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When it’s Cold Outside, SWOT Analysis Will Keep Business Warm

Tis the season for planning the future of your business. Along with many other marketing professionals, you are evaluating what worked this year, identifying opportunities for next year, and drafting a new action plan.  Understanding where you stand in the current marketplace is essential to bolster additional ideas. A SWOT analysis is a handy tool that any business can add to its self-assessment and forecasting toolbox.

What Is a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is an assessment of how your company fares in each of these categories. The analysis allows you to clearly understand what advantages and disadvantages your business has and what can be done to seize chances to improve your company's position in the marketplace. This exercise will add a high-level dimension to your internal evaluation and metrics. 

To get started, you, your firm’s principals, and professional staff must first commit to conducting a SWOT analysis with an honest, unbiased, and critical look at the different elements and how they are represented within your firm. The team needs to work through the SWOT exercise if everyone is game. 

A standard SWOT diagram looks like this:


Take the time to thoroughly work through each quadrant and consider the following:

  • Strengths: Strengths are those factors or characteristics that give your company an advantage. They're usually represented in those things you do well. Any processes, procedures, or services you can deliver better than your competitors are also strengths. For example, your company may have considerable strengths in service quality, management experience, customer loyalty, or brand familiarity.
    From an inbound marketing perspective, how do your efforts size up? What campaigns seem to be resonating with your target audiences or client personas? Identify the channels that seem to get the most engagement. Jot down the reason/s why these channels seem to be outperforming other channels.
  • Weaknesses: At the opposite end of the spectrum, weaknesses represent those things you don't do well, categories where you're lacking, or areas where your competitors perform better than you do. Your competitors' strengths may be your weaknesses, or your competitors may have the upper hand in areas where you are also vital.
    Also, take a critical look at your inbound marketing efforts. Where are you weak? Do you lack the resources to perform activities effectively? If you have adequate resources, how can you apply what seems to be working to the areas that are not? Evaluate your ability to reach prospects at each phase in the inbound marketing funnel. You may lack what it takes to move a prospect to the close phase. Lacking in any one phase should also be identified as a weakness.
  • Opportunities: Opportunities represent those areas where you can capture new business, move into a different geographical area, improve your services, or otherwise make the best of positive situations surrounding you.
    Also, consider that with every inbound marketing weakness, there is an opportunity to do better next year. In addition, look for new and exciting methods like paid social distribution, Adwords campaigns, and additional premium content to amplify engagement.
  • Threats: Threats can manifest in many forms, including new competitors, changing market conditions, regulatory limitations, loss of consumer interest in your products and services, internal financial problems, or increased strength of your longtime competitors. Some potential threats to your inbound marketing include an industry competitor copying your methods and developing similar resources with greater ranking results.

Once you and your team agree upon the final SWOT analysis, you will be poised to generate an action plan.  To dive further into this subject, please read Do You Need a SWOT to Start Marketing Planning? These resources will help you develop your inbound marketing plan for the following year.

SWOT Analysis Questionnaire

Contact Colosi Marketing today for more information on conducting a SWOT analysis for your business and for help identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that face your company in today's marketplace.