The Important Role of SWOT Analysis in Marketing

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A SWOT analysis is an essential tool that marketing teams all over the world use to help them with branding their products or organizations. It is an excellent method used in auditing, and it is generally used as a starting point before developing a marketing strategy.

What Does SWOT Stand For? and How To Use It? 

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – these are the four parts of a SWOT analysis. It is the traditional technique that marketing specialists use to determine an organization’s position in the market before they start planning their marketing tactics. 

When you base your marketing strategy on SWOT analysis, you can create opportunities based on your organization’s strengths, despite the external threats and internal weaknesses which may stand in your way. 

How To Conduct a SWOT Analysis?

The traditional method is to draw up a 2×2 grid like the one seen below. A marketing team then gets together to brainstorm about the organization and fill out the grid. 

Image Source: Freepik.com

In a SWOT analysis, organizational strengths are internal capabilities that give the business an advantage over others.

Consequently, the organizational weaknesses are the opposite – internal factors that are disadvantageous to the business from a marketing point of view. Remember that both strengths and weaknesses only matter in your SWOT analysis when compared to your competitors. For example, if your product is cheap to produce, but the competitors are paying an equally low cost for production, then this quality is not seen as a strength from a marketing perspective, even if it will bring you more profit. The idea is that unless you are stronger than your competitors and can take advantage of that strength in developing your marketing strategy, the strength is irrelevant. 

To correctly identify the strengths, marketers try to think of the unique selling position of the business. They may also try to view the business from the competitors’ perspective to see what other strengths they come up with.

To be able to accurately list the internal weaknesses of the business, marketing teams must be honest about the position that the business is in. Again, they may take the competitors’ point of view and try to see how the business is perceived and the weaknesses competitors think that it has.  

In SWOT analysis, opportunities and threats are external factors that impact an organization’s marketing decisions.

A business needs to grab the opportunities presented to it by the external macroenvironment it is in. There is a great deal of speculation (based on past studies) that goes into making an educated guess here. They are the possibility of positive results that are based on external factors. 

Threats, on the other hand, are all the external factors that have the potential to negatively impact your business and its marketing strategies. Note that while you are able to claim (or refuse to claim) an opportunity, threats are entirely out of your hands. The only protection a business has against external threats is to anticipate them and have plans in place to ensure that the negative impact is kept to a minimum. 

Case Study: Ford Motor Company SWOT Analysis

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How To Use a SWOT Analysis? 

The Ford Motor Company maintained its high position in the market for many years, and one of the main reasons for that was its ability to conduct and use its SWOT analysis effectively. 

Strengths: 

  • Well-known brand
  • Global supply chain

Weaknesses 

  • High cost of production 
  • Not innovative

Opportunities

  • Global expansion
  • Reducing production costs by managing supply chain

Threats

  • High competitive environment
  • Unstable oil prices

From its SWOT analysis, Ford realizes that it is competing with other firms that have a better production network and show more innovation. It knows that it needs to get more innovative and scale up its production process to take advantage of the economies of scale in order to maintain successful growth. 

Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats Examples

  • Strengths: comparatively lower production costs, higher quality products than competitors
  • Weaknesses: weak brand, inadequate supply chain
  • Opportunities: changes in government policy, 
  • Threats: rising cost of production, increased competition
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