This paper seeks to provide a critical comparative analysis of two companies based in two countries. The companies to be analyzed are Toyota Motor Corporation headquartered in Japan and Apple, Inc headquartered in the United States. Both corporations have been through similar paths of expansion as well as faced similar challenges in their marketing environment. Often, marketing-orientated firms tend to look outwards of the environments in which they operate. This is seen as a way to maximize their opportunities as well as take advantage of emerging target market opportunities, thereby minimizing potential threats that may hinder their progress. Marketing environments do consist of forces that majorly affect a company’s production as well as marketing ability. This in turn hinders the flow of the company’s goods and/or services to the consumers. The marketing environment has two major classifications: the macro-environment and the micro-environment. The former consists of four main factors that affect not only the company, but also the micro-environment forces. These macro forces are political/legal, technological, economic and social/cultural. The micro-environment, on the other hand, comprises of forces which act within the company’s immediate or internal environment. These factors usually affect the company’s abilities in operating efficiently in its target market. They are competition, distribution and supply forces, and customers. In summary, the macro- and micro-environments seek the overall shaping of a company’s character, especially in finding opportunities and threats. This explains why these forces are largely uncontrollable.
Apple, Inc was founded by Steven Jobs and Wozniak Stephen in 1976. Since its inception, the company has revolutionized the computer industry, especially in the personal computers niche. It is considered as one of the most innovative companies in the computer industry due to the major transformations that have been achieved in the industry emanating from the firm. In fact, some of its products have been continuously used by other companies in designing their products; this has been due to their prowess in product specifications and physical designing. Apple’s market environment is shaped by both the macro- as well as micro-environment forces. For instance, legal structures and systems oblige the firm to comply with the United States law of regulations and standard. Indeed, any product manufactured at Apple must undergo comprehensive tests, evaluation, and monitoring in order to achieve the final accreditation for the specific product. Every procedure in such testing processes requires that the company injects massive resources in terms of money and workforce to ensure that they abide by the legal systems set up to monitor them. On economic forces, Apple has had to adjust to the situation of the economy in their market. For instance, due to their quite expensive models of personal computers, they found it efficient and sustainable to target the right group of consumers with the right economic outlook. This has made Apple incline its production processes to the manufacture of products that satisfy the upper end of students and professionals.
Technology-wise, Apple has been able to achieve much of what was previously thought impossible in the industry. Innovations in technology have played a critical role in increasing productivity as well as improving the ultimate value of their products. This has not been a problem for Apple as such because the United States environment seems to favor innovative structures, especially at both state and federal levels. Consequently, Apple has found it quite smooth in their paradigm technological shift. As with the culture aspect, the company has been able to map out the various preferences and tastes of its consumers, thereby acquiring crucial information it requires in creating specific products that match its consumers’ characteristics. This further dictates the longevity of the company in the industry. With the micro-environments forces, Apple has yet to find a major competitor since the existing ones are quite weak in their marketing strategies. However, Apple ensures that the challenge of competition is eliminated or minimized by sustaining low cost production processes. This serves the sole purpose of ensuring that the potential competitors will not have any marketing or production advantage over them. The issue of competition is continually addressed at Apple, affecting decisions at some stages in the production as well as marketing processes. This change in management decisions is meant to keep the company’s mission and vision on the track, thereby maintaining its sustainable growth.
Toyota Motor Corporation, established in 1937 in Japan, actively engages in the designing, manufacture, assembling, and sale of private as well as commercial vehicles. Just like Apple, Toyota is at the big league when it comes to the automotive industry. It is indeed the eighth largest as well as the leading automotive manufacturer globally. Toyota has had a tough business environment considering the industry in which it operates. For instance, in the last five years, it has had to embrace turbulent forces in its business. This is majorly because of the automotive industry characteristics (Harryson, 1998). The industry is often faced with challenges not only at the consumer level, but also at external levels including unstable fuel prices and increasing environmental concerns from regulatory bodies as well as consumers. Political forces have also majorly impacted on Toyota’s overall health, making it adjust decisions on its operations and management.
Good examples of this are the investigations that were carried out by the Japanese government in 2012. This was due to the alleged faultiness in some of Toyota’s vehicle brands. The investigations were mainly due to political forces, and it is likely that Toyota may have been heavily penalized as a result of these investigations. This also confirms the tough legal structures and systems in Japan that Toyota has to struggle with. Though it has tried as much as possible to keep abreast with the law, there are some instances when they have landed on the wrong side of it. On the economic scene, Toyota has had to struggle with declining sales in some of its critical market segments. This was especially witnessed in the financial year 2012, when it was observed that Asia, Europe and other regional sales had significantly declined. This could be a potential threat to the company’s profits and general revenues. Another economic challenge facing Toyota Motor Corporation is the Japanese Yen. Lately, the Yen has been appreciating at an almost exponential rate (Gelernter, 1997).
The firm has particularly been very sensitive to the foreign currency exchange rates. The apparent fluctuations in the Yen principally expose Toyota when it comes to its operating capital, which would consequently impact on the company’s overall valuation. Toyota also faces challenges internally when it comes to competition. Actually, the global automotive industry is considered intensely competitive. In the same vein, Toyota Motor Corporation faces intense competition from other major rivals, especially in its strongest market segments. This competition is most likely to continue since globalization and consolidation are in a continuous process worldwide. As a result, Toyota has considered adjusting its previous decisions to analyze the company in terms of reliability, fuel economy, development and innovation, pricing, and financing as well as customer service aspects (Mills, 2003). The increased competition has led to lower unit sales being recorded compared to previous financial years, threatening the sustainability of the financial condition of Toyota Motor Corporation.
Gelernter, D (1997). Machine beauty: elegance and the heart of technology, Basic Books, New York.
Harryson, S. (1998). Japanese technology and innovation management: From know-how to know-who. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Pub.
Mills, J. H. (2003). Making sense of organizational change. Routledge: New York.
Mirza, H. (1998). Global competitive strategies in the new world economy: Multilateralism, regionalization, and the transnational firm. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.