Marketing your business is an important part of running your business. You can’t progress and become successful if people don’t know who you are and what you do or have to offer. How do you know what marketing efforts you need? Which areas of your company or organization are excelling and which wants are declining rapidly?

This is where a SWOT Analysis comes in handy. What is a SWOT Analysis you ask? SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When attempting to determine where your marketing efforts need to be placed, the SWOT Analysis shows you the areas where you’re doing fine and where you really need a helping hand. It gives you an overview of where your company stands. Be prepared for what you will see. Not everything will be perfect. You will have weaknesses and you may even be surprised at the areas that you thought were strong that really aren’t. You will see the internal and external factors that are affecting these various areas within your company.

Below is a sample of what a SWOT Analysis looks at:

Overview

\     /

Internal Analysis                    External Analysis

/ \                                                   / \

Strengths   Weaknesses       Opportunities   Threats

Strengths are your company’s resources and capabilities. This could include solid branding, strong customer base, etc.

Weaknesses are your absence of strengths in certain areas. So this could be things like a bad reputation or high costs in an area.

Opportunities are areas where you have opportunities to grow. This could be a new niche area that will benefit your current customers as well as bring in new customers.

Threats are things that can adversely affect your business. These can include changes in the economy, changes in consumer spending habits, etc.

By using the SWOT Analysis you get the whole picture, internally and externally. This will help you determine where your company is standing in the grand scheme of things.  The information is placed into the SWOT Matrix to show you these various areas. This is because not every opportunity is going to be one that you want to take advantage of. Why? Well, it may not be the right time or financially it could be very costly. So you have to look at the big picture and the matrix allows you to do that. Below is what a sample matrix looks like:

SWOT Matrix

Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities S-O strategies W-O strategies
Threats S-T strategies

W-T strategies

S-O is opportunities that may be a good match for your company.

W-O these are areas where you may need to make some adjustments to them before you can turn them into an opportunity.

S-T allows you to see the ways that you may be able to counter the threats affecting the company making you less vulnerable.

W-T these are areas where you can provide a game plan that allows you to “build a fortress” around your weak areas so you aren’t so susceptible to external forces that could weaken your company.

Using a SWOT Analysis when you’re looking at marketing is very beneficial in the long run. While it takes some time initially writing down all the details, the entire plan will come into view and you will have a better sense of the direction that you need to go. It’s a very valuable tool that no company should be without.

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