Nature and Geography: Tragic Voids within Marketing Textbooks and the External Business Environment

Nature and Geography: Tragic Voids within Marketing Textbooks and the External Business Environment

Brent Smith (Saint Joseph's University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9784-3.ch004


This chapter considers the appropriateness and importance of including the natural environment (i.e., nature and geography) as part of the external business environment featured in marketing textbooks. Based on myriad examples from industry, the natural environment is regarded as an uncontrollable force that constantly affects decisions about markets and marketing activities. Thus, it deserves some (greater) mention next to economic, competitive, regulatory, and other variables typically featured in most marketing textbooks. Based on a review of business news, industry concerns, and marketing textbooks, this chapter considers the current listing of uncontrollable environment forces typically discussed within twenty-five popular marketing textbooks. It is observed that nature and geography, common priorities for business decision makers, are conspicuously absent from mention within most of these textbooks. This chapter shows that the natural environment is mentioned in only five of twenty-five marketing textbooks: two introductory marketing; one marketing management; and two international marketing. Based on scholarly definitions and industry examples, nature and geography are, in fact, uncontrollable influential forces that affect markets and marketing activities. Consequently, there is reasonable cause for including them in more marketing textbooks. Textbook authors and instructors can provide students a more complete picture of how domestic and international markets and marketing activities are affected by the natural environment. In practice, business people acknowledge that the natural environment affects and is affected by markets and marketing activities in virtually all industries. Alas, marketing textbooks seldom little, if ever, acknowledge that nature and geography (e.g., topography, climate, weather, solar flares, natural disasters) affect how companies think about their markets and marketing mix. This chapter offers simple, actionable steps for discussing the natural environment in marketing textbooks and courses.
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Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu

Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same. – Ralph Waldo Emerson



Textbooks continue to serve as primary course material for undergraduate and graduates studying marketing principles, marketing strategy, and international marketing. Elbeck et al. (2009) state, “An instructor’s decision to adopt a particular textbook will influence the marketing knowledge, business major selection, and career choices of tens, if not hundreds of students” (p. 49). In their early chapters, marketing textbooks generally provide established frameworks for understanding the external business environment and its relationships to markets and marketing activities. The external business environment, or marketing environment, is a multidimensional set of uncontrollable forces that can influence how companies and consumers might behave. Marketing textbooks generally identify five dimensions of the external business environment (see Tables 1-3) with slightly varying terms, including:

Table 1.
Textbook coverage of nature/geography within external business environment
Textbook TitleElements Of External Business Environment
Focus: Marketing Principles
Marketing: An Introduction, 11th ed.
Armstrong and Kotler (2012)
Publisher: Pearson/Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0132744034
Contemporary Marketing, 15th ed.
Boone and Kurtz (2012)
Publisher: South-Western/Cengage ISBN-13: 978-1111221782
Marketing, 3rd ed.
Grewal and Levy (2011)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Irwin ISBN-13: 978-0078028830
Marketing, 11th ed.
Kerin, Hartley, and Rudelius (2012)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Irwin ISBN-13: 978-0078028892
Principles of Marketing, 15th ed.
Kotler and Armstrong (2013)
Publisher: Pearson/Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0133084047
MKTG, 7th ed.
Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel (2014)
Publisher: South-Western/Cengage ISBN-13: 978-1285091860
Marketing, 12th ed.
Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel (2013)
Publisher: South-Western/Cengage ISBN-13: 978-1111821647
Marketing 2012, 16th ed.
Pride and Ferrell (2012)
Publisher: South-Western/Cengage ISBN-13: 978-0538475402
Marketing: Real People, Real Choices, 7th ed.
Solomon, Marshall, and Stuart (2011)
Publisher: Pearson/Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0132176842

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