A marketing SWOT analysis is a critical review of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Although the concept of a SWOT analysis is relatively well known, very few businesses take the time to actually undertake take one. Conducting a SWOT analysis will enable you to think more clearly about your business, your market and your business’s place within that market.
The analysis is divided into internal and external elements. Strengths and weaknesses, the ‘Internal’, are things which you have control over, while ‘External’, opportunities and threats, are those forces which you do not control, but which you react to with proper research.
Strengths – What are the standout characteristics of your business that provide it with an advantage over competitors? Do you provide a product or service that is recognised as high quality? Do you have a well known brand? Or perhaps you have high turnover and thus greater budget to allocate to your marketing campaign? Or do you simply have greater industry experience than your competitors?
Weaknesses – This is the inverse of your company strengths. What characteristics are you aware of that put your business at a disadvantage in relation to your competitors? Is your product or service recognised as inferior to your competitors? Is it perhaps more expensive? Do you lack brand recognition? Or are you understaffed?
Opportunities – Opportunites represent possible changes in the business environment which are external, and thus beyond the control of your business, but which may be exploited if understood in advance and acted upon. Potential opportunities could include a change in government regulations, an advance in technology related to your business, or an upturn in the economy.
Threats – Closely related to opportunities, threats are changes in the business environment which have the potential to harm your business. In reality, the difference between threat and opportunity is minimal, and often depends upon how well a business reacts to threat and opportunity in each specific circumstance. In fact, the opportunities previously listed – changing government regulations, technological advances or even an upturn in the economy, can prove grave threats to businesses according to context and circumstance.
The SWOT analysis is a crucial element of any successful marketing strategy. When carried out correctly it will enable you and your business to plan your strategy more intelligently and more effectively than before, in full knowledge both of your strengths and weaknesses, and keenly attuned to the potential threats and opportunities which may present themselves over the course of your marketing campaign.
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