Magoosh GRE

Strategic Analysis (SWOT, Porter and PESTEL) of Goldman Sachs

| December 20, 2012




Goldman Sachs is a global investment banking, securities and investments managements  firm that provide financial services to a substantial and diversified client base, includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net worth individuals.

Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman who was a German immigrant to the United State of America (USA). Mr Goldman started his business as a Major issue of short-term loan (Commercial paper) to entrepreneurs in the USA. Goldman Sachs joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1896 and then in 1986 the firm joined London and Tokyo stock exchanges.

Goldman Sachs headquarters are located in New York and has offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centres around the world.

Goldman Sachs has around 35,700 employees, and the firm generated a total annual revenue of  $39.161 billion in 2010.The firm is  heavily  involved in recruiting top graduates from leading business schools around the world and most of its ex-employers are holding top management jobs in governments around the World.

Goldman Sachs Group in a nutshell 

INDUSTRY BankingFinancial Services   REVENUE(2010) $39.161 billion
FOUNDED 1869 OPERATING INCOME(2010) $12.892 billion
FOUNDER Marcus Goldman NET INCOME(2010) $8.354 billion
HEADQUARTERS New York City TOTAL ASSETS(2010) $911.000 billion
EMPLOYEES(2010) 35,700 TOTAL EQUITY(2010) $74.257 billion

Transition of the orientations

1.)  Pre-2007 Sales Orientation

Goldman Sachs is a service company which was more focused on Investment Banking activities, the firm had a huge reputation of being a risk taking company and not a customer focused company. The firm’s senior partner Guy Levy was once credited with a company’s philosophy  of being ‘long- term greedy’ Endlich, L. (1999)which simply meaning that the Goldman Sachs was more interested and focused in making money  over the long term and any trading losses in the short term were never to be worried about.

At Goldman Sachs customer were never been put into the centre of the company’s strategy, the firm was more focused on sales and profits. Jobber explained that

                ‘A sales-orientated company has little focus on customer needs and wants, and does not try hard to create products or services that are suitable for their customers needs’.

                Jobber, D. (2007)

This sales strategy had put Goldman Sachs into the highlight of the media during 2007, and the firm has been heavily criticised with many financial issues, the major issue being the America’s sub-prime mortgage crisis. Despite the mortgage crisis Goldman Sachs was able to profit from the collapse in subprime mortgage bonds by short-selling subprime mortgage -backed securities. The firm initially avoided large subprime write downs and achieved a net profit due to significant losses on non-prime securitised loans being offset by gains on short mortgage positions.(The telegraph) Its sizeable profits made during the initial subprime mortgage crisis led the New York Time to proclaim that Goldman Sachs is without peer in the world of finance. As the crisis was begun to unravel the firm’s image and  reputation was badly damaged to the extent that an article in The Telegraph Newspaper quoting  Rolling Stone magazine  compares   Goldman Sachs with nothing else but  a  ‘Vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money’(The telegra

2.) Current Marketing Orientation

Goldman Sachs realized that its sales approach didn’t do any good for the company and there is a crucial need to focus into a marketing orientation strategy. As one of the firm’s partners was quoted in the Telegraph saying that:

‘Only looking back could we see the real risk, the risk of arrogance. We didn’t see it then, but it was there and it was growing. The firm was at the top. We had always been the best         – always the top students and the best athletes and the class leaders. And now we were the best firm – in our self-appraisal. But that was the first step towards arrogance.’ (Wilson, H.(2010) The bank that thought it rules the world. The Daily Telegraph London. 19 April, pp 19)

According to Jobber, D, (2007) Marketing orientated companies are best described as those which focus on customer needs and do recognize when change is needed.

Goldman Sachs is currently trying hard to clean up its image and is more focused into marketing, society and ethical issues. The firm is more involved into helping and giving back to the society that it has once been involved on damaging. The firm has understood the importance of consumer right issues and it has been stressed by Jobber that:

          ‘Consumer has the right to expect the product to be safe, for its performance to be as         expected and for communication of the product to be truthful and not misleading’.

        Jobber, D. (2007)

Jobber’s words above can be linked into the quote from Goldman Sachs website saying that:

 Goldman Sachs as a global financial institution has understood the need to protect,         preserve and promote human right around the world and has accepted that it is   their responsibility to bring positive impact on economic, social and environmental     challenges that are facing society today.( Goldman Sachs web site).

Goldman Sachs has 14 clear operating business principles that outlined on the company’s website with a slogan saying ‘Progress is everyone’s business ‘.But it has given more emphasise to its very first business principle as being the value to their client,

’our client interest always comes first, our experience shows that if we serve our clients               well, our own success will follow’  {After the diagram the above looked odd, so we can replace the above highlighted part with the one below, }

Goldman Sachs has 14 operating business principles listed on their website. We have handpicked few of them which we think will play a very important role in their current marketing orientation.

