The SWOT marketing analysis is a tool used to prepare a strategic communication plan through which the company can take into account strengths, weaknesses, but also opportunities and threats of a specific project or aspect of the company that has been underestimated so far. But what does the acronym SWOT mean? The SWOT acronym used in competitor analysis refers precisely to the initials of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and is what allows a company to actually evaluate its internal performance and compare it with that of competitors to decide accordingly in which competitive direction to go, what decisions to make, what strategies to set up to achieve the desired results. Let’s see then in detail how to do a SWOT analysis, how to structure it and why it is so important.
The 5 phases of a SWOT analysis
The steps for a SWOT analysis actually develop in 5 key points:
- Define the goal to be achieved.
- Define resources, skills and advantages of internal factors.
- Define what are the opportunities and any threats from outside.
- Enter the data into a SWOT matrix.
- Select the actions to be performed.
Each factor considered serves the company to understand which decisions to make. Strengths and weaknesses, for example, are useful for measuring the reputation of the company and which aspects need to be improved or changed, as these are factors that can be acted upon within the company. Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, depend on external elements, such as material prices, competitors, market trends and therefore are not criteria that can be modified from within and over which there is no control. In any case, these also become fundamental for the entrepreneur, as it allows him to decide which techniques to put into practice against competition.
How to do a SWOT analysis
So all that remains is to explain how to do a Swot analysis. Let’s start with the organization. Before starting the process, it is essential to gather collaborators and stakeholders in the company’s workflow, as each one will be able to contribute to the analysis with their own point of view, their own opinion, thus making the discussion more lively and rich in ideas and reflections. The next step is to identify the strengths of the activity and how to best exploit them to make them more favorable for the company itself. In this sense, the questions to ask are, for example:
- ‘What advantages does our company offer compared to others?’
- ‘How do we differ from competitors?’
- ‘What makes us leaders in the sector?’
- ‘How do customers find us?’ Or ‘What attracts our customers (communication, the product itself, product quality, promotions offered, our professionalism etc.)’
- ‘What are the strengths according to each team?’
Following this is the analysis of weaknesses, i.e. asking questions such as:
- ‘What can we improve?’
- ‘What difficulties do we have and how can we overcome them?’
- ‘Why do customers complain?’ Or ‘What are the most frequent complaints from our customers?’
- ‘Why are we losing so many employees?’
- ‘Why is our team dissatisfied?’
After analyzing strengths and weaknesses, it is time to leave room for opportunities and threats. That is, evaluating what the competition offers more and how, consequently, we can transform our offer into an opportunity to improve the company’s business. In this sense, it is useful to ask how the company is moving with respect to current marketing trends, so as to adapt to trends (for example, greater attention to the environment and sustainability, the role of influencers on social channels).
Or: are there events that the company can take part in to promote the brand? Is there a possibility of introducing partnerships with different stakeholders (suppliers, customers and, why not, competitors) to relaunch the market and business system by anticipating its transformations? Could the company be acquired by others or could it expand by acquiring other companies?
Finally, there are threats that can damage the company, such as service disruptions (even for reasons beyond our control), complaints, negative reviews. In this case, it is necessary to work on mitigating the effects and promptly resolving the consequences before they become real problems. Among the threats are also competitors, of course, but also new technologies that could make the company’s proposed products seem all too obsolete, new regulations to study in order not to make punishable mistakes etc.
This is why you should do a SWOT analysis
At this point it will already be very clear why it is essential to do a SWOT analysis in your company, but let’s further clarify the concept. The SWOT analysis is a long and complex process in itself, but it leads to measurable results and useful conclusions for improving the state of the activity. In fact, only after doing a SWOT analysis can the company formulate the strategic digital marketing plan to follow to take off its business, as well as laying the foundations for being able to face future challenges, overcome difficulties or threats. In other words, the SWOT analysis ultimately becomes an opportunity for the company to analyze how it is and how it could be, how it is now perceived and how it could strategically increase visibility, how to achieve its goals. In fact, only by starting from an objective analysis from within and in relation to the outside (competitors) can a comparison be made and a winning strategy be reset to enhance brand identity on the market and make itself known to other potential customers, sell and earn.
In short, doing a SWOT analysis involves having a strategic marketing tool that allows you to keep an eye on the performance of the activity, of the team, in order to intervene where necessary and at the same time ensure stable business success in a fluctuating market.
The digital world, and therefore online sales channels and online positioning, with their peculiarities and market dynamics have given new life and even more widespread application to this classic and academic practice of strategic definition and orientation: SWOT analysis.