Environmental scanning refers to taking a look at the broader market in which you plan to operate in order to better inform your strategy. A little environmental scanning is what stops you trying to sell sand to the Arabs. Consider trying to reach your market through the internet. A few years ago you would have been on a loser if you were trying to market products aimed at senior citizens on the web. Now it’s okay. How do you know? The demographic information is there for you. You’re still better off if you have something to sell that appeals to young professional males with a technological bent, but the web is becoming more and more representative of the population as a whole. But you won’t find the young professional males through banner ads placed on sites aimed at senior citizens – so there’s a bit of environmental scanning to be done. On this page Artefact shows you how and where to set about it.
Note 1: It will seem to many wishing to operate on a small scale that activities like environmental scanning are a waste of time and a luxury that only large companies can afford. On the contrary, the smaller your business the more important it is that you have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and that starts with understanding your potential market
Note 2: Beware of paralysis by analysis! You could spend forever trying to get a thorough handle on this and each of the other 33 Marketing Success Factors dealt with in the Artefact Strategic Marketing Model, and never get started on your project. So start, and refer to this resource regularly to help you keep on track, refining your knowledge and techniques as you go.
Environmental Scanning on the Net
How do I go about systematically scanning my environment? How many people are connected to the internet? Where do they come from? What do they do there? How is their demographic profile changing? What do they buy? Where do I concentrate my efforts on locating the people that matter to my business?
All of these questions and many more can be answered for you. You could pay consultants very large sums to advise you on such questions and large companies regularly do so. But many consultants borrow your watch to tell you what time it is and then charge you. Furthermore, pretty much all you need to know is freely available on the web. Spend a bit of time searching. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of materials freely available.