{Feel free to add/edit any principle which you think is more relevant}

 Strees On Teamwork

Other 13th Goldman Sachs Business principles  are as follow;

  • Our assets are our people, capital and reputation
  • Our goal is to provide superior returns to our shareholders
  • We take great pride in the professional quality of our work
  • We stress creativity and imagination in everything we do
  • we make an unusual effort to identify and recruit the very best person for the job
  • we offer our people th opportunity to move ahead more rapidly than is possible at most other places
  • we stress teamwork in everything we do.
  • The dedication of our people
  • We consider our size an asset that we try hard to preserve
  • We constantly strive to anticipate the rapidly changing needs of our clients and to develop new service to meet those needs
  • We regularly receive confidential information as part of our normal client relationships
  • Our business is highly competitive, and we  aggressively seek to expand our client relationships
  • integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business.

{References for these and a better way of presenting them}


 (Wilson, H.(2010) The bank that thought it rules the world. The Daily Telegraph London. 19 April, pp 19).

Arlidge, J.(2009) I’m doing ‘God’s work’ meet Mr Goldman Sachs. The Sunday Times on line. 8 November, Visited on 12 March 2011.


Jobber D.(2007) Principles and Practice of Marketing. Mc Graw Hill. 5th edition.

Endlich, L (1999) Goldman Sachs- The culture of success. Little brown & Company.

Section 2 – Audit of the Organization

Defining Marketing Audit 

In words of David Jobber-

‘ The marketing audit is a systematic examination of a business’s marketing environment , objectives, strategies  and activities with a view to identifying key strategic issues, problem areas and opportunities.’

The Aim of Marketing Audit

  • It will provide us with an in depth view of existing marketing practices used by Goldman Sachs.
  • It can be used as a baseline for performance measurements to maximize positive external perception.
  • As the customers’ preferences and requirement keep on changing and so are the marketing trends, it will provide us an interim report card on the company’s performance level.
  • It will highlight the key problem areas like Weaknesses and Threats for Goldman Sachs and can help invent strategies to overcome them by using their strengths and possible opportunities.
  • It will help to assess the importance of macroeconomic factors by analyzing the extent of their impact on Goldman Sachs’s operating scenario.

Understanding Marketing Environment for Goldman Sachs at Micro and Macro Levels

It is very important that an organization considers its environment before beginning the marketing process. In fact, environmental analysis should be continuous and feed all aspects of planning. The organization’s marketing environment is made up of:


‘It is the immediate environment that affects its capability to operate efficiently in its chosen markets’. Jobbers 

Following are the main components of Goldman Sachs Microenvironment

The Companies Internal Environment
Goldman Sachs is extremely selective when it comes to the resources. It is a well known fact they employ the Best Brains in the Industry and their resources are claimed to be one of the main assets that the Company has, the other 2 being capital and reputation.

Goldman Sachs believes that by broadening its supplier base it will gain access to new ideas, increase competition and receive better value for money. To qualify as a vendor to Goldman Sachs, prospective suppliers are evaluated on several criteria, including:

  • quality products and services
  • excellent customer service
  •  competitive pricing
  •  ability to assist us in meeting our business goals
  • environmental and social impact.

Goldman Sachs customers include high-net-worth individuals, Corporations, Financial Institutions, Institutional Investment Consultants, Insurance Companies Multi-Employer/Union Benefit Plans, Not-for-Profit Institutions, Public Pension Funds.

The major direct market competitors for Goldman Sachs include JPMorgan Chase & Co, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley whereas; Bank of America Securities LLC, Deutsche Bank AG etc also compete with Goldman Sachs in terms of Investment Banking.

The macro-environment


It comprises of a number of broader forces that affect not only Goldman Sachs but other microeconomic factors corresponding to the firm.

The components are

Demographic forces/ Social/Cultural Forces
Consideration of demographic changes is a commendable exhibition of business farsightedness by Goldman Sachs. A lot of vigilance and effort has been incorporated to enumerate the consequences of possible changes regarding to the population like the purchasing drifts, spending patterns, inclination towards certain specific classes of financial services.

Also, Goldman Sachs strives to leverage what it calls the most underutilized asset for any country –women. “Womenomics” demonstrates how a country can unleash its economic potential – and increase its long-term growth and prosperity – by employing more women and narrowing the employment gap between men and women.

Economic Forces
These factors would include changes in interest rates, unemployment, inflation overall economic growth and exchange rates. All these factors have a significant impact on the performance of Goldman Sachs.

Political Forces
Goldman Sachs’s close connection with the US government has been an issue of economists’ concern since the Wall Street Subprime Incidence of 2007. A Lot of employees of Goldman Sachs were appointed by the US Government at powerful posts of Treasury and Federal Reserve Players.

Macro-environment (cont.)

Technological Forces
The technology infrastructure for Goldman Sachs is indeed sound having in view its impact on the cost and the quality of the services offered to the clients. ‘Our technology footprint is primarily driven by business growth and regulatory obligations’.

Goldman Sachs is bound to use the latest technology like computers with fast microprocessors to meet the computational requirements and to provide internet based services to their clients. However, compliance of maintaining standard technology footprints is one of the major responsibilities that cannot be over ruled.

  • Natural Forces

Global Warming, Climate Changes, renewable energy issues, carbon footprint and attention to clean energy are some of the natural forces that require attention from the environmental point of view. Goldman Sachs’ Environmental Policy Framework embodies their commitment to finding effective, market-based solutions to address climate change, ecosystem degradation and other critical environmental issues, and to creating new business opportunities that benefit the environment.

