SWOT Analysis Marketing: A Guide to Unleashing Your Business Potential

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Whether you are a small business entrepreneur or an executive for a major corporation, your success depends on an effective marketing strategy. But gaining market share involves more than having a great product or service. Strategic excellence requires a comprehensive understanding of your current market penetration, unseen opportunities for growth, appreciation of your competitors’ latest moves and more. Juggling these dynamic elements at once can be challenging, but your directive remains to fight and win above your weight class. A formalized SWOT analysis marketing approach will get you there.

What is a marketing SWOT analysis?

SWOT analysis in marketing refers to developing a SWOT analysis with your promotional, advertising, social media and other marketing structures in mind.

Unlike a business analysis, a marketing SWOT focuses on internal and external factors affecting brand strategy and overall marketing objectives. As with any SWOT analysis, it involves an entrepreneur or team’s careful examination and discovery of:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats 

A formalized SWOT matrix, as found with the best SWOT templates, assists small businesses and marketing teams alike as an early step in drafting a clear and compelling marketing strategy.

Why is a SWOT analysis important for marketing?

Marketing teams face unique challenges. While a business SWOT analysis looks at many factors affecting profits, a marketing SWOT looks almost exclusively at brand, advertising market share and related imperatives.

By identifying and understanding competitive advantages and risks, marketing specialists can craft strategies that will leverage their strengths, address their weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats. In this way, a marketing SWOT offers a holistic view of internal and external circumstances that affect sales. The map that unfolds from this inquiry allows marketing directors and their teams to better understand their situation, come to consensus and offer an actionable plan that aligns with company goals.

Tips for a good marketing SWOT analysis

It takes courage to conduct a SWOT analysis. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a marketing director of a large institution, a marketing SWOT analysis requires a willingness to manage emotions, set aside differences and approach it with facts and clarity. Here are some marketing SWOT analysis tips to get you started.

  1. Know your objective. Are you attempting to gain market share of an existing offering, attempting a rebrand or launching a new product line? Whatever the case, set goals that are specific and realistic.
  2. Arrive prepared. SWOT analysis sessions have an element of brainstorming, yet they are fundamentally objective and data driven. Prepare by gathering clear statistical information regarding your competitors and you.
  3. Encourage honest feedback. A marketing SWOT analysis session should be a safe space for the flow of ideas. Attendees need to be able to discuss internal weaknesses and external threats without fear of retaliation.
  4. Think competitively. A SWOT analysis requires the ability to put yourself in the mindset of your competitor. What advantages and opportunities do your competitors see? Those are your threats.
  5. Understand constraints. Thinking big and dreaming big are vital to creativity and the growth of your organization. But for a successful marketing SWOT, everyone on the team should have familiarity with current limitations such as budget, staffing and other constraints.
  6. Involve a diverse team. Consider including select representatives from other departments, such as IT or accounting, in your SWOT marketing meeting. They may provide course-correction in some instances and unknown opportunities in others.
  7. Be ready to take action. Most importantly, remember that the goal of your marketing SWOT analysis is an early step toward developing a deployable strategy. Guide your analysis with the purpose of turning ideas into action.

What are examples of SWOT analysis marketing?

SWOT analysis for marketing is different from SWOT analysis for business planning because of a narrower scope. While a business SWOT includes factors such as investor relations and material supply chains, a marketing SWOT focuses mostly on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats distinct to marketing directives. To better guide your assessment, consider these examples for each dimension of SWOT analysis marketing.

Strengths

Strengths refer to existing internal attributes that provide your brand an advantage in the marketplace.

Examples:

  • Strong brand recognition: Your brand is widely recognized in the public and/or displays high affinity and loyalty among customers, like Apple or Starbucks.
  • Exclusive distribution channels: Your company has exclusive agreements with retailers or other venues such as licensing agreements with an online channel or cable television outlet.
  • In-house production capabilities: Your marketing department has sufficient web managers, graphic designers, copywriters or reliable contractors as well as the necessary hardware such as printers or server space to execute most marketing needs in-house at necessary scale.

Weaknesses

Weaknesses in your marketing SWOT analysis include mostly internal aspects of your company or department that limit effective execution of your marketing campaign or product reach.

Examples:

  • Limited online presence: Your team lacks talented personnel or influencer marketing relationships in social media to gain viral reach and product buzz.
  • Narrow product range: While your brand’s niche offering succeeded in rapid early growth, lack of additional offerings has led to growth stagnation leaving few opportunities for new initiatives.
  • Dependence on third-party execution: From printing companies for a catalog to online campaigns, reliance on costly third-party vendors has slowed down your execution.

Opportunities

Opportunities include any changes outside your company that you may consider seizing to gain a marketing advantage.

Examples:

  • Changes in competitive space: A competitor has withdrawn from your market space due to restructuring or closure, leaving you with the opportunity to boldly exploit the opening.
  • Shifts in consumer behavior: Higher demand for sustainably produced goods, offerings from underrepresented owners and other changes in consumer behavior may provide the opportunity to reevaluate the company features you emphasize most.
  • Technological advancements: Recent technologies at lower cost may provide the opportunity to approach your marketing in new ways, such as real estate firms offering virtual reality tours of their properties.

Threats

Threats in your marketing SWOT analysis include any external factors negatively impacting your market share or ability to succeed in your current or future marketing strategy.

Examples:

  • Economic fluctuations: Both economic upturns and downturns can impact your market share. For instance, downturns can reduce demand for mid-priced automobiles, while upturns may negatively impact discount offerings.
  • Lower production and material costs: Ironically, lower prices for materials can pose a threat as competitors emerge to take advantage of the higher profit margins in your industry.
  • Competitor branding successes: Often, a competitor may have outmaneuvered your team by reaching a deal with a popular sports figure or social media influencer with a strong personal brand as seen in companies such as Adidas and Nike.

Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

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Bryan enjoys the digital space where arts and technology meet. As a writer, he has worked in education, health and wellbeing, and manufacturing. He also assists smaller businesses in web development including accessibility and content development. In his free time, he hikes trails in central Florida.

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