Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.
With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 150,000 people.
Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 42 million customers and clients worldwide (www.barclays.com).
Barclays Group strategy overview
Barclay's ambition is to become one of the handfuls of universal banks leading the global financial services industry. This means offering a full range of retail and wholesale services to customers and clients throughout the world. These services include: retail, business and private banking, credit cards, investment banking, investment management and wealth management.
The bank's strategy follows a simple premise: anticipate the needs of their customers and clients, then serve them by helping them achieve their goals (www.barclays.com).
Introduction of the External Marketing Environment
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No business operates with out rules and regulations any business is surrounded by laws and liabilities, pressure groups and public bodies, customers and competitors. These are part of the marketing environment that the organisation works within, and since marketing is the interface between the organisation and the outside world, dealing with this environment is a major part of marketer's work (Jim Blythe 2008)
The external marketing environment analysis is the first stage of auditing process. It creates the information and analysis necessary for an organisation to begin to identify the key issues it will need to address in order to develop successful strategy.
As environment of business has never been the so complex as it is today you need a grasp of the big picture, the role of organisation and yourself within it. System theory makes clear that every organisation operates within an industry setting that in turn interacts with a societal environment that is itself influenced by a global marketplace. The global market environment appears very distant to marketers operating on a regional or even national scale, but with the information technologies shrinking distances, these multinational operation are extending into every corner of the market place (Mike Oldroyd 2006, Graeme Drummond, John Ensor, Ruth Ashford 2008).
Therefore the marketing environment is "The external forces that directly or indirectly influence an organization's acquisition of inputs and generation of outputs, comprising six categories of forces: political, legal, regulatory, societal/green, technological, and economic/competitive (Dibb et al, 2006: 68). Within any society, all businesses face a common political, economic, social and technological environment, although any one element will often impact differently according to the size and situation of the firm (Mike Oldroyd 2006). Whether a market fluctuates rapidly or slowly, environmental forces are always dynamic. Changing in the marketing environment can create uncertainty, threats and opportunities for the marketer's. Although the future is not very predictable, marketer's can estimate what will happen, although some fail to do so, thus negatively affecting the performance of their businesses. It can be stated with certainty that marketers will continue to modify their marketing strategies in response to the dynamic environment. Furthermore, marketing managers who fail to recognise changes in environmental forces leave their firms unprepared to capitalize on marketing opportunities or to cope with the changes created in the marketing environment (Dibb et al, 2006: 68)
Using PEST analysis to understand your environment
PEST analysis is designed to provide a focused framework to assist you in establishing your objectives. It will take the result of your marketing audit and place them in a logical format to ensure that you have considered all of the factors that could affect your market (Phil Stone 2001)
In every country there are rules and regulations that all businesses need to follow in order to operate legally.
Government at both national and local levels can affect companies not only on a day-day basis through law, policies and authority but also a strategic level by creating opportunities and threats. Specifically, these arise because at competitive level the government can determine industry structure via monopoly and restrictive trade practices legislations further. Legislations will encourage competition so that customers can have more options (Dale Littler and Dominic Wilson 1995).
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So there is a range of political organisations that have to be considered when looking at the influences in this area of the audit. The structure of a political system defines the centres of political influence. A state with a federal political structure will differ from a unitary political system. In the UK there is a parliament for Scotland and an assembly for Wales. However some of the responsibilities are still the responsibility of Westminster parliament. There is also string of decisions taking place both politically and legally within the framework of European Union. Political groups such Greenpeace can also effect the political agenda. Therefore when considering these area of the environment a much wider view has to be taken than just the domestic national government or legal process (reference).
Banks are fighting for survival because the current situation in the world economy the UK government is giving support to banks by intervening.
The government has pledged to spend up to £37bn to buy stakes in three banks - Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and HBOS. The Bank of England has lent further billions of pounds to the wider banking sector (bbc.co.uk).
The UK Treasury has announced a financial lifeline, which could ultimately be worth up to £500bn, to try and stabilise the UK banking sector. Opposition parties broadly backed the plans, which could see the government inject up to £50bn in capital - essentially taxpayers money - into leading banks and building societies. As fears of a prolonged global recession rise, the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank each announced an emergency 0.5% cut in interest rates. But this unprecedented move has had only a limited impact on the turbulent stock markets. Despite recovering slightly, the FTSE 100 was still down 2% in London by mid-afternoon while markets in Germany and France were down by more than 3%. But in the US, the Dow Jones rallied in early trading after the sharp falls of recent days. In another key development, the UK government moved to protect deposit holders in UK offshoots of Icelandic banks, threatening legal action against Iceland to recover money from one collapsed bank (bbc.co.uk)
However Barclays did not seek help from the UK government in the current economic crisis instead they raised cash from Middle Eastern investors (www.telegraph.co.uk).