The above diagram shows the carbon emissions from Goldman Sachs hub offices, central offices and data centers.

  • The firm has tried to maintain its carbon emissions in the central and hub offices.
  • The data centers show an increased carbon emission every year, the same is accounted for elevated computational requirements and internet services for the clients.


‘A critical set of steps in a planning exercise is to perform internal assessments (including an analysis of performance against previous plan) and external assessments (including an analysis of the operating environment) that result in the identification of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities.’


               Environmental Factors 




Own/Internal Factors

External Opportunities – International Expansion- Emerging Markets- Cross Selling Opportunities

– Industry Consolidation

– Reduced Competition- rivals bankruptcy


External Threats– Credit Market Crisis- High attrition Rates- Mortgage Issues

– Increase in Interest Rates

– Government Intervention


Own Strengths -Global Market Leader, Brand Establishment-International Reach-Best Brains & resource infrastructure

-Innovative Work Culture

-Government Support


SO Strategies-International Expansion in emerging markets.-Using Government Support for Industry Consolidation SE Strategies– Risk/Crisis Management Measures using the resource intellect-Security Planning against Subprime Mortgage.
Own Weaknesses – Concentrated in Few Key Products-High Attrition Rates-Blotted Public Image (Subprime Mortgage Fraud)

– Low perception of Social Responsibility


OW Strategies -Diversification of the products-Education, social investments, community involvement TW Strategies -Increased job security for resources-Using Government support to survive the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.



Being in a leading position and the brand value that it has earned in the market have brought many benefits to Goldman Sachs.

– Higher margins, because it charges premium prices for goods since customers perceive a higher standard of quality from companies with strong brands.

-Ability to raise debt at lower cost.

-Because of its established Brand Image, Goldman Sachs has a more stable business than its competitors and is more likely to acquire other businesses as opportunities.

  • International Reach

The international reach of Goldman Sachs has a big advantage over rivals especially when its clients conduct a lot of business in different countries.

For instance, majority of business travellers need to access their money in another country. They prefer a bank/investment firm that has branches in that country, rather than working with a third party, which will increase they fees and lower their productivity.  Global access of Goldman Sachs means that a consumer from one country can feel comfortable banking at any of its branch across the world.

Non global companies can’t match these advantages; therefore, Goldman Sachs has strong advantages over rivals.

  • Best Brains and strong resource infrastructure

According to Warren Buffett, ‘Goldman has the best brains in the business.’ This statement implies that they have a better risk management, quicker and more effective action on the opportunities received and a strong market position.

The recent most evidence is that even ‘Subprime Mortgage Meltdown’ case with the SEC and the new financial regulation reform has failed to dent these assets.

In addition to having the best people, Goldman Sachs has a clear, well distributed corporate structure.


  • Finance
  • Global Compliance
  • Global Investment Research
  • Human Capital Management
  • Internal Audit
  • Investment Banking
  • Investment Management
  • Legal
  • Merchant Banking/Private Equity
  • Operations
  • Securities
  • Services
  • Technology

Advisory Services

  • Insurance Strategy
  • Global Portfolio Solutions
  • Customized Beta Strategies
  • Innovative Culture

Goldman Sachs strives to maintain an innovative culture which effects production of new and inventive products. An innovative culture has helped in boosting Goldman Sachs’ brand value, because consumers start associating its brand name with the latest products.

These products, besides providing the brand boost, have helped Goldman Sachs to stay competitive in the ever expanding markets.

Possessing the best quality product in one segment directly helps Goldman Sachs to gain a better market share in that segment.


  • Concentrated in Few Key Products/key clients

The fact that Goldman Sachs lacks diversification is considerably risky, because if one or more of its main products collapses, then the business could face serious issues or maybe even bankruptcy.

Also, loss of one client who is using multiple services of Goldman Sachs would eventually lead to loss of a considerable amount of business to it.

  • Low perception of Social Responsibility/ Blotted Public Image

As per the ranking released by Fortune, Goldman Sachs stands 7th in the Social Responsibility which depicts the fact that it undermines social cause to a large extent when compared to other aspects of business like People Management and Financial Soundness where it ranks 1st and second respectively.

  • The Subprime Mortgage Incidence/ SEC lawsuit against Goldman Sachs

April 16, 2010, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for selling an asset to banks whose returns depended on a group of home mortgages being repaid by home loan borrowers.

The alleged fraud foundation laid in the fact that Goldman Sachs did not inform the banks that those specific subprime mortgages were recommended by another Goldman Sachs customer. And that same customer planned to bet against the same mortgages ever being paid by the home loan borrowers.

The public stance for this fraud was

-Hosting a poker game for your friends knowing the dealer was bringing stacked cards and not at least informing your friends of the dealer’s intention.


  • International Expansion

Strong international presence and expansion should increase growth and profits. Expansion over abroad brings synergies to a company, because they would have a larger customer base. Expansion leads to more financial stability, because while one country may suffer economically, other countries may not have the same issues. Additionally, expansion could help a company discover synergies in marketing expenses and new ideas – through experimentation – that may work well in one market.

