Electric cars are called zero-emission vehicles by their advocates, but they do not have zero emissions according to some experts. While an electric car does not emit exhaust, the technology required to charge their batteries does, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Critics argue that the more electric cars that are driven, the more pollution from smokestacks at the plants that provide the electric power. This is an example of a "trend" that marketers predicted to be more popular than they actually were once mass-produced.
The micro environment refers to the forces that are close to the company and affect its ability to serve its customers. It includes the company itself, its suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customer markets, competitors, and publics. The technological environment is perhaps one of the fastest changing factors in the macro environment. This includes technological developments in areas ranging from antibiotics and medicine, to nuclear and chemical weaponry, and credit cards.
The corporate aspect of the micro environment refers to the internal environment of a company. This includes all departments, such as management, finance, research and development, purchasing, operations, and accounting. Each of these departments has an impact on marketing decisions. For example, research and development have input as to the features a product can perform. Accounting approves the financial side of marketing plans and budgets.
The suppliers of a company are also an important aspect of the micro environment. For instance, delivering supplies late can result in customer dissatisfaction. Marketing managers must watch supply availability and other trends involving with suppliers to ensure that product will be delivered to customers within the time frame required to maintain a strong customer relationship.
As industries such as pharmaceuticals and national defense expand, they create new markets and new uses for products. Such advances require companies to compete effectively, stay abreast of the latest trends, and update their product technologies as they become outdated.
Technology is the knowledge of how to accomplish tasks and goals. Technology affects marketers in several ways. First, aggressively advancing technology is spawning new products and processes at an accelerating rate that threatens almost every existing product.
Second, competition continues to intensify between old and new organizations as many substitute technologies compete with established products. Third, product innovations that result in superior performance or cost advantages are the best means for protecting and building market position without sacrificing profit margins. This is especially true in today's world, when many markets are experiencing flat or slow growth when excess capacity is commonplace.
History provides many examples of companies that have lost their competitive advantage because a competitor came into the market with a product that had superior cost advantage or performance characteristics. These examples are not limited to small or weak companies. Even industrial giants including AT&T, General Electric, and IBM have seen parts of their markets eroded by competition with a distinctly superior product.
There are thousands of forecasters who claim to be able to predict or at least determine the direction of future markets. One that has an excellent track record is Roper Starch, a research firm that has been looking at trends for over 50 years. The 2000 Roper Report identified four concepts that may help marketers understand Americans in the next decades:
The 'Smart' electric car
The electric car has not been as popular as marketers had predicted. Instead, hybrid cars have become increasingly popular for the environmentally conscious, due to their practicality and performance compared with electric cars.