Table of Contents
The backbone of any organization lies in the manner that it presents itself to the public. McLeish (2010, p. 185) explains that to create an acceptable image, marketing is essential in ensuring that an organization performs to the liking of the customers that they serve. The case study in this paper will be Belfast City Council. To have a better understanding of the marketing environment of Belfast, it is essential to look into the company’s positioning strategy, the characteristics of its macro environment, and the extent to which the factors within the macro environment may impact core economic pillars such as education, investment, and tourism.
An organization has the responsibility to create and be accountable for the environment that is created (Pride 2008, p. 64; Osuagwu 2016, p. 146). An organization has a lot of influence on its environment based on the operations that it partakes and the structure of governance that it adopts (Nkongolo-Bakenda 2003, p. 24). For this reason, an organization is supposed to focus on how they affect the environment through their operations. For a business to create and grow within a chosen environment, there are fundamental strategies that need to be put in place to ensure integration characteristics of the environment and the business operations. In this case, it is essential to define environmental scanning. According to Crane (2012, p.15), environmental scanning entails the process through which an organisation gathers information, analyses it and dispenses it, thus coming up with a viable strategic and tactical purpose. The information gathered is mostly factual and subjective based on the operating environment (Lapin 2004, p. 106; Zhang, Majid, and Foo 2011, p. 67). For a successful environmental scanning, three essential factors need to be present. First, there is the ad-hoc scanning. This type of scanning is usually unpredictable, and it is meant for short-term purposes. It is very effective in the instance of crisis (Toivonen and Viitanen 2016, p. 52). Secondly, there is the regular scanning. This type of scanning is done within a specified time frame. It could be quarterly or annually depending on the preferences of the organization. Thirdly, there is the continuous scanning. Sandada (2014, p. 60) asserts that this is a continuous scanning process that helps handle broad spectrums of operations. The best of these scanning methods is the continuous scanning since it keeps the organization aware of the happenings of the environment within which its operations are done.
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Importance of Environmental Scanning
The biggest advantage of environmental scanning is that the company becomes aware of exactly what their business wants through evaluating and getting solutions for their organisational procedures (Nwankwo and Gbadamosi 2010, p. 357; Nijssen and Frambach 2013, p. 138). For this reason, it becomes easy for the company to operate in a dynamic environment by providing stable means of survival even in cases of a crisis. Oginni and Adesanya (2013, p. 148) explain that with stability comes capitalisation. The organisation can easily capitalise their operations in their early stages and effectively create a comparison with the available competitors. According to Bhardwaj and Kumar (2014, p.638), this fact cannot be fully implemented if the decision-making process is flawed. The organization can make decisions such as solving impending problems when they are mere alerts (Jyoti 2010, p. 45; Marchesnay 2014, p 112). With environmental scanning, problems can easily be detected and handled before they escalate to impending issues. Lastly, environmental scanning is a source of qualitative information that is essential in changing environmental processes so that the company is in line with customer demands. In the same line, the company is in a better position to create suitable strategies that make services and products more appealing to the clients (Kopaneli 2014, p. 475). Consequently, the company is in a better position to execute broader studies and operations on their environments.
Environmental scanning’s heart and soul is in the macro environment. The macro analysis holds information on the type and characteristics of the market with regard to size, potential, segmentation, structuring, manageability, available competition, and the trending influences. In the case of Belfast, every aspect counts since the city intends to have an all-rounded growth (Council 2005, p. 6; O’Dowd and Komarova 2011, p. 2020). The major population is that of the people that are below 35 years old (Belfast n.d., p. 11). These individuals are hungry for better living, a good education, and employment. The macro environment is in favour of the dealings of the organization since it focusses on innovation, education, and exposure to new opportunities (Tsai, Song, and Wong 2009, p 536; Pillai 2010, p. 187).
Investment and the Macro Environment
The idea behind Belfast is meant to bring more investors into the city. Firstly, the city focuses a lot of its resources on innovation. For this reason, many investors will be quick to explore untapped potential and invest in the region (Pîndiche and Ionita 2013, p. 330). Additionally, the goal is to create more employment opportunities for those that seek employment. For this reason, more investors will be quick to settle for filling the gap of unemployment in the young city.
Education and the Macro Environment
Other than economic growth, the city intends to provide the best education for the occupants. The largest population in the city is of young blood that still wants to tap into new forms of knowledge. Du Toit (2011, p. 127) explains that the macro environment provides a good breeding ground for new and innovative education systems. An additional advantage is that the organization seeks to be more innovative, thus, a vast pool of education grounds on which they can expound.
Tourism and the Macro Environment
So far, tourism contributes a large financial portion of the city’s finances. The city happens to have multiple cultures and many ways through which these cultures can showcase their ethnicity. Additionally, the city sells its warmth by ensuring people of all walks feel welcome in the area (Dasgupta 2011, p. 65). Conclusively, Belfast will continue to attract more tourists due to its agenda of inclusiveness, integrating multiple cultures, and accepting people from all walks.
The biggest problem with Belfast is that they do not have a viable marketing strategy. The plans and visions that they have are amazing and appealing. However, there are more tourist attractions, education systems, employment opportunities, and living conditions within the same geographic locations. The organizations in charge of the program neglected the fact that they need to market their products so that they attract more people to be part of their big dream for Belfast. Entering a market requires that the management has enough mettle to compete with other players within the same field (Tan, Shen, and Langston 2011, p. 355). There are very many ways to attack the market leader. In this case, I would recommend the company to use the frontal attack method. It is a popular attack used amongst many market leaders. Such is the strategy where the attacker creates a product that attacks the leader’s strengths. The attacker produces a product that matches that of the leader in terms of quality, their distribution, their pricing, and advertisement strategies. With this strategy, the challenger needs to prove to the customer that their product is equal to the market leader’s and at the same time, make sure that it has an advantage over the leader. I would also recommend that the organization use the flank attack approach. According to Fyall and Garrod (2005, p. 94), this method is useful when attacking the weaknesses of the market leaders. The challenger identifies the gaps left by the leader in their products and fills them in their own products (Tsai et al. 2009, p. 534). Such a strategy is mainly employed by companies with fewer resources with the intention to beat their competition. This strategy looks at what the market needs, checks its representation in the market leader, and then represent it if it is inadequately done.
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