  • Emerging Markets

Demand from emerging markets is helping growth and margins. Emerging markets create new opportunities to expand products from the developed world. Paper products, computer services and other industries will all benefit as emerging countries increase demand for industrial and agricultural products.

  • Cross Selling Opportunities

Goldman Sachs has many related business lines; they have the opportunity to cross sell to consumers who arrive for one specific need, but leave with many different products and services. Cross selling is particularly lucrative, because it will allow Goldman Sachs to earn extra money from consumers without having to specifically target them with advertising or other promotional material.


  • Consolidating Industry

Goldman Sachs provides advice on a diverse range of strategic transactions, including mergers, sell-side and buy-side advisories, leveraged buy-outs, joint ventures, strategic alliances, anti-raid and raid defenses, fairness opinions and spin-offs, split-offs, divestitures and other restructurings.

Goldman Sachs has been offering its merger advisory services since 1997. Some of its major instances are listed below -:

  • Altria, on its spin-off of Philip Morris International ($113bn), 2008
  • Pfizer, on its acquisition of Wyeth ($64bn), 2009
  • Schering-Plough, on its sale to Merck & Co. ($46bn), 2009

  • Reduced Competition after Wall Street Collapse

Reduced competition from an economic slowdown and competitor bankruptcies should increase the profit margins of all firm who avoid bankruptcy. Less competition means higher prices and more money for remaining competitors.

Include any journal reference for this incidence


  • Credit Market Crisis

‘Goldman Sachs had slumped into the red and its effort to defy the credit crunch had been futile. It revealed a fourth-quarter loss of $2.12bn (£1.38bn) today. It still achieved a $2.32bn profit for the full year to November, but this was sharply lower than last year’s $11.6bn.’

The credit market crisis increases the cost of borrowing for financial firms. This increasing cost lowers margins and decreases the free cash flow to shareholders. As free cash flow rises, so does the value of the firm. If costs are high, then loan growth slows down and further weakens cash flow for the business.

  • Risk of High Attrition Rates

High attrition rates can be a problem, especially if Goldman Sachs’ best talent is leaving for other opportunities. Employee attrition means a company must go through the expense of hiring new employees, training those employees, and finding the right niche for them in an organization. When these employees move to other firms, they take their knowledge and expertise with them.

  • Mortgage Issues

Though Goldman Sachs managed to escape the Subprime Mortgage Crisis,  still the potential threat of losses on outstanding mortgage obligations could force bankruptcy and a government takeover. This means that the existing equity investments in the Goldman Sachs will stand worthless.

Mortgage loans are not worth what was paid for them, but their value remains uncertain in the market. Apart from increasing uncertainty risk for the company, they also increase the discount rate applied to future cash flow. Thus the net value of the stock is reduced.

  • Sharp Rise in Interest Rates

A sharp rise in interest rates (most likely to stop inflation) seriously damages the profit margins of businesses like Goldman Sachs that rely on raising money to finance their expenses. A rise in rates would most likely hurt the financial sector, which profits from borrowing money at low rates and lending it out at higher rates.


PEST analysis stands for ‘Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis’ and describes a framework of macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component of strategic management.

It is a part of the external analysis when conducting a strategic analysis or doing market research, and gives an overview of the different macro environmental factors that a company has to take into consideration

Political Factors.

The political arena has a huge influence upon the regulation of businesses, and the spending power of consumers and other businesses.

US Government and Goldman Sachs

1-      There can be no doubt that Goldman owes its uncanny success as much to its political connections as to its financial acumen. As long as that remains the case, Goldman will doubtless remain on top, to the perplexity of those who fail to grasp the significance of the Goldman Sachs-D.C. pipeline. Only by restoring the wall of separation between Wall Street and Washington, forcing investment firms like Goldman Sachs to stand or fall on their own merits, can America’s financial sector shake off the taint of political cronyism that men like Sidney Weinberg were happy to encourage.

2-      As the New York Times explained last October, the presence of Goldman Sachs alumni in virtually all of the top government financial posts is so great that their team is dubbed “Government Sachs”.

The New York Times pointed out that Goldman alums include:

  • Former treasury secretary Hank Paulson
  • Paulson’s bailout chief Neel Kashkari
  • Interim Treasury investment officer Reuben Jeffrey
  • Key Treasury players Dan Jester, Steve Shafran, Edward C. Forst, and Robert K. Steel

Economic Factors.

For a firm like Goldman Sachs which focuses on international marketing, the marketers need to consider the state of a trading economy both in the short and long-terms.

1.) Implications of Inflation in US and UK

-The investors belief in US is that unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus can lead to US Dollar depreciation and higher inflation.

– In the United Kingdom, the investors fear that the bank of England’s reluctance to raise the interest rates might act as a catalyst for inflation.

Inflation is the greatest concern when we talk about investments like pension funds and related endowments.

Current Goldman Sachs strategy for these countries- Inflation Linked bonds

Inflation linked bonds, also termed as ‘linkers’ are high quality securities issues mostly by governments that provide income and total return which adjusts itself to keep up with the inflation rates.

Inflation-linked bonds, such as US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) and UK inflation-linked Gilts, can help hedge this risk because their principal is adjusted to reflect changes in inflation.

Following is an illustration of how inflation linked bonds will provide the return, taking principal amount of 100 million Dollars.

