Giving your marketing strategy a SWOT

Sometimes we all need a kick in the *** *(you know what). Your marketing strategy is no exception. If you are a marketer, chances are you have come across the term SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). SWOT can be a great way to understand holistically where you stand and where you need to be in your marketing strategy. If you are new to SWOT (or just need a refresher), here are some questions to consider in working through your marketing plan.

Strengths

  • What are your strongest areas?
  • What’s your value proposition?
  • What are you really, really good at?
  • Is there an area you have a competitive advantage?

Weaknesses

  • What are your weakest areas? (product offering, innovation, etc)
  • Do you presently have gaps (resources, budget, etc)

Opportunities

  • Is there a window of opportunity or “good timing” you can take advantage of?
  • Have you identified opportunity for growth?
  • Do you have a “niche” market? (eg. Dog owners, healthy eating, etc.)

Threats

  • Is your industry being affected by something outside of your control? (eg. government legislation, weather, economy, etc.)
  • Have your competitors latched on to something you are having difficulty competing with?
  • Does your competitor offer the exact same product but has been established longer?

To help map out what this may look like as you work through this, here is an example of a SWOT for Paws Pet Store (a fictional company).

Strengths

  • What are your strongest areas? (Location, Product uniqueness)
  • What’s your value proposition? (Handmade, customizable outfits, homemade treats)
  • What are you really, really good at? (authentic products without manufacturing, customer service)
  • Is there an area you have a competitive advantage? (no in-store experience like it in the area)

Weaknesses

  • What are your weakest areas? (time to market – handmade takes time)
  • Do you presently have gaps? (can’t produce large scale cause don’t have resources, higher price point because of costs to create and “people” costs)

Opportunity

  • Is there a window of opportunity or “good timing” you can take advantage of?(no competitors of the same product around – yet)
  • Have you identified opportunity for growth? (there is a growing need for more locations and an e-store they can customize online)
  • Do you have a “niche” market? (Dog owners)

Threat

  • Is your industry being affected by something outside of your control? (higher global cost for materials my business uses)
  • Have your competitors latched on to something you are having difficulty competing with? (larger pet stores have the opportunity to buy cheaper and have a lower price point, quicker time to market)
  • Does your competitor offer the exact same product but has been established longer? (product is “new” so there isn’t any brand recognition yet, while competitors have been around for awhile)

Now you take a try! Click here to download a working document you can start to build upon to work through a simple SWOT. While there is more to read and research as you work through your own, this will help you start to identify some key areas of focus for your plan. Good luck!

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