What is a swot analysis? Knowing what a SWOT analysis is and how to do this matrix step by step, also on the Internet, is very important for anyone who starts a new professional activity, who is about to create a business or for a business that is going to launch their new products and services.
Therefore, learning to design this SWOT Analysis Matrix in a correct and more professional way will help your project have a much greater chance of success from the beginning. But, before continuing to learn how to design it, let’s review its definition:
What is a SWOT analysis and what is it for?
The SWOT analysis has its etymological origin in the mnemonic word that refers to the study of weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities. Also called SWOT or DOFA , it is a tool that serves to obtain a global vision of the variables that influence the internal and external reality of a company, business, product, service, etc.
This term is also sometimes referred to as SWOT Analysis Matrix , which in English means “SWOT analysis” or “SWOT Matrix” (Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). That is, it serves to know, in a certain period of time, the real internal situation of a business and the external circumstances in which it operates.
But, beyond what it is, do you really know what a SWOT analysis consists of ?
By making a simile, it could be compared with a photograph or still image in time of the internal situation and the environment of a company, which is generally used to study the circumstances that surround and accompany it.
And in this way, after analyzing this situation, being able to draw conclusions and make appropriate strategic decisions in the medium and long term.
Therefore, it can be affirmed that the SWOT or SWOT analysis is a very useful tool to obtain a perception of the global situation at that time of the company, since it allows to extract an accurate diagnosis of it.
With this, we can obtain relevant information to make the appropriate decisions according to the objectives and policies that have been established in the organization.
How To Make A SWOT Analysis Matrix For My Business Or Company?
Not only must we understand what the definition of this analytical methodology consists of, but it is even more important to learn how to do it in a very methodical and professional way.
So, thinking about this, and to help you do it step by step, it is that, in this guest post, I have decided to count on the collaboration of Manuel Porras.
Without further delay, I leave you with your guide, in which you will learn everything you need on this interesting topic.
How to carry out a complete internal and external analysis of your business to design its strategy?
The SWOT analysis matrix has been and continues to be a formidable tool to study the environment and internal situation of a company. And today, it is used in all kinds of projects, both offline and online.
And it is that one of the great advantages that this type of analysis presents is its great applicability , since it can be used for any type of company, sector and activity, within its current marketing plan .
Therefore, in this article I will try to give some clues on how to make a SWOT analysis and why carry it out within a professional marketing strategy for your business.
Why do a SWOT analysis for your business?
Marketing (MKT), for many years has been in poor shape, largely due to the fact that adequate resources were not used and in many companies these departments or the outsourcing / outsourcing of this type of task has not been properly managed.
And is that sometimes, many businesses have not taken into account all the aspects that really encompass the MKT and characterize it.
It could be said that they have put aside the essence of marketing!
In fact, as a general rule, companies have erroneously tried to carry out all their strategies under a single function, promotion and with a single purpose, obtaining an immediate ROI .
Those of you who know what marketing is really about and how it works, will have quickly reached the following deduction:
Marketing is not only promotion and advertising … It also has among its functions « strategic planning» , the search for new opportunities for the company and the implementation of the segmentation and positioning of the brand / company to guide it in the right direction.
For this, it is essential to carry out a series of analyzes that show the situation of the company or department that you want to study.
In this sense, the usual thing is to carry out a planning of the actions to be carried out, which addresses all those aspects that are decisive for the strategic planning of the company.
The big problem in this regard is that these strategies are often lacking in relevant information, are not demonstrable, or are not correctly stated or structured, in order to determine the real situation of what you want to study.
In our case, a company or department.
And it was already said by Philip Kotler in his book “The 10 deadly sins of marketing: signs and solutions”, more specifically in his sixth sin, in which he spoke of the poor planning process in companies.
In it, he warned of some evidences or signs of this problem in modern organizations.
- General marketing plans usually lack logical and / or adequate components with which to synthesize relevant information for strategic decision-making.
- They also lack a means of simulating the financial implications of alternative strategies and evaluating their actual effectiveness.
- These lack contingency planning.
The solutions that Kotler proposes in this regard are the following:
- Establish a standard strategy format as complete as possible that includes situational analyzes such as the SWOT , objectives, plans, tactics, budgets, controls and other important aspects.
- Ask the marketing experts of the company / department, what changes they would make if they were given an increase or decrease in the budget in the planning of the strategies they had proposed.
- Organize an annual awards program, in which awards are given to the best marketing studies in the company , by members of that department or other employees who can contribute this type of information and knowledge to the company.
As you can see, SWOT or SWOT analysis is fundamental and a substantial part for the elaboration of an effective marketing strategy .
How to do a SWOT or SWOT analysis step by step for a professional marketing strategy?
These are the steps you should take to prepare a SWOT analysis, which will undoubtedly help you to get on the path of achieving your objectives, both in the short, medium and long term:
1. Description of the current situation
The first step in any SWOT analysis is the description of the current situation of the company or department that you want to study within it and identify the strategies, the changes that occur in the market and its capabilities and limitations.
