You will no doubt have heard of a SWOT analysis if you have been in business long enough. If you need a refresher, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In business, a SWOT analysis is often used to form strategies, and its use in marketing is no different.
How a SWOT analysis works
A SWOT analysis collects and portrays information about internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors which may impact your business. To carry out a SWOT analysis, you first determine the objective and decide on a key project or strategy to analyse. Then you create a grid of four sections, one each for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. After that, you fill in each with the corresponding information, be it quantitative data, qualitative data, or anecdotal.
From this entire grid, you can begin to conclude whether positive outcomes outweigh the negative. You will also see what adjustments you need to make in your business for you to reach your objective.
SWOT analysis in marketing
A SWOT analysis in marketing aims to guide you towards a marketing strategy that will help you achieve the best results. It should help you make the most of all the opportunities, using all your strengths while avoiding threats and minimising weaknesses.
Strengths are qualities that will help your marketing strategy succeed. They might include:
- Brand recognition
- Location(s) of the business
- Marketing expertise in your company
- Introduction of new products
Weaknesses, on the other hand, might derail you from making progress towards your goals. For example:
- Poor distribution
- Indistinguishable in the market
- Lack of online presence
Opportunities in a marketing SWOT analysis will often consider almost anything as an opportunity. This is because you are never entirely sure what events in marketing you can use as a weapon. So, they may include:
- Advancement in technology
- Increase in demand
- Social events
Threats in marketing are particularly important. You need to be extremely cautious of factors that can hamper your marketing strategy, and often, they can come out of nowhere. These might be:
- Competitors lowering their prices
- Changes in consumer choice
- The economic condition at the time
The information you enter will come from competitor analysis and market research. That is why it is important you find an experienced researcher to carry out the review. That way you will make sure your research is accurate and includes everything you need so you can better understand all elements of the SWOT analysis.
Making a strategic plan
So, how do you turn a SWOT analysis into a strategic plan? Once you have carried out your research, you can leverage the information to pursue the optimal path towards your key goals. This is essential in marketing, particularly in digital marketing which is continually changing, because the landscape is in such a state of flux that running in blind is tantamount to business suicide.
You will be able to target the right people, in all the correct locations, and produce the best results when you need them most. Your investment in marketing will be that much more cost-effective. To do this, you might need the help of professionals marketers initially, but you can also learn to carry out this kind of research and analysis yourself.
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