- Identify the different levels at which strategic planning may occur within firms.
- Understand how strategic planning that occurs at multiple levels in an organization helps a company achieve its overall corporate objectives.
As previously mentioned, strategic planning is a long-term process that helps an organization allocate its resources to take advantage of different opportunities. In addition to marketing plans, strategic planning may occur at different levels within an organization. For example, in large organizations top executives will develop strategic plans for the corporation as a whole. These are corporate-level plans. In addition, many large firms have different divisions, or businesses, called strategic business units. A strategic business unit (SBU) is a business or product line within an organization that has its own competitors, customers, and profit center for accounting purposes. A firm’s SBUs may also have their own mission statement (purpose) and will generally develop strategic plans for themselves. These are called business-level plans. The different departments, or functions (accounting, finance, marketing, and so forth) within a company or SBU, might also develop strategic plans. For example, a company may develop a marketing plan or a financial plan, which are functional-level plans.
Figure 2.13 “Strategic Planning Levels in an Organization” shows an example of different strategic planning levels that can exist within an organization’s structure. The number of levels can vary, depending on the size and structure of an organization. Not every organization will have every level or have every type of plan. An overview of the marketing (or functional) plan is presented briefly at the end of this chapter but will be discussed in detail in Chapter 16 “The Marketing Plan” so you can see how the information discussed throughout the text may be used in developing a marketing plan.
Figure 2.13 Strategic Planning Levels in an Organization