How To Do A Marketing SWOT Analysis For Your Brand
Running your marketing campaigns is no simple task. It takes a lot of careful thought, intention, and planning. And even then it is all too easy to get carried away by all the challenges that you face and lose sight of the big picture. This is where a marketing SWOT analysis can come in handy.
Analyzing the various components of your business’ operations will keep you on the right track, help you take necessary measures to optimize and plan for contingencies to overcome any possible challenges. This way you also don’t miss out on new opportunities, or making the most of your existing strategies. Let’s take a look at what a marketing SWOT analysis is and how you can successfully carry out one.
What is a SWOT analysis?
The SWOT analysis is a technique that helps define strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are applicable to your business. This type of method can be implemented to the entire business or to individual projects in a department – like marketing. A lot of the time, a SWOT analysis is used to figure out how well a business is remaining aligned with its forecasted growth trajectories and benchmarks. However, it can also be used to determine how well a specific project like an online marketing campaign for example is performing, when compared to the initial projections.
A closer look at the components of SWOT
There are four main components to a SWOT analysis. Let’s take a look at what each one of these components is about.
What is your business good at? What are its unique selling points that help you stand out as a brand? When considering strengths, consider brand equity, your internal resources (e.g. expertise and assets like intellectual property or even technologies that are proprietary). The more clear you are on your strengths as a brand, the more effectively you will be able to leverage them. This is the best way to make sure that you continue to build on your brand reputation and ultimately stay in business.
This component allows you to get a real idea of the areas that your business lacks and what your competitors are doing better than you. It points out the resource limitations that you have and draws attention to things like high churn rates. If your market positioning is unclear, this analysis will highlight that as well.
Are you missing out on good opportunities for your business to grow and thrive? Well, this is the part of the SWOT analysis that helps you eliminate that blindspot. By assessing opportunities, from all angles, you will be able to see if there are any underserved market segments that you can tap into. Or if there are certain geographic areas or digital marketing channels that have fewer competitors present which you can take advantage of. The opportunities assessment can also be helpful in identifying emerging markets for your product or service.
Finally, the “threats” component of a SWOT analysis allows you to identify and anticipate challenges that your business will face so that you can proactively plan for them. This includes emerging competitors, regulations or industry standards that are changing, negative press that can impact business and changes in market demands. By assessing threats you can also identify any negative or unfavorable customer attitudes and perceptions about your brand that can harm business.
Recognizing internal and external factors
In doing a swot analysis you will recognize that there are varying degrees of control you have over the factors that influence your business. The best use of your time and resources is to focus on the things that you can improve and act on. For this, you will need to subcategorize the elements that you have listed into two sections: external factors and internal factors.
When it comes to strengths and weaknesses, the majority of factors that you will be considering are internal. For example, if you have high churn rates, you certainly can take steps to improve that. So then, that falls under the internal category. On the flip side, most of the opportunities and threats may fall under the external category. A good example of this would be emerging markets. There is not much that you can do about it other than research and project the most likely outcomes, so it is external. Identifying internal and external factors in each area of your SWOT can help you clearly plan out the next moves that you should take.
How to conduct a marketing SWOT analysis
To get started on your marketing SWOT analysis, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions related to each of the four main components. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can make sure that they are thoroughly examined.
Knowing what your strengths are
For this component, you need to focus on finding out why customers choose your products or services. You also need to uncover how you can stand out from your competition in the eyes of your customers.
- What is it that customers love about your products and service as well as your brand?
- Why and how are your products or services better than other such similar ones in the market?
- What would you say, are your most positive brand attributes?
- How about your unique selling points? What are they?
- What resources do you have at your disposal that your competitors do not have access to?
Figure out what your weaknesses are
Just like defining your strengths, you should also know what’s preventing you or delaying you from reaching your goals. For example, what is it that your competitors offer, that is costing you valuable business?
Keep in mind though, that this is not about being unnecessarily negative. It is all about being objective, realistic and critical so that you will be able to predict any possible hurdles that can be detrimental to the growth of your business. When you are in the process of identifying your weaknesses, take a thorough look at the areas of the business that yield the lowest profits.
Also make a note of where you do not have adequate resources and what kinds of processes are costing you more time and money. Be sure to take in the feedback from employees as they have vantage points that you don’t. Let’s say for example that you are looking at adopting a new social media strategy. You may want to start the process by asking yourself several very important questions:
- Firstly, what would you want if you were the customer?
- What is it about the brand that would stop you from buying what’s being offered?
- Why would you want to click away from the brand’s social media profile?
- Next, think about the biggest barriers to your team’s productivity and their capacity to get things done as efficiently as possible.
- What is it that could derail your/their efforts?
What are your opportunities?
If there ever is a time to dream big, this would be it. What are the opportunities that you want to create or make the most of? In terms of social media, it could be that you want your Facebook adverts to attract a much larger audience or new segments.
