SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment. SWOT analysis is the first stage of planning and helps marketers to focus on key issues. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal SWOT factors. Opportunities and threats are external SWOT factors. A strength is a positive internal factor. A weakness is a negative internal factor. An opportunity is a positive external factor. A threat is a negative external factor.
We should aim to turn our weaknesses into strengths, and our threats into opportunities. Then finally, SWOT will give managers options to match internal strengths with external opportunities. SWOT is that simple. The outcome should be an increase in ‘value’ for customers – which hopefully will improve our competitive advantage.
The main purpose of SWOT analysis has to be to add value to our products and services so that we can recruit new customers, retain loyal customers, and extend products and services to customer segments over the long-term. If undertaken successfully, we can then increase our Return On Investment (ROI).
Simple rules for successful SWOT analysis.
- Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization when conducting SWOT analysis.
- SWOT analysis should distinguish between where your organization is today, and where it could be in the future.
- SWOT should always be specific. Avoid grey areas.
- Always apply SWOT in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition.
- Keep your SWOT short and simple. Avoid complexity and over analysis
- SWOT analysis is subjective.
Once key issues have been identified with your SWOT analysis, they feed into marketing objectives. SWOT can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter’s Five-Forces analysis. So SWOT is a very popular tool with marketing students because it is quick and easy to learn. During the SWOT exercise, list factors in the relevant boxes. It’s that simple. Below are some FREE examples of SWOT analysis – click to go straight to them.
In SWOT, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors.
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