The Digital Macro-Environment

1 fast-paced module 1 Week 1 Quiz

In the digital world, changes are rapid and digital marketers need to be alert to the forces that are important in the context of their own trading environment. Organisations should therefore develop the capacity to respond to environmental changes and any emerging opportunities and threats by developing strategic agility. This requires inventing new business models and new categories rather than just rearranging old ones. Examples of companies that have shown strategic agility and responded to environmental changes are Uber and Airbnb, and in so doing have disrupted entire industries.


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The macro- environment also known as the external environment includes political, economic, social, legal, technological and environmental factors. By analysing the external environment marketers can identify threats and highlight opportunities. Successful companies in a digital age can see these opportunities and adapt or create new product ranges and boldly move into new markets.

All of these can directly influence the digital marketing operations of a business in the following ways:

National governments and transnational organisations are mostly responsible for political forces as they determine the future adoption and control of the Internet. For example, Facebook has been blocked in China, Iran, Vietnam, and North Korea. Twitter is currently banned in several other countries. Economic forces cause variation in economic conditions that affect trading opportunities, consumer spending and business performance. Social forces include aspects of cultural diversity among digital communities, which can influence their use of the Internet and therefore products and services businesses provide online. Environmental forces are concerned with the impact a business has on its environment, whether positive or negative. Legal forces are concerned with laws and ethical guidelines that seek to safeguard individuals’ rights to privacy and businesses’ rights to free trade.

But, of all these forces, technological forces have the biggest impact on digital marketing. Some of the many exciting technologies we explore in this module include:

Autonomous Things – using robots, drones and autonomous vehicles together with Artificial Intelligence to automate functions previously performed by humans. Smart Spaces – physical or digital environments in which humans and technology interact together. Augmented Humans – technology that enables cognitive and physical improvements as an integral part of the human body.

What you will learn:

  • Using the PESTLE analysis model
  • Technological forces
  • Economic and socio-cultural forces
  • Political, environmental and legal forces

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