Or it could be that you want your YouTube channel to get 10,000 views and to also increase your sales by 10% in a given period of time. Whatever your targets may be, you need to include the opportunities that are available to you in the analysis. To get to this, you can look into several different areas:
- What technologies can make your marketing more effective? Maybe an unlimited design subscription?
- What is the new target audience that you want to tap into?
- How can your business stand out more in the present day industry?
- Is there anything that your customers may not be satisfied with, that you can fix?
Your opportunities will go hand in hand with the weaknesses that you have listed. So, after you have already identified your business weaknesses, it should not be difficult for you to create a list of the possible opportunities that could come up if you remove/make plans to minimize the weaknesses.
Do you know your threats?
If you have been worrying about your business, then no doubt you know what your threats are. If you do not have a clear understanding of the threats to your business, your next best bet would be to gather your employees and start brainstorming.
Think about what obstacles you have that could be preventing you from reaching your goals. What is it that is happening in the industry as a whole and with your competitors as well, that is hindering your success? Is there anything out there, like a new technology, that will make a product that you are offering obsolete?
If you feel like your competitor’s Instagram account is what is threatening your social media marketing the most, you can now regroup with your digital marketing team and put out more stellar content. This will help highlight all the amazing factors of your brand and help you get more of the results that you want.
When you start listing out the threats to your success, you also give yourself the ability to analyze them objectively. And you can arrange the threats from least to most potent and urgent to address. That allows you to conquer each of these threats by allocating resources effectively.
An example from Apple
To see a marketing swot analysis in action, let’s take a look at what one for Apple could look like:
Apple has many strengths no doubt, but the top 3 are:
- Brand recognition: Apple is an incredibly valuable brand. And there is no contesting that. Their business is considered to be the most valuable globally. As a result of this, it can come up with new products and have confidence that there will always be some level of success and demand. And that this will translate into high sales numbers.
- High price range: In 2019 Apple was able to sell 72.9 million iPhones compared to Samsung’s sales of 70 million of its flagship Galaxy phones. This is even more significant when you think about the big price difference between the two brands. The Samsung phone is $100 lower in cost. This goes to show that people do not care about the price as much as they do about brand recognition.
- Products that are innovative: Apple has genuinely innovative products. It’s not just marketing hype. They have a knack for coming up with products that are really innovative and they often get ranked at the top of the industry.
Now, if we were to look at some of the main weaknesses of the brand, these 3 are:
- High price range: The high prices may not be discouraging the upper and middle-class audience from buying Apple products. But they do deter those with less discretionary income from being able to buy the products even if they really wanted to.
- A closed ecosystem: Apple is so exclusive that they control all of their products and services in-house. And this extremely rigid control that the company has over who gets to distribute products also limits their market reach.
- A lack of experimenting: Finally, Apple is always held to a very high standard. And so it is unwilling to create new products that are very experimental, or take risks that aren’t highly calculated for fear that those products might fail.
Keeping Apple’s weaknesses in mind, its opportunities become easier to spot:.
- Expanding distribution processes: If Apple was able to expand their network of distributors and also delegate to third party businesses, allowing them to sell Apple products, it would increase global reach. It would also help take away some of the stress that is on their employees having to tackle every aspect of their services and product distribution.
- Creating new product lines: There are also ample opportunities for Apple to create new products. From more affordable products to branching out into new industries, they have the capacity to be able to expand.
- Increasing technological advancement: Finally, Apple can also work on advancing their in-house technology. They can enhance existing products by adding as many unique features as they possible.
While you may think that Apple is invincible, they do face their fair share of threats, just like any other brand. The top 3 are:
- Extremely tough competition: Apple is not the only innovative tech company that is out there today. Not by a long shot. They face stiff competition from Google, Samsung, and other forces to be reckoned with. The fact that these other companies work in a more open ecosystem, unlike Apple, allows them to experiment more freely.
- Lawsuits and liabilities: Another threat to this giant brand is of course the prevalence of lawsuits and liabilities. Lawsuits can prove to be damaging to the reputation of the brand and decrease brand loyalty as a result.
- International issues: And finally, Apple also needs to work on improving their international reach. The brand certainly is not at number one in China and they also have had a rocky relationship with the Chinese government. And then, if we look at India, the market share of Apple is low, considering the fact that India has one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. The company has also had trouble trying to bring their stores into the Indian market. If Apple is unable to compete globally in the same way that Samsung and Google can, the strength of their brand will only get them so far.
A marketing SWOT analysis can help your business outlast the pandemic
For a while now, businesses in every industry, all over the world have been grappling with the damaging effects of the pandemic. And it is still very much at large. While businesses have also been able to adapt to a new normal, the decrease in profits and the number of jobs that have been lost are massive. With so many changes happening, doing a marketing SWOT analysis could really help you take stock of where you stand as a business right now. And it will allow you to implement the right strategies and contingencies to help your business stay afloat even in times that are as challenging as this.