The Impact of International Marketing Decisions on the Environment: A Comparative Study of U.S. and Colombian Firms

Article excerpt

This paper explores the impact of marketing mix decisions on the marketing environment. A comparison is made between responses of international marketing executives from the U.S. and Colombia regarding the relationship between marketing mix decisions and the cultural, social, political, legal, natural, technological, competitive, and economic environments. The findings indicate there are significant differences between executives from the two countries. The results of the study have important implications for companies that wish to create a more favorable external environmental context in international markets.


A great deal of literature on marketing strategy centers on the impact of the marketing environment on marketing mix decisions. However, a paucity of literature exists concerning the impact of marketing mix decisions on the environment. The little research that has been done in this area basically focuses on the by-products of conversion such as solid waste materials, pollution, recycling, and consumerism (Cook 1991; Hoffman 1991; Skorpen 1991; Welter 1991; The Economist 1993; Davids 1994; Walley and Whitehead 1994).

One might anticipate the shortage of available research on the impact of marketing mix decisions on the environment given the popularly held belief among marketers that the external environment is an uncontrollable variable to the marketing manager and acts as a constraint on decision making (Schoell and Guiltinan 1988; Dalrymple and Parsons 1990; Berkowitz, Kerin, Hartley, and Rudelius 1992; Boone and Kurtz 1992; Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel 1994; Semenik and Bamossy 1995). Hence, marketing decisions concerning product, distribution, promotion and pricing have no impact on the external environment. This view places unnecessary constraints on marketing strategy.

In the past several years, a few academicians have changed their thinking concerning the impact of marketing mix decisions on the external environment (Laughlin, Norvell and Andrus 1994; Webster 1992; Arndt 1981). Kotler (1984) states that he believes that marketers can influence the environment in which the firm operates and do not simply have to accept and adjust to it. Zeithaml and Zeithaml (1984) also believe that marketing is a significant force which the organization can use to create change and influence the environment. Stanton, Etzel, and Walker (1991) also argue that a company may be able to manage its external environment to some extent. Varadarajan, Clark, and Pride (1992) assert that managers who assume that the market environment is fixed and uncontrollable miss important market opportunities. Norvell, et al. (1989, 1994) maintain that marketing decisions related to product, distribution, promotion and price do impact the various external environments.

The purpose of this study is to analyze and compare international marketing executives in the U.S. and Colombia on their perceptions of the impact of marketing mix decisions on the environment. Marketing mix decisions will be studied in relation to their impact on the cultural and social, political and legal, natural and technological, and competitive and economic environments.


The U.S. dominated world trade from post World War II to the end of the 1980's (Hill 1994). Recent years have seen Japan and the European Community emerging as major world traders. The 1990's have seen numerous countries seek opportunities in the world marketplace. The smaller, newer countries engaging in international trade may be more conscious of the impact of their decisions on the host country than large diversified economies such as the U.S.

There are several reasons that executives from countries with less developed and smaller economies may be more aware of the impact of company their decisions on the environment. First, the impact of decisions in small, less developed economies may have a more visible impact on society than decisions made in large complex economies. …


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