  1. Implications for unemployment  –

The impact of unemployment on the performance of Goldman Sachs can be understood with a simple example that if any firm is running at its full capacity, there is more pricing power for business.

If there are no unemployed workers, Goldman Sachs will have to pay more to hire a worker away from someone else, often called ‘Poaching’.

So far, Goldman Sachs has been quite accurate in its predictions regarding the unemployment scenario. Below are the illustrations.

  1. 2.       Long-term prospects for the economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita


The Goldman Sachs Commerce Department timely reviews the current economic environment, tailwinds that could support the recovery and potential risks for the economy. Then it provides a summary of our projections for the economy in the coming year.


Sociocultural Factors.

The social and cultural influences on business vary from country to country. It is very important that such factors are considered. Factors include:

Investing in a clean energy future

Each of our businesses has an important role to play in furthering market-based solutions to meet the environmental and societal challenges we face. To encourage the responsible flow of capital, have a positive impact on the communities where our clients and we do business, and drive attractive returns for our shareholders, we look for opportunities to invest in and finance transactions that have social and environmental benefits. We take the same disciplined approach to these investments and market opportunities as we do with our traditional investments and markets: all must meet the interests of our clients and generate long-term value for our shareholders. The guidance provided by our Framework

helps us to evaluate market opportunities across our business activities and areas. Since the inception of the Framework in November 2005, we have invested nearly $3 billion in clean energy, providing critical funding that these emerging industries need to ramp up and achieve the economies of scale that will help them become cost-competitive.

In 2009, we:

• Significantly expanded our investments in solar energy with the acquisition of Sunray Energy, Inc., through our subsidiary Cogentrix Energy. Sunray owns and operates Solar Energy Generation Systems I and II (SEGS I & II), the first two utility scale solar trough plants in the world, which have a capacity of approximately 43 megawatts and deliver electricity to Southern California Edison. We are in the process of implementing a capital investment program to retrofit and upgrade the delivery capability that will enhance the efficiency and reliability of Sunray’s solar installations.

• Signed a power purchase agreement to construct and operate a wind project in Puerto Rico. The power plant will have a capacity of 50 megawatts.

• Continued to develop run-of-river hydroelectric projects. As a result of the ongoing developments, we recently completed our first run-of-river hydroelectric generating plant that has 23 megawatt capacity. Three additional run-of-river hydroelectricity projects are under development totaling 165 megawatts.

• Continued to actively pursue solar development projects in the southwest U.S., which have enabled us to put into an advanced stage of development 120 megawatts of solar energy as of mid‑2010.

• Increased our investments in solar photovoltaic cell manufacturers Suniva and SpectraWatt, building on our initial investments in 2008.

• Became a founding member of the Green Exchange™ venture, which trades environmental futures, options and swap contracts for markets focused on solutions to climate, renewable energy and other environmental challenges. This new exchange offers effective and innovative financial tools to consumers, industrials, project developers, investors and others who wish to participate in these developing markets. This builds on earlier investments that aim to build market infrastructure for environmental commodities, such as APX and Markit.


Technological Factors.

Technology is vital for competitive advantage, and is a major driver of globalization.

Managing technology footprint

Goldman Sachs takes a multifaceted approach to sustainability with our technology, a

significant component of their operations. Our technology footprint is primarily driven by

business growth (the need for more computation) and regulatory obligations. In response,

we have adopted three principles that help us make commercially sound decisions while

minimizing our environmental impact.


1. Influence vendors to provide products and approaches that reduce or maintain

levels of energy consumption and/or increase utilization, including:

• Lower energy-demand computer chips.

• V irtualization software for increased utilization. We also encourage companies to

invest in virtualization to foster market competition and increased functionality.

• Denser, high-performance disks.

• More efficient network switches and increased use of PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology.


2. Influence engineered solutions that maximize resource efficiency:

• Encourage hardware manufacturers to reduce system-wide energy use.

• Encourage more energy-efficient hardware designs, such as variable speed fans and

power systems that distribute resilience at appropriate levels.

• Work with established and start-up vendors to develop functionality to support the

management of technology capacity across compute farms, extending the capability of

our global server footprint.

• Increase the use of employee-owned remote-access technology (handheld, home office

or laptop) for corporate purposes through investment in Software as a Service, desktop

virtualization and enterprise security.

• Make significant investments in our virtual desktop infrastructure to:

» Reduce power and cooling needs.

» Reduce the need for dedicated remote access servers, workstations and laptops for

Business Continuity Planning.

» Increase trading floor seating density to reduce the overall number of floors and

associated power costs.


3. Drive internal behavior to incorporate sustainability firm wide by:


• Defining a system architecture that significantly increases utilization.

• Designing a Holistic Data Center that minimizes energy requirements at any given

level of business function.

• Reducing server purchases and related energy consumption by using the contingency

of our server farms to offset ad hoc demand, managing their capacity to maximize

utilization and applying an upgrade-in-place philosophy.

• Including space and energy consumption in the managed costs of our servers.

• Implementing a structured server reuse program, instead of automatically discarding

old servers and upgrading to new ones

COGENTRIX-  generating power more efficiently

Cogentrix is a Goldman Sachs subsidiary and a US-based independent power producer.

