When you need to gain a better understanding of your target audience, what do you do? You conduct audience research and create buyer personas. So what should you do when you want to get a better understanding of your business and marketing strategy? You do a SWOT analysis.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and conducting a SWOT analysis means you’ll be researching and delving into each of these areas of your business as a whole, or in relation to specific areas of your business, such as marketing. Conducting a SWOT analysis in marketing is important for online business owners because of the rapidly changing digital landscape; a SWOT analysis can help your team make sound marketing decisions that directly drive better results.
Let’s start by looking at the importance of SWOT analysis in marketing, how it can impact sales, and how to do a SWOT analysis for your brand.
Why Is a SWOT Analysis Important for New Businesses?
The best thing about a SWOT analysis in marketing is that it’s free, absolutely free. (Well, apart from your time and attention.) A SWOT analysis can be conducted by anyone who has a good understanding of and familiarity with your brand, which means it doesn’t have to break the bank. You, one of your colleagues, or the marketing manager can conduct a SWOT analysis. For start-ups or smaller businesses, a SWOT analysis is good business practice because it helps clarify major internal and external factors affecting your business and marketing activities.
In a way, a SWOT analysis is a situational analysis that pinpoints inefficiencies within your marketing processes and highlights your strengths. By doing this, your team can improve productivity and increase sales. A SWOT analysis also focuses on the real-world context of your business, which means you can gain a clear understanding of where you stand compared to the competition.
What Is the Purpose of a SWOT Analysis?
At the end of the day, a SWOT analysis is an analysis of the facts. The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to use those facts, which present a picture of where your business stands right now, so your team can discuss the findings and drum up solutions that will enhance your brand. The purpose of a SWOT analysis in marketing is to help you create actionable steps to strengthen your business.
How to do a SWOT Analysis in Marketing Management
If you want to know how to do a SWOT analysis in marketing management, you can start by asking your marketing team the questions below. Keep in mind that these are by no means the only questions—use them as a guide and a worksheet to kick off your own SWOT analysis that covers your specific marketing strategy and processes.
While pondering the answers to these questions, think about the steps your team can take to build on the successful aspects of your marketing strategy, and those you need to take to change your marketing activities for the better:
- What does our team do best?
- Why does our team do this best?
- What makes our business/product/service unique?
- How do people outside of our organization describe our strengths?
- What is our company’s greatest achievement to date?
- What does our team do worst?
- Why do we feel that way?
- What are the disadvantages we have as an organization/marketing team?
- What feedback have we received from colleagues and customers regarding what we need to work on?
- What do our employees need more training in?
- How do we take the negative feedback we’ve had and use it in a positive manner?
- Where do our employees need more support?
- In what ways can our company take advantage of the changes affecting our industry?
- What new business or marketing ventures can our team afford to take on within the next six months?
- Is there an industry need we can meet that we currently are not?
- What obstacles do we face in production, sales, marketing, workplace environment, and other areas of our company?
- Do any of our current weaknesses negatively impact our marketing activities to the point where we may not meet our goals?
- What business practices do we employ that may hinder our success in the future?
- Do our products and services provide the same quality and satisfaction as our competitors?
- What changes in our industry should we be wary of?
Next Step: Create a SWOT Analysis Marketing Strategy
After you’ve conducted your SWOT research, you’ll need to implement your findings in a marketing plan. What you choose to focus on will be directly based on what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are. From there, you can introduce a plan of action to address the issue(s) and enhance your marketing functions.
If your biggest weakness is team communication, consider a digital solution like Basecamp or Slack. If you’re looking to improve your online sales and your team lacks the experience, look into training them or even outsourcing part of the work to a creative eCommerce agency.
How you implement your findings is strictly based on what steps your marketing team needs to take to reach your goals. There is no detailed SWOT analysis process you can follow because all answers rely on your business’s unique context. Scholly Bubenik, a Forbes Contributor, writes, “This process requires you take the time to analyze each of these areas and develop strategies to get ahead of them. As business owners we are faced with opportunities and threats on a regular basis but being proactive instead of reactive is imperative to staying competitive.”
Whether you’re doing a SWOT analysis for a small business or large corporation doesn’t matter—either way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of where you stand in the market today. Conducting a SWOT analysis is good for sales not just because it helps point out inefficiencies in your marketing and customer relations, but also because it focuses on how you where you stand in terms of internal operations.
- A SWOT analysis is a tool for your marketing team to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that your business is facing, right now.
- The purpose of conducting a SWOT analysis is to compile information about your business and marketing activities that will help you create actionable steps to enhance your brand.
- After you’ve reviewed your research, the final step is to implement your findings into a marketing plan to execute and achieve your goals.
Now that you know how to conduct a SWOT analysis, it’s time to get started on one for your business—best of luck!