The economy is closely linked with political environment, it consists the current and future state of key economic variables used to describe the wealth, purchasing power, savings and consumption together with the government economic policies deployed to effect those variable. These include the effect of inflation, interest rates and exchange rates and will have impact on the cost, prices, competitiveness and profitability of the business. In terms of strategic marketing tasks, of prime importance as part of the strategic planning process is the identification, monitoring and forecasting of those economic variables to which the company's market effort is most sensitive. So understanding of the key economic indicators provides the necessary information for anticipating developments in the market place. Economic uncertainties impact negatively on business and consumer confidence so the key marketing task is to attempt to realize the relationships between movements in the economy and changes in the market place.
This is perhaps the most difficult for the marketer to identify evaluate and respond to it. It is a complex of demographics it includes changes in population characteristics educational standards, culture, lifestyle attitudes and beliefs. The way we think, we live and behave is the outcome of complex cultural conditioning by family, friends, schools, work and various media. It conditions who decides what we buy, where and when we buy it, and whether we credit or cash for example 45 percent of consumers agreed that they give into temptation and buy things because they like them and not because they need them. This was up from 30 percent 20 years ago. So businesses need to consider the changing demographic trends in their business and the changing social climate in different parts of the world (Dale Littler and Dominic Wilson 1995, Phil Stone 2001 and Mike Oldroyd 2006).
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People's lifestyle are changing because in today's world expectations are higher as people have become more wealthy, they have come to expect more. In twenty first century Britain, few people would consider living with out a telephone, television, refrigerator, car, bank account or credit cards. In 1960s all these products were examples of things owned by only a minority of the population so the marketer will be concerned with all the influences affecting the customer's choice (Jim Blythe 2008 and Mike Oldroyd 2006)
Barclays Financial Planning has launched two new pensions products to rival stakeholder pensions. According to the bank, customers can choose either a basic investment solution, comparable to a stakeholder product, or to diversify their pension assets, including the option of a 'select choice' fund proposition. Barclays director of investment advice and products David Stuart says the new pensions offer everyday pensions investors something much more flexible than a stakeholder plan but without the more complicated structure or cost implications of a full Sipp. (www.moneymarketing.co.uk)
Technology has become one of the most important factors affecting businesses over the last decade. The development of information technology has impacted in the way business is conducted. For example the use of faxes and e-mail and opportunities created by the internet (Phil Stone 2001).
For many businesses the use of internet as marketing tool is little understood and certainly not appreciated internet can be very efficient marketing tool creating world-wide opportunities for even smaller one employee businesses style.
Barclays must consider the use of latest available technology (Phil Stone 2001) in order to stay competitive with other banks E.G. HSBC because few serious marketers would consider not having a corporate website. Yet only ten years ago such websites were rare, and were often merely 'presence' sites which directed visitors to a telephone number or address (Jim Blythe 2008). New technologies create new markets and opportunities (Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong2004)
A company will not have strategic marketing planning process with out taking into consideration in to the external marketing environment as this vital in the company ability to operate as business.
Because any organisation is surrounded by laws and liabilities, pressures groups and public bodies, customers and competitors. These liabilities are part of the marketing environment that the organisation works within. And since marketing is at the interface between organisation and the outside world, dealing with this environment is a major part of marketer's work (stone Phil 2001).
Barclay's external environment is undertaken in order to discover the opportunities and threats that are evolving and that need to be addressed by the company (Graeme Drummond, John Ensor, Ruth Ashford 2008).
External environmental analysis will provide Barclays with a wider perspective on the future marketing objectives of the business. It concentrates on the future of the business. PEST analysis must be forward looking based on existing knowledge. It is in this way that you can establish objectives that will either counter the threats that you will face in the market or exploit the opportunities that you will find.
Barclays need to act socially responsible because this can give them competitive advantage through good media feedback and this will reflect on the way customers see the Barclays so reputation is important.
A successful marketing plan is all about gaining competitive advantage. It is therefore virtually important you do assess all of your options carefully (stone Phil 2001)