Q: What factors impact consumption?

Although marketing genres and sub-genres highlight the similarities and differences that organisations may encounter; it should also be recognised that each business is impacted by a set of situational factors.

To gain a clearer picture – the author undertook an extensive review of the marketing literature, including academic journals, popular business publications, marketing textbooks, and the annual reports of selected organisations. Further research was undertaken to observe and record the behaviour of consumers and to conduct interviews with consumers, business-people, and marketing practitioners.

The research revealed that, although the situational factors [i.e., COMP factors] varied greatly between organisations, and the operational marketing objectives were specific to the organisation, the holistic marketing objectives of organisations are quite consistent. The situational factors influence every consumer and every organisational decision. As every consumer and organisation is unique, to some extent, and as situational factors are constantly evolving/changing, the situational factors could be considered as unique and dynamic.

What is important to recognise is how past and present situational factors have influenced organisational performance; this knowledge will assist an organisation to better predict/forecast future situational factors. The more accurately an organisation can forecast the future situational factors the better they can plan and manage.

The future situational factors may be as expected, however, often the emergent situational factors are unexpected and may vary greatly from forecasts [e.g., COVID]. Therefore, marketing practitioners need to understand the effect/affect that emergent situational factors will have on consumers and the organisation.

We can see that situational factors have a temporal relationship – past, present, & future.

  • Past situational factors are collected and analysed and could be described as historical marketing data
  • Present situational factors are collected and analysed and could be described as current marketing data
  • Future situational factors
  • Data that is anticipated/expected in the next planning cycle is often described as forecasted marketing data
  • Data as it develops could be described as emergent marketing data.

Each data type is important; historical and current data may indicate consumption patterns, trends and the effectiveness of past and present strategies. After analysing the historical and current data the organisation may be able to forecast/predict the likely situational factors they will face in the next planning cycle. The forecasted marketing data is important as the marketing plan and marketing action plans are designed and developed with these conditions in mind. The emergent marketing data is important as any variations from forecasts will need to be evaluated and managed to ensure that the organisation meets the financial, strategic, and communication marketing objectives of the organisation.

The literature on situational factors reveals that situational factors can be organised into 4 broad categories: The characteristics of the Customer <> Organisation <> Market <> Product.

The acronym COMP is employed to enhance recall, however, the acronym does not indicate a hierarchy of importance or an order What is interesting is that consumers and organisation will experience similar market conditions, nevertheless, they will perceive the COMP factors through their own eyes. COMP factors provide context to past and future performance [and guidance] and are the foundation of all marketing planning.

Later we will differentiate marketing practitioners as strategic marketing practitioners and tactical marketing practitioners, and explore how they employ historic, current, forecasted and emergent COMP factors during the CADDIE business-marketing planning process.

Marketing practitioners, particularly in larger organisation often ‘drill-down’ into the COMP factors to measure strategic and tactical performance indicators; textbook generally refer to these as marketing metrics [and in recent years as marketing analytics to indicate that the metrics will be analysed]. In particular, tactical marketing practitioners measure and manage their specific areas that contribute to the strategic marketing objectives of the organisation. Marketing metrics will vary according to the  COMP factors and the marketing objectives. It is not uncommon for marketing scholars to get focus on the tools, ignore the uniqueness, search for the one right way, and miss the holistic simplicity of marketing (El-Ansary, Shaw, & Lazer, 2018).

Marketing practitioners are constantly collecting, storing, and accessing data; for ‘simplicity’, the place of storage and the facilitating and supporting service the software performs will be referred within this e-book as software for marketing practitioners [SfMP].

The key takeaway is that COMP can also be viewed as a method to collect, organise, access, analyse, and present data during the CADDIE business-marketing planning process. This process is a regular event in most larger organisations, however, many small and medium organisations would benefit from a more rigorous business-marketing planning process.

Therefore, we can conclude that a marketing audit of COMP factors provides the strategic and tactical  context in which past and future performance can be measured and managed. For example – imagine if when reviewing an historical sales metrics we noticed that 2 years ago there was a sharp drop in sales of a particular product. When this data is investigated further, we discover that sales were impacted by severe bushfires. Context is important as all data is relevant within the context of the situation.

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