The four controllable factors of the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, and place) can be manipulated to develop an effective marketing plan, but what can companies do about the uncontrollable factors? Successful marketers focus on these aspects of marketing, as well.

The acronym, CERTS, represents the uncontrollable factors:

Uncontrollable Factors: CERTS

Uncontrollable Factors: CERTS

Competition. It is important for marketers to understand their competition’s marketing mix. This involves looking at what they are doing and how they go about doing it. This allows you to see what they could be doing better, and use that information within your marketing strategy. And depending on your size, you may be able to influence your competition when you make the most of your signature strengths.

Economy. The current economy must also be taken into consideration. Luxury items may not do as well in a hurting economy. You can see the opportunities available to offer the most affordable product. Your marketing strategy will need to be adjusted in order to maintain or increase your market position in challenging circumstances.

Regulations. Changes in current laws and regulation are also key factors for companies to keep into consideration. As laws and regulations change, what kinds of products are allowed, how they are produced, exporting and importing regulations, and shipping can change drastically. There could be barriers of trade, such as quotas restricting the amount of imports or tariffs that would affect the entire market and, perhaps, necessitate and complete change in strategy which to a nimble company can create new opportunities.

Technology. Having the latest technology can reduce costs, improve the quality of your product, and make marketing more effective. This can allow you to better target your customer, produce more efficiently, and create innovative products. As technology changes, your product or service may become obsolete, like the many manufacturers of buggy whips after the invention of the automobile. It is the role of marketers to monitor the marketplace and changing technology and to adapt to those changes.

Social. Marketing can be improved by paying attention to current social trends, such as concern for the environment and going “green”. Knowing what is most important to your customers will allow you to fine tune your marketing strategy to better target customers and create the kind of products and services they.

CERTS are the uncontrollable factors of marketing which cannot be changed or manipulated by companies to sell their products. These factors must be closely paid attention to and researched in order to best reach the target customers. If companies develop their marketing plan around these factors, they could market their products in a more effective manner.

The key strategy is to recognize and utilize the opportunities uncontrollable factors can bring for your company.