As of 2009 year-end, Cogentrix had minority interests in 13 power plants and full ownership

in four plants. The portfolio consists of a balanced mix of power facilities, including

highly efficient gas-fired combined-cycle, rapid-start peaking, solar thermal and more

efficient coal-fired power plants. Together these plants have a total generation capacity of

approximately 3,350 megawatts.

Analysis of the Marketing Mix

Marketing’s purpose is ‘the achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations better than the competition’ (Jobber, 2007).  Goldman Sachs is classified as a company whose services are directed at intangible assets (Lovelock, 1983). The service industry augments the marketing mix, the tool used in achieving customer satisfaction and competitive advantage, above the traditional 4p’s of Product, Price, Place and Promotion with People, Physical Experience and Process.  An effective marketing mix should be well blended; matching customer needs with corporate resources and create a competitive advantage.  We will identify, describe and evaluate Goldman Sachs’ effectiveness in key areas as they relate to our own internal and external audit.

Spotts and Weinberger (2008) identified that corporations with high brand evaluations are more susceptible to publicity, both positive and negative.  This publicity has a direct effect on the Corporate Brand Opinion and the Corporate Reputation.  Fortune (2011) magazine lists Goldman Sachs in the top 50 most admired companies.  Therefore, the negative publicity Goldman Sachs received in the wake of the global financial crisis should cause some concern for the effect on its corporate reputation.  Being referred to as a ‘vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity’ is not a sign of positive brand opinion.

Analysis of the Marketing Mix (cont.)

Goldman Sachs long standing company and brand history allow it weather the effects of the crisis well.  However, they have not ignored the potential problems of continued bad publicity and have launched a new set of marketing efforts in response.  On Fortune’s list, Goldman Sachs was top two in their industry in all categories (innovation, people, global strategy, etc.) except for social responsibility, where they ranked seventh out of ten.  Their new marketing efforts specifically target this deficiency and encompass key pieces of the marketing mix, while meeting corporate goals.


Goldman Sachs has changed its product offering to include more socially responsible initiatives.  They have expanded their core competency of business advising to include environmental markets and their core competency of asset management to include emerging markets.  In addition, Goldman Sachs has opened a range of services in the United States under the heading ‘Citizenship’.  These services include investment and development for women and small business owners, respectively titled the ’10,000 Women’ and ’10,000 Small Businesses’ initiatives.  The company also no longer offers securitised derivatives in the United States.

Environmental Market Services
Traditionally, marketing using the environment has been primarily in the manufacturing industries.  Recently, there has been a gradual shift in emphasis of green advertising from business to consumer buyers (Leonidou and Leonidou, 2009 ) placing a higher importance on service firms like Goldman Sachs to respond to the pressures from government and other stakeholders.

Goldman Sachs Environmental Markets Group deals with all facets of environment and business.  They invest in clean energy companies, trade in environmental commodities, offer environmental advisement, and insure their own company meets environmental standards.

Goldman Sachs also has a set of guidelines they use for every deal or transaction they undertake.  These guidelines are referred to as the ‘Environmental Framework’.  The first line on that section of the website states that ‘a healthy global environment supports the growth of economies and communities’.   We note that economic growth is listed before communal growth.

Effective marketing must meet company objectives.  The new products in Environmental Markets align with the corporate slogan ‘Progress is Everyone’s Business’ and meet the corporate objective of wealth building through effective investment.  Our concern is that while these services are designed to increase Goldman Sachs corporate reputation, they do not directly address the true reason for the low scores in social responsibility.  Goldman Sachs complicity in securitising predatory mortgages and subsequent complacency after realising the financial dangers is why the public rates them as an irresponsible company.  We recommend that in addition to the offer of environmental advising services, that Goldman Sachs install new metrics to rate the effectiveness in public opinion of the firm.

Asset Management Emerging Markets
Goldman Sachs has begun expanding their asset management business into emerging markets such as India and China.  In the United States, giving economic assistance to these nations is a common way of appearing socially responsible.  However, while assisting newly developing countries with investment advising is seen as culturally helpful, Goldman Sachs new services are targeted only at the wealthiest individuals in the country.

Product (cont.)

Asset management is most easily described as full service investment advice.  Goldman Sachs efforts are primarily focused on reaching out to current advisors in the emerging markets, and training them on Goldman Sachs products and services.  This type of expansion is much different than investing in the regions.

In our analysis, we identified wealth management and global presence as strengths for Goldman Sachs already.  Therefore, while these new services are useful for Goldman Sachs to increase profit, they do little to address the weaknesses or threats that the corporation faces.  We recommend that they continue to offer asset management in emerging markets, but do not consider them an effective part of their new marketing strategy.  One of the key definitions of a service firm is that the product is variable.  This variability needs to be carefully controlled when dealing with foreign markets.  We caution Goldman Sachs to be cognisant that investment regulations may be looser in emerging markets and to maintain their focus on being cautious and responsible with customer’s investments.

10,000 Women
Goldman Sachs has taken a recent interest in changing their male dominated employee and customer image.  They have increased the number of female Managing Directors by 12% from 2001 to 2009 (Fortune, 2011) and have begun an investment and education initiative in woman owned businesses in the United States and around the globe, referred to as the ’10,000 Women’ programme.

