An activity taken as part of the overall market planning process to understand the overall dynamics of the external environment within which market opportunities are to be determined. It will include, for example, market trends, sizes, demographics, economics, resources, environment, technology, politics, culture, and competition. Analysing the external environment gives context and substance to various marketing strategies and plans. It is indispensable in today's complex and ever-changing markets in a globalizing economy. See also marketing plan; marketing strategy.