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How to Run a SWOT Analysis to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by Carlye Creel on August 21, 2018 at 11:29 AM

SWOT analysisMarketing analytics software plays an important role in optimizing your strategy, especially when it comes to uncovering hidden trends that can fine-tune your campaigns. But the high-level discussions around your business marketing strategy can be enhanced by a much simpler approach: a SWOT analysis.

Standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, this analysis is a simple but effective way to audit your current overarching strategy, with a focus on making improvements going forward. According to Entrepreneur, marketing and business leaders can use the SWOT approach to make changes to existing strategy, prioritize campaigns and reallocate budgets, while identifying new channels, campaigns and messaging worth exploring.

A SWOT analysis is easy to run, and it can tell you a lot about your marketing efforts. Here's an overview of how to guide these conversations.

Strengths

This is a straightforward category, and it's a fun one to talk about: Marketing leaders will want to highlight everything that's going well for the company, touching on ROI for top-performing campaigns, innovative new strategies at work and other success stories. Some questions to ask:

  • What are the marketing channels driving the highest ROI?
  • Which messaging/selling points are seeing the greatest impact on your target audience?
  • Which customer/audience segments are seeing the most growth in conversions and revenue generation?

Weaknesses

Talking about shortcomings is never easy, but it's important. Marketing leaders should also be brutally honest about their recent disappointments and failures: Identifying and addressing these failures is the first step of turning trends around. Questions worth asking include:

  • Which marketing campaigns/channels are driving poor returns?
  • What gaps exist in your marketing strategy, in terms of channels you aren't utilizing at all?
  • What was the most disappointing result from your marketing strategy in the past year?

Opportunities

Opportunities flow naturally from weaknesses, because these areas of weakness are the most obvious areas of improvement. If you've thoroughly explored your weaknesses, the opportunities should be obvious. Some questions to consider:

  • What new marketing channels/campaigns can be added to drive growth?
  • Which existing campaigns can be improved by adopting features from other, more successful campaigns?
  • What new marketing technologies can make your current marketing strategy more effective?

Threats

Making plans to improve your marketing is an important step. But it's never a sure thing: Obstacles can always get in the way and prevent you from fulfilling your goals. The Threats quadrant is your chance to identify those obstacles, with the ultimate goal of building proactive plans to address and overcome them. Some questions to ask might include:

  • What internal and external factors could prevent you from reaching your stated goals? (Consider budgetary limits, increasing market competition, etc.)
  • Will your current products and services remain relevant and valuable to your audience over time, or do they face a short shelf life?
  • How could competing brands undercut your success by highlighting your company's shortcomings or weaknesses?

A thorough SWOT analysis is great for generating ideas and sharpening your marketing focus. Once you've used SWOT to build a list of goals and priorities, the next step is implementing those new ideas and approaches, and testing the results.

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