Contemporary firms operate in an environment that is increasingly becoming complex. The complexity is caused by diverse issues that affect the strategic moves made by companies. Marketing is one of the key functions of firms. Successful penetration of firms into novel markets amidst the prevailing challenges depends on the marketing strategies that are adopted by the firms. Marketing analysis is one of the tools that are often used by firms to develop an understanding of the marketing environment in which they operate. The market is comprised of internal and external forces that affect the performance of firms. Marketing analysis entails the study of the key practices of firms relative to the changes in the market (Pride & Ferrell, 2006).
Walmart is one of the world’s multinational companies that have managed to thrive in the market despite the changing nature of marketing conditions. Walmart is a US based multinational company that operates in the discounted store industry. The mission of Walmart is to help customers save their money as a way of bettering their lives. This is replicated in a number of business practices that are enhanced in the company. The mission of Walmart reiterates the commitment of the company in offering goods at prices that are fair to customers (Walmart, 2011).
This paper presents an analysis of the marketing environment in which Walmart operates. In order to develop a deeper understanding of the marketing environment in which Walmart operates, the paper employs key analytical tools of the marketing environment such as the PEST and SWOT.
Overview of Walmart
As noted earlier, Walmart is one of the renowned companies in the world for its long held performance in the discounted sector. The company is listed among the leading public corporations in the world in terms of size and scope of operation. Walmart is headquartered in the state of Arizona, in the United States. The company had commenced its operations in the year 1962, but its incorporation materialized around seven years after it commenced its activities. Walmart is a retail company that operates a chain of warehouse stores and super discount stores in the United States among other countries across the world. The company employs over two million workers across its stores in the world, making it one of the largest companies in terms of employability in the world. As stated in the introduction, the mission of Walmart is to ensure that it enhances the lives of people by saving the monies of their customers.
The intention of Walmart’s mission is to provide customers with goods at desirable prices. The ‘Save money- live better’ slogan that is embedded in the slogan of Walmart extends to all the activities of the company. The mission of the company has a marketing niche in it, which works as a promoting factor to the marketing functions of Walmart. These include the marketing operations of the company, as well as the wider interactions of the company with the external and internal stakeholders. This is what is referred to as corporate social responsibility. The vision of Walmart is to become the leading company in the global retail sector (Walmart, 2011).
The role of stakeholders has been emphasized in the contemporary literature on marketing. As a large multinational company, Walmart has an extended number of stakeholders who are drawn from the larger market where it has staged its operations. The stakeholders of the company include the ‘customers, shareholders, suppliers’, governments where the firm operates, the community where the firms of Walmart are located, and the environmental and other socioeconomic groups that work towards enhancing a healthy competitive environment. The success of Walmart in the increasingly competitive market is attributed to the relationship that the company fosters with its stakeholders. The question that needs to be asked at this point is how the company manages its relations with its stakeholders. The company has been active in enhancing social corporate activities in order to foster sustainable relations with all its stakeholders. Social corporate activities help the company to foster communication with the stakeholders. This is a prerequisite for the attainment of best practices in management (Daft, Kendrick & Vershinina, 2010).
The global retail industry is one of the broadest industries in terms of the range of products and services that are dealt with by the companies operating in the industry. Walmart has a profound profile of customers who are drawn from the broader retail market in the United States and other countries in which it carries out its operations. Going with manner in which the company has segmented its markets, it can be argued that the company seeks to gain as many customers in the market as possible. The nature of customers that the company aims to gain and maintain includes individuals and families that have modest incomes. Customers with modest incomes are a crucial factor in boosting the sales of the company through their scale of shopping (De, 2010).
Walmart operates in fifteen countries across the world, with more than 8,000 stores across the fifteen countries in which its operations are situated. It is important to note that Walmart operates in diverse mini-sectors within the retail sector in both its mother country, as well as the other foreign markets where it has situated its subsidiaries. This is a reflection of the segmentation of the marketing functions of the company, and by extension the broadening of the operational market for the company. The market segments in which the company deals in include the superstores or the large discount stores, the grocery stores and the warehouse stores.
The division of Walmart business operations into these stores is one way of ensuring that the company captures customers from the broader market. Walmart operates in different countries under different names. As of today, the company operates under 55 distinct names. This is another marketing strategy that is critical to the penetrative ability of the company in diverse markets. This is part of the application of cross cultural marketing initiatives in the company (Del, Carayannis & Della, 2012). The focus on different operational segments by Walmart helps the company to open up more to the customers by extending the type of goods and the nature of service offering. This is a competitive factor for the company since it does not only result in the expansion of the company’s enterprises, but it also ensures the broadening of the customer base by expanding the size of the market (Bacon & Pugh, 2003).
Walmart operates in a market that is highly competitive. The competitiveness of the market in which Walmart operates is caused by the presence of a business environment that attracts the operation of a substantial number of business companies. For instance, the operations of Walmart in the United Kingdom have been highly influenced by the presence of other competing firms in that retail market. One of the most competitive firms that compete with Walmart in the United Kingdom is Tesco PLC. Similar cases apply to the operations of Walmart in the United States, which is the largest market for the company. The competitive forces from other companies in Germany have been a crucial source of poor performance of the company in Germany. Other sources of competitive pressure on the company are the fluctuations in the status of the global economy, like the recent global recession that resulted in the shrunken expenditure by customers leading to reduced sales in the company (De, 2010).
Walmart operates in markets that have stabilized politics and a favourable political atmosphere for business advancement. A stable and mature political landscape is vital for economic health since it is a facilitating factor for smooth business operation. The largest number of operations of Walmart is located in the United States and the United Kingdom. These countries have enjoyed a long history of political stability, which backs the prevalence of an advanced institutional environment that supports economic dynamics. The two countries have high per capita income, which denotes a high purchasing potential for the citizens. The economic landscape of the United States is also quite advanced, which makes it easy for the crafting of efficient economic solutions to economic problems. This supports the sustainability of companies in these markets. The low price and marketing through value play a critical role in the management of the relationship between Walmart and its customers (Walmart, 2011).
It should be noted that the economic environment of any country is to a greater extent determined by the nature of the politics in the country in which the market is situated. The hardships that the company encounters in countries like Brazil often emanate from the lack of balance between political and economic issues in the countries, which impacts negatively on the status of the market. The features of the target market are a strategic factor in marketing. The characteristic of the population is one of the areas that ought to be given attention by large corporations when planning how to manage their marketing functions.
Most of the markets in which Walmart operates have a sound economic history. It can be said that Walmart operates in two types of markets, developed and emerging markets, which depicts a better economic situation that supports market sustenance in the company. The company highly banks on its mother market as a foundation for the sustainability of operations in foreign markets. Due to the economic conditions in the US, the company has seen a significant rise in its market share in the United States (US Today, 2010).
Walmart is one of the most successful multinational companies in the world. The company has a large number of stakeholders who are drawn from its broad market. The expanse of the operational size of Walmart is spearheaded by the fact that the company has enhanced segmentation of the market. The other supportive factor for the company is its ability to expand and manage operations in foreign destinations. The company operates in highly active economies, which gives it a competitive footage. In addition, the home country operations have highly backed the company operations in other regions since the home country has a favourable business environment. The mother country’s operational stability is likely to be the main determinant of the company’s performance in other regions in the future.
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