This will serve as a basis for making a historical, casual and projective analysis of the situation and, in this way, being able to obtain the necessary information for decision-making.
2. Somewhat deeper analysis
Subsequently, an in-depth analysis of the different variables must be carried out and in this way a series of conclusions can be made through a CAME analysis where the following will be sought:
- Correct weaknesses.
- Address threats.
- Maintain strengths.
- Exploit opportunities.
Once we have carried out the SWOT and CAME analysis, it is convenient to prioritize those variables that are most important or considered urgent in the short term for the company.
At this point, it is important to comment that the strategies proposed for a SWOT analysis are usually planned in one year and one cannot always wait to carry them out in such a long period of time.
The situation may require that the strategies be executed or contemplated almost immediately, hence the importance of prioritizing certain variables for their study, prior to other less important or relevant factors for the organization.
This is what is known as prioritized SWOT analysis and it is always positive to include it together with the definitive one with the 2 or 3 weaknesses, strengths, threats and opportunities that in the short term (between 3 and 6 months) should be considered and carried out almost immediately.
»Example of a SWOT
Next, I offer you the practical method and basic quadrant of work to carry out the SWOT analysis and some important aspects to consider:
- For the preparation of a SWOT table to capture those aspects to be studied in the analysis, the appropriate and necessary blank spaces must be included to complement it.
- What is really important when setting the different study variables will be having the fewest strengths and opportunities, and the fewest threats and weaknesses for analysis.
- The threats and weaknesses identified must be limited in the best way to minimize the negative effects that may occur, or be enhanced to turn them into opportunities and strengths for the company.
- In the case of opportunities and strengths , these will have to be cared for, maintained and used in the company.
- This can also be interesting to analyze the company’s competing products, services and brands and thus determine the degree of competitiveness of the company. It is also very useful to determine those market niches or gaps left in it and take advantage of them.
How exactly does SWOT analysis work and what strategic factors should be considered?
In a SWOT analysis, as its name indicates, various variables related to the weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats that affect the object of study, in this case, companies, must be analyzed.
For this, the following premises must be taken into account:
- The weaknesses and strengths refer to the internal scope of the company ( internal analysis ), since through them the resources and capabilities available to it can be studied.
For this reason, you must consider a wide variety of factors such as production, marketing, financing, organization, etc.
- The threats and opportunities relate to the external environment of the company and this should overcome them and take advantage of anticipating them ( external analysis ).
»You may be interested to see: What Is The Business Canvas Model And How To Create Your Own Canvas Or Business Model Canvas Template?
Practical example of SWOT Analysis (Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths and Opportunities)
In this section I am going to focus on the SWOT analysis factors that could affect an online project, and in this way be able to specify practical examples to take into account in a Marketing plan for this type of business.
For this, we can determine some variables that define the classic study aspects of this analysis model in the company and more specifically in a plan for an online business.
With this, we will be able to see more clearly what is referred to as weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities.
D) »Example of the weaknesses of a company
They are the weak points of the company, that is, those aspects that limit or reduce the effective development capacity of the company’s strategy and that constitute a threat to it. For this reason, they must be controlled and overcome.
Some examples of weaknesses that can be studied in the SWOT analysis of a company for which you want to carry out an online marketing plan could be the following:
»Ignorance of the usefulness of marketing
Usefulness as a strategic tool in the organization, that is, marketing has been hidden in the organization by advertising.
For example, it is common to see how large companies have based their online strategies solely on the payment of advertising in Google Ads and Facebook Ads campaigns .
Likewise, it may be something that has opened the door to thousands of small competitors, who have based their strategies on guerilla MKT actions focused on Inbound marketing (creation of a blog with useful content for the user).
Thanks to them, they have achieved that the client reaches them naturally and the generation of a powerful brand image without the need for large investments in advertising.
»Impaired brand image
Previous problems and / or previous mismanagement of the business affected its image.
For example, if the platform or website from which the services are proposed is not well managed and there are no clear objectives.
Therefore, it will be difficult for users to trust. If in addition to this, the brand has been affected by a conflict with a rival user or brand that has damaged its image, it will be difficult to get customers from said website.
»Lack of specialized professionals
It does not have well-trained professionals digitally within the organization.
This is a fairly common weakness today, largely due to the rapid evolution of the online environment in recent years.
This causes more and more qualified and specialized professionals (various types of profiles) to be demanded every day, something that makes it difficult to hire a specific team for this task, especially in SMEs and startups based on a newly created online business.
»Absence of a referring competitor
They do not have a clear benchmark competitor on which to base the company’s strategies.
This is a weakness suffered by those businesses that have new products or services (with great differentiation or that have not yet been developed and promoted for their novelty).
For example, those web tools that do not yet have a substitute in the market; They have the opportunity of differentiation and novelty, but they lack image regarding the consumer and the product / service they offer is unknown to them.
