After setting the goals marketing strategy or marketing plan should be developed. The marketing strategy plan provides an outline of the specific actions to be taken over time to achieve the objectives. Plans can be extended to cover many years, with sub-plans for each year. Plans usually involve monitoring, to assess progress, and prepare for contingencies if problems arise. Simultaneous such as customer lifetime value models can be used to help marketers conduct "what-if" analyses to forecast what potential scenarios arising from possible actions, and to gauge how specific actions might affect such variables as the revenue-per-customer and the churn rate.
Marketing strategy and marketing mix are related elements of a comprehensive marketing plan. While marketing strategy is aligned with setting the direction of a company or product/service line, the marketing mix is majorly tactical in nature and is employed to carry out the overall marketing strategy. The 4P's of the marketing mix (Price, Product, Place and Promotion) represent the tools that marketers can leverage while defining their marketing strategy to create a marketing plan.
Business intelligence organizations have compiled a comprehensive report related to global online retail sales, defining continued growth patterns and trends in the industry. Headed "Global B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Market 2014," the report perceives a decrease in overall growth rates in North America and Western Europe as the expected growth in the online market sales is absorbed into the emerging markets. It is forecasted that the Asia-Pacific region will see the fastest growth in the B2C E-Commerce market, leading it to replace North America as the B2C E-Commerce sales region leader within a few years. This effectively offers a significant motivational platform for new Internet services to promote user market research-friendly applications.
Strategic planning typically begins with a scan of the business environment, both internal and external, this includes understanding strategic constraints. An understanding of the external operating environment, including political, economic, social and technological which includes demographic and cultural aspects, is necessary for the identification of business opportunities and threats. This analysis is called PEST; an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. A number of variants of the PEST analysis can be identified in literature, including: PESTLE analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental); STEEPLE (adds ethics); STEEPLED (adds demographics) and STEER (adds regulatory).