In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the complexity of developing and executing marketing programs for your business. Making informed marketing decisions is crucial to the success of your business and you want to use every tool at your disposal to give you an edge. A SWOT analysis is an effective and easy to use tool that can help businesses to develop thoughtful, impactful marketing strategies. In today’s blog, we’re covering what a SWOT analysis is and how to do it the right way.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Examining these four categories helps to illustrate your company’s standing in your industry.
Strengths and weaknesses are the internal factors that your company can control. Opportunities and threats are external elements from competitors or the market as a whole that can affect your business. A SWOT analysis organizes these thoughts into a grid that helps you visualize your business’ positioning in order to better define marketing objectives. DSG’s visual guide to a SWOT analysis is on the right.
How to Create a SWOT Analysis
To craft the highest quality SWOT analysis, gather a team of employees, vendors and trusted outside advisors to contribute thoughts from different perspectives. Encourage your team to share all of their ideas for each category, and generate a master list. Once you have a sizable number of ideas, your team can vote on which thoughts are the most fitting for each section. Your SWOT analysis can help inform you of the direction your marketing should take over the short-term. Since factors are constantly changing, it’s advisable to create a new SWOT analysis once a year, or even more frequently if it suits your needs.
Questions to Provoke Thought
If your team is having trouble brainstorming, throw out a few questions like these to inspire ideas.
- What is our best asset?
- What competitive advantages / unique selling points do we have?
- What things do our clients / customers say that we do really well?
- What makes us different from competitors?
- In what areas do we need to improve?
- In what areas are our competitors better than us?
- Do we have sufficient equipment / technology / staff?
- What objections do we hear from potential clients / customers?
- What are the current market trends that might positively affect our industry?
- What are the needs of the industry and are we meeting them?
- Is there a niche market that we aren’t currently targeting?
- What are the current market trends that might negatively affect our industry?
- Is our target market shrinking?
- Do we have a plan if a natural disaster strikes?
- Is our website secure and optimized? Do we run any risks of being hacked?
Once you have a SWOT analysis, you can convert it into a tangible strategy. Set parameters with your team for the time frame you’re aiming to achieve these new goals, and plan to meet back with them to check in on progress.
SWOT analyses are a great tool to gain a big-picture view on how your business is positioned within your industry. Check back for a new DSG blog every week, offering the latest in marketing news and insights.