10,000 women is a five year initiative that combines business investing with education.  Goldman Sachs has partnered with 70 academic and non-profit organisations to provide education and funding to women in business.  It reflects an overall corporate commitment to diversity and support of economic growth in underappreciated markets.

The 10,000 Women initiative directly addresses the weaknesses we identified of not having a diverse product set.  Though they are reaching a different demographic than usual, they remain in line with the company objectives of investment and progress.  We recommend that Goldman Sachs continue the 10,000 Women programme.

10,000 Small Businesses
Growth in the small business sector has a direct positive effect on the overall economy.  Over 60% of all new jobs in the United States are in small businesses (U.S. Economic Census, 2007).  In a similar initiative to the 10,000 Women (both under the ‘Citizenship’ banner), Goldman Sachs is also investing heavily in United States Small businesses.

Product (cont.)

The 10,000 Small Businesses program includes several dimensions.  It includes investment in local academic institutions for practical business education to the selected owners.  It also includes Goldman Sachs directly providing capital to the approved small businesses to help them grow and develop.  Goldman Sachs will also offer advising to any small businesses that are a part of the initiative in order to help them maximise profitability.

10,000 Small Businesses diversifies Goldman Sachs product offerings as recommended in the SWOT Analysis.  Also, small businesses account for 64% of the layoffs in the current recession (U.S. Economic Census, 2007) so these services directly affect a demographic that was negatively impacted by the credit crisis.  In addition, it also follows the Goldman Sachs corporate objectives.  We recommend they continue with the 10,000 Small Businesses.

Goldman Sachs lists the 10,000 Small Businesses and 10,000 Women under the category of ‘Citizenship’.  This category is primarily made up of philanthropic initiatives.  However, neither of these measures is purely philanthropic as there is an expected return on the investment that Goldman Sachs is making.  It is confusing to consumers when a service product is listed with the charitable causes.  We strongly recommend that Goldman Sachs move these two programmes under the title of ‘Services’ moving forward so they are not falsely misinterpreted as charities.

Securitised Derivatives
One of the largest culprits in the recent financial crisis was securitised derivatives that were financed with sub-prime mortgages (New York Times, 2007).  Goldman Sachs was an active trader in securitised derivatives and as we looked at before, their participation is the main reason for their low image of corporate responsibility.  By no longer offering securitised derivatives in the United States (they are still available in some EU countries, though presumably not financed with sub-prime mortgages) Goldman Sachs is directly changing their service offering to be more socially responsible.  Bloomberg (2010) is concerned that Goldman Sachs is only changing this publicly as a way to clean its image.  We recommend that Goldman Sachs continue to be responsible in their investments and not offer high risk investments in the United States.

Goldman Sachs has effectively developed several products that address the weaknesses we identified.  If these services are carried out in a responsible way and conform to our recommendations, they will have a net positive effect on Goldman Sachs overall corporate image.  However, if this new product set is treated merely as a quick image fix, their effectiveness will be lost and the impact could potentially end up more negative than before.


In conjunction with their new service products, Goldman Sachs has also changed the way they approach promotion.  We know that a traditional promotion mix includes advertising, internet/interactive marketing, publicity or public relations, sales promotion, word of mouth promotion, and personal selling.  A successful Integrated Marketing Approach aligns all these communication efforts with corporate goals (Schulz, 2004).

New Campaign
Prior to 2010, Goldman Sachs relied almost exclusively on word of mouth and personal selling because of the nature of their products.  In September of 2010, they launched a new campaign utilising more traditional mass media.  They launched their first television, magazine, newspaper and online advertisements. According to David Wells, spokesman for Goldman Sachs, the new campaign is ‘expanding our communication to a broader audience in an effort to promote a better understanding of who we are and what we do’. From this, we can infer that their advertising objectives are to create awareness and correct misconceptions.

Print, Television, Online
The newspaper, magazine and online advertisements are all focused on the new service product in the Environmental Markets.  They feature a field of wind turbines juxtaposed with a man in a hard hat.  The headline is the aforementioned slogan ‘Progress is Everyone’s Business’ and a description of how investments in clean energy lead to job creation.  The message appeals to the feelings and emotions as well as the logical, rational minds of consumers.

The television advertisement however, is completely different in tone.  It appeals primarily to the feelings and emotions.  It features artistic, black and white shots of men and women in various outdoor scenes punctuated by a clear ball with a glowing interior.  The voice over mentions concepts like, ‘security’, ‘heart’ and ‘focus’.  The ad concludes with a call to visit the Goldman Sachs website.

The Goldman Sachs website functions as part of the promotional mix and is designed to feature further detail on all of their products and services.  When first logging on to the website, the first page says ‘Progress is Everyone’s Business’ and features links to what Goldman calls ‘Stories of Progress’.  These stories are about investments that revitalised urban areas, or helped launch small businesses. Also on the website, a customer can view extended video advertisements describing the ’10,000 small businesses’ initiative, or read a vivid brochure about ’10,000 women’ on their micro sites.  The Environmental Markets micro site gives a full description of all their services as well as links to Case Studies and Environmental Reports on the company for each year.

