that products be labeled as hazardous to one's health. Manufacturers had to adjust their strategies so that they could maintain their markets, and so they could also remain financially viable.

Similarly, concerns over the environment and pressures from activist groups may cause new manufacturing regulations to be enacted. Companies may need to invest in new equipment, testing measures or personnel to stay in compliance with these new laws. In turn, their marketing strategy may need to change as well. Perhaps there will be price increases, or maybe a campaign that boasts of the environmental friendliness of the company will serve to boost consumer goodwill and ultimately sales.


Technological advancements are another area where the introduction of new products can greatly affect the marketing strategy of a business. In some industries, the technology seems to change almost faster than the market can sell the latest item. For example, the entertainment industry has changed dramatically in the last several decades. Consumers used to rent movies on VHS tapes, but with the development of the more compact DVD, manufacturers of VHS tapes had to change what they produced to fit the changing technology. Consumers got rid of their VHS tape players and purchased new DVD players. Today, entertainment is even more accessible. Without the need for additional playback devices, TV shows, news and videos are all available on handheld devices, and are downloaded to computers. Businesses within this industry must constantly be aware of new tech advancements, and be ready to sell the next new item, if they want to remain competitive.


Finally, competition is another uncontrollable factor that can shake up a marketing strategy. Businesses must keep an eye on their competitors - those who sell the same basic product and - those who sell something similar. If a competitor launches a new product with a stellar ad campaign, they might grab a larger share of the market. Companies may need to respond with a new ad campaign of their own or perhaps develop a similar product with which they can compete. Businesses must always remain vigilant in watching out for new competitors, as well. If a new company enters the playing field, with a unique product that can grab the attention of consumers, everyone in the industry will need to swing into action to respond with an adjusted marketing plan.