When creating your marketing strategy, one element that should take center stage is a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT analysis helps you consider current and future possibilities that can affect your strategy. Equipped with this analysis, you’ll be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy if you hit a bump on the road.
In this guide, we’ll cover what a SWOT analysis is, including examples and a template you can use immediately.
A SWOT analysis is a framework for knowing the internal and external factors that can make or break the success of your marketing goals.
The term “SWOT” is an acronym for:
- S: Strengths
- W: Weaknesses
- O: Opportunities
- T: Threats
Your “strengths and weaknesses” are internal factors within your control, and “opportunities and threats” are external factors like market and competition outside your control.
Both the internal and external factors govern the SWOT analysis process.
Help you brainstorm:
- What differentiates you from your competition and the resources you have to execute opportunities
- Limitations that might prevent you from seizing opportunities
A SWOT analysis isn’t complete without an objective. Guided by an objective, you know the exact strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to find.
Here’s how to think about each one when creating your SWOT analysis.
Identify Your Objective
Your objective is the specific outcome you want from your marketing process.
Having a defined objective provides direction for your team and ensures everyone is in sync with the company’s needs.
Think about these when deciding on your objective:
- What do we want for our business? Is it more brand awareness, decreased customer churn, more marketing-qualified leads, more sales-qualified leads, increased trial sign-ups, etc.?
- What are our marketing KPIs? Say we aim to improve website metrics. Will organic traffic, click-through rate, downloads, and pageviews suffice as KPIs?
- Are our KPIs SMART (specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic, and time-bound)? For instance, “We want to increase free trial sign-ups by 20% at the end of Q2” is SMART.
- Are our marketing metrics and KPIs sufficient to help us achieve our overall aim?
What Are Your Strengths?
Strengths are the internal factors, including the positive attributes of your company, that give you an edge over the competition.
Outlining your strengths gives you a bird’s-eye view of things to double down on because they work.
When thinking of strengths, ask yourself:
- What advantages do we have to make our marketing goal a reality? Do we have a powerful brand, a high website domain rating, a responsive email list, and a solid social media presence?
- What do our team members have that can help us? Think about a substantial social media following, niche expertise, excellent reputation, etc.
- What marketing tools do we have available to help us reach our goal?
- What resources (people + time + funding) do we have to help us?
- How may we leverage our existing audience to reach our goal?
- What unique differentiators will help us?
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Weaknesses are factors that can stop you from achieving your objective.
If worked on, they are gray areas that will push your marketing objective across the finish line.
When thinking of weaknesses, ask yourself:
- What improvements could we make? Can we increase our email frequency, publish more blog content, create more resources to get more email subscribers, and so on?
- What’s not going so well right now?
- Do we have an inadequate marketing budget?
- Are we understaffed?
- Does our audience consider our product unaffordable?
- Do we have a shaky social media reputation?
- Do we have challenges with cash flow?
- Do we have more low-performing team members compared to high-performers?
- What factors may suck time from our work and hinder the realization of our goal?
- What tech limitations may prevent us from achieving our goal?
What Are Your Opportunities?
Opportunities are marketing tactics you have yet to try that bring your objective to fruition.
Implementing new opportunities like trends will give you the first-mover advantage, and that can positively impact your bottom line.
When thinking of opportunities, ask yourself:
- What tactics are our competition not using? Are they neglecting social media, email marketing, podcasting, or other mediums?
- What stories are our competition not sharing? Are they not sharing e-books, webinars, or research reports?
- What new trends could we capitalize on? Can we try social media advocacy?
- Are there potential sources of funding we can explore?
What Are Your Threats?
Threats are the factors that can diminish the chances of achieving your marketing objective.
They also include external factors that can make your business go under. Stating your threats keeps your team abreast of factors that can undermine their marketing efforts. This way, the team tries their best to mitigate these factors.
When thinking of threats, ask yourself:
- What market conditions (or audience sentiment) may prevent us from achieving our marketing goal?
- Are our current customer ratings low?
- Are our loyal customers churning?
- Do we rely on one “big spending” customer?
- What are we doing that our competition is also doing?
- What is our competition currently doing better than us?
- Is there a rapidly growing technology that could cut down our earning potential?
- Are we reliant on a single channel like SEO, LinkedIn, and so on for customer acquisition?
These are the many pointers to look for when creating your SWOT analysis. While this list isn’t exhaustive, you can look at these for creating your SWOT analysis:
- Your customers
- Your market share
- Your competition
- Your team
- Product price point
- Business growth
- Online reputation
- Customer sentiment
- Online following
- Customer churn
- Customer retention
- Company culture
- Your budget
And many more.
After working out some rough ideas for your SWOT analysis, think of actionable strategies and recommendations based on your findings. This will help you present your analysis to team members and stakeholders so they know the next steps.
Employee & Culture Opportunities
- Improve skills with professional development
- Attract a wider diversity of applicants with more enticing benefits
- Generate interest in open roles by encouraging social media advocacy by the current team
Company Growth Opportunities
- Invest in market expansion to reach new audiences
- Increase sales by opening more locations
- Create new product lines
- Diversifying by developing new markets with new products
- Use technology to distribute products
- Leap-frog your competitor’s product initiatives
Industry Impact Opportunities
- Collect industry data to help advance the industry
- Integrate technological advances to stand out from what the competition isn’t doing
- Gain a first-mover advantage in an emerging market
SWOT Analysis Example
Let’s assume we have an objective of driving 6,000 marketing-qualified leads to CoSchedule in 6 months. The SWOT Analysis may look like this:
Now, there are likely many more thoughts to list under these areas. However, we recommend drilling into only a few factors to capitalize on (strengths + opportunities) and mitigate (weaknesses + threats).
This way, you don’t stretch your resources so thin that it’s nearly impossible to influence what could help you make your marketing goal a reality. Doing fewer things well can produce better results.
Now you clearly understand the factors that will make or break your success:
- Capitalize on your strengths + opportunities
- Mitigate your weaknesses + threats
Congrats! You’ve found your unique differentiators and understand how you’ll favorably compete and market your product.
What Is SWOT Analysis And Example?
SWOT means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It’s a method for finding, analyzing, and documenting your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses within your control and external opportunities and threats that can affect the realization of your marketing objective.
You can use the fictional SWOT analysis example above to structure your own.
What Are The 4 Steps Of SWOT Analysis?
The four steps in SWOT analysis are Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Your goal for each step is to:
- Double-down on your strengths
- Turn your weaknesses into strengths
- Create a plan to act on opportunities
- Set up measures for mitigating threats