Promotion (cont.)

Summary and Recommendations
Goldman Sachs developed these new campaigns as part of a revamped promotional mix in an effort to create a better understanding of who they are as a company.  The campaigns are focused around the new products and are designed to increase public and ultimately brand opinion.  We feel that independently, each campaign has strengths.  The print campaign effectively promotes their new product diversity and appeals to consumers in multiple ways.  The television advertisement is striking and designed to stand out amongst the noise.  It also rightfully drives people to the website.  The Goldman Sachs website is informative and entertaining, creates a strong brand image and promotes the new products in an easy to navigate layout.

However, successful integrated marketing aligns all three of these.  The print and television advertisements are disparate and unrelated.  The print ad does not support website traffic.  The primary weaknesses that we identified in our SWOT analysis are a lack of product diversity and poor public image.  Goldman Sachs has created the diverse and socially responsible products, and we recommend that their promotional campaign highlight those particular products in an integrated way.  The television, print and website should all highlight the Environmental Markets, ’10,000 women’ and ’10,000 small businesses’.  If they are all aligned and designed in support of each other, it will help inform consumers about these products and create the awareness, correct the misconceptions and ultimately raise the Corporate Brand Opinion of Goldman Sachs.


Because the customer and the service provider must interact for the service to happen, the customer satisfaction is mostly dependent on the service provider (Fisk, 2008).   Therefore an essential ingredient to any service provision is the use of appropriate staff and people. Recruiting the right staff and training them appropriately in the delivery of their service is essential if the Goldman Sachs wants to obtain a competitive advantage.  Tierney et al (2003) stated that ‘the best service companies understand that their people are their only products’. Consumers make judgments and deliver perceptions of the service based on the employees they interact with.

We identified Goldman Sachs employees as one of their top strengths in our audit.  According to Fortune (2011), Goldman Sachs has an unusually thorough hiring process that may include up to ten interviews.  The recruiting stresses creativity and teamwork.  We also previously noted that Warren Buffet referred to them as the ‘Best Brains’ in the business.  In addition, most of Goldman Sachs’ 14 business principles are focused on the handling and diversity of its people.

Goldman Sachs places an emphasis on employing people who will reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which it operate. According to Vault/InRoads Guide to Corporate Diversity (2010), they engage in minority outreach programs, providing scholarships for university and business school students, and diversity leadership training for its current employees.

At this point, it seems that Goldman Sachs continues to effectively recruit, train and hire.  It’s important that they maintain the ability to employ the best people, but we see no current threat to them losing their hold on the top personnel in the United States financial services industry.

As part of the inseparability of service provider and customer, Fisk goes on to say that customers are often a co-producer of the service rendered.  Therefore it is paramount that Goldman Sachs engages the diverse people that their new service products are designed for as those customers are critical to the success.

We believe that Goldman Sachs has effectively segmented the consumers most in need of their services and developed investment and education products to suit their needs.  For example, the company initiated a group of women dealing with small businesses with the aim of raising a shared economic growth.  From the ’10,000 women’ micro site: ‘Investing in women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth. Investing in education for women has a significant multiplier effect, leading to more productive workers, healthier and better-educated families, and ultimately to more prosperous communities’.   As long as they continue to reach the right people, they will successfully increase the perception of corporate social responsibility.

Place, Process and Physical Evidence

The service setting and service process are less important in Goldman Sachs business than product, promotion and people.  Yet it is important to note that the place, process and physical evidence have changed in accordance with the new products.

Order Takers
Goldman Sachs place used to be unknown to most of their customers.  The service process took place over the phone or email.  At the rare times that a customer needed to meet face to face, they would physically go to a Goldman Sachs branch.

As they have launched a new product and promotion effort, Goldman Sachs has also changed the place, process and physical location that they do business.  There is a much larger element of pro-active selling than there was before.

Client Engagement
As a part of the new initiatives, Goldman Sachs service providers are spending more time engaging clients face to face.  The Environmental Markets campaign requires representatives from Goldman Sachs to visit every business they are considering investing in or advising.  The 10,000 Women has Goldman Sachs employees giving seminars and participating in outreach programs to encourage attendance in the academic pieces of the initiative.  10,000 Small Businesses is similar in the fact that it now requires Goldman Sachs employees to actively seek out small business investments.  In addition, the company’s overall service process has transitioned more to meeting customers as opposed to phone sales.

The transition from order taker, to outside sales firm is one that we completely support.  If Goldman Sachs truly wants to engage the consumer and increase its Corporate Brand Image, meeting customers face to face is an important step.  We have already established the advertising goals are to create awareness and correct misconception.  We have also established that in a financial services company, the only product is the people.  Therefore, we strongly recommend that Goldman Sachs continue to meet customers face to face whether through client visits or mass seminars.  Having their people communicate the advertising message is an example of putting the most powerful resource behind their biggest need.


Leonidou, C. and Leonidou, L. (2009) Research into environmental marketing/management: a bibliographic analysis. EuropeanJournal of Marketing, 45 (1), pp. 69-103.

Spotts, H. and Weinberger, M. (2010) Marketplace footprints: connecting marketing communications and corporate brands.  European Journal of Marketing, 44 (5), pp. 591-609.



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