Generally, companies are broken down into four levels of hierarchy, the corporate, the division, the business unit and the product level. The overall plan of the company is designed at a corporate level. As part of this planning, each resource is allocated to each division of the company. Next, division level planning allocates resources to each business unit of the company. In addition, business unit planning designs a strategic plan for each business area, which determines each of the marketing objectives/goals, strategies and tactics, that have to be consistent with the overall strategic plan.
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.