Gathering information: this stage is based on the concept of marketing audit. After performing the audit of the macro_environment by analyzing the STEP factors (social, technologic, economic and politic), we should turn the focus upon the immediate extern environment (the micro_environment) and analyze the competitive environment, the costs and the market. Finally, we will conclude with the SWOT analysis, by this way we will have a general view upon the internal environment compared to the external one. The SWOT analysis combine the two perspectives, from the inside and from the outside, because the Strengths and the Weaknesses are internal issues of an organization, while the Opportunities and Threads come from the outside.
In the end, we should not forget to specify how the plan (or plans) will be controlled, by what means we will measure its results.We will see how to build the marketing plan, what is its structure: after we will see how to build the traditional marketing plan, we will take a look at the e_marketing plan and see how the unique features of the internet will require some changes in the approach of writing a marketing plan.