In addition, the business would have to follow an unknown path, since being a novel activity or product, it does not have a reference company on which to base its strategies.
»Lack of patience of the board
Directive with little patience regarding the long-term results in the marketing actions that are considered in the organizations.
This is another great weakness in many organizations, due to the abandonment of the actions they carry out due to the need for a certain immediacy in achieving the objectives set out of lack of trust and patience.
For example, when they hire SEO positioning services to a specialized agency and they want to obtain results in a short time, without taking into account, that this service is not an exact science and that it may take more or less to be effective.
»Lack of organization and improvisation
Improvisation and lack of organization are deeply rooted in company culture.
This is something that occurs especially in traditional businesses (classic family businesses) when they try to have an online presence.
The habit of a lifetime of work, and their inexperience and ignorance in the matter make the implementation of an online campaign really risky and complicated in this type of business.
If you start from wrong premises and promote some wrong or unsuitable online factors by investing large capitals in them, it is more than likely that any tactic carried out in said business is a complete failure.
»Little culture of marketing in the company
Lack of marketing culture in the company and the society in which it operates. On many occasions, it is felt that budgets are too high or sustained over time without taking into account obtaining an ROI.
This is a current weakness in many companies, due to a false appreciation of the cost of effective marketing, which in most cases is wrong and is not perceived as an investment, but rather as an expense.
For example, small online stores, which for fear of achieving low profitability or not being able to assume a large economic investment, do not carry out any online strategy and / or are limited compared to those they carry out.
This would be the classic case in which only the company’s social networks are controlled without carrying out actions and without having a great repercussion for the brand on a commercial or image level.
»Lack of strategic vision of the management
This threat is common to any company, and it is a very important aspect to keep in mind at all times to maintain the viability of the business.
For example, clients of online marketing agencies, who request their services under your instructions without letting the experts hired participate in the planning process.
They will really know better than anyone how to approach the project, leading to poor goal attainment and a waste of resources for the business.
A) »Example of the threats of a company
They are those environmental forces that can prevent the implementation of a strategy, reduce its effectiveness, increase its risks, compromise the necessary resources for its implementation or reduce the expected profitability-income for it.
Some examples of threats that can be studied in the SWOT analysis matrix of an online marketing strategy are the following:
»Bad reputation of the sector
A sector with a bad reputation, activity caused by unfair or intrusive competitors that may generate skepticism and mistrust of potential customers for the service / product offered by the company.
For example, many companies are somewhat suspicious of some search engine positioning services .
This is because there are currently thousands of so-called professionals who offer these services without really being experts in it or without teams that support these functions (that is, they work by outsourcing services, and that in many cases is usually not the most effective and cheapest ).
»Constant appearance of new concepts
The constant appearance of new concepts and processes for which the company must be prepared.
For example, if a new algorithm appears in Google and the company wants to position itself organically, it must be up to date with these changes in order to obtain the expected results.
»Highly atomized sector
An atomized sector in which there are many competitors and without a real differentiation or competitive advantage (there will not be many possibilities for the company to gain a foothold).
For example, vloggers who try to enhance their personal brand and get views on YouTube in the fashion, gaming, etc. sector.
The company may suffer a reputational crisis or a bad brand image through its communications on social networks and other means.
For example, the well-known reputation crises suffered by brands such as Nestlé, Fnac, RedBull, Ballantines, Media Markt and Hero Baby, among many others, in which their community managers were not at all correct answering the comments and communications of some users on social networks like Twitter.
»Little ambition in management
Lack of ambition in the direction and direction of the company.
This is another threat that many companies face, and is due to the lack of long-term objectives or projections, largely due to economic conformity and the lack of new ideas and initiatives that allow the company to grow.
For example, there are many businesses that only trust the web as a source of new customers, but not as just another source of income, that is, they fail to monetize it and obtain additional profitability from it.
»Appearance of negative changes in the markets
The arrival of changes in the markets that are very negative for the company’s interests, such as those suffered by Uber (after its conflict with taxi drivers), Airbnb (and the Barcelona urban planning department) or the obligation to pay taxes through Wallapop 4% for the transmission tax on each sale above a certain amount.
»High dependence on new technologies
Technological factors to take into account and dependence on new technologies. For example, if the business is focused on the online environment through a page or App, you should be careful with aspects such as the need to always have an expert developer on the team.
Another factor would be to have an unlimited and scalable, affordable, safe and quality hosting service, the latest CMS updates and plugins, etc.
This way you can avoid problems, such as “hacking” the web or having misconfigurations within it.
F) »Example of a company’s strengths
These are the company’s strengths, that is, its capabilities, resources, positions reached, and other competitive advantages that must and can serve to exploit opportunities.
Some examples of strengths that can be studied in the SWOT analysis of an online marketing department are the following:
»Internet and new information technologies
These are essential resources for almost any business today, and their empowerment can cause growth of the company and new business opportunities for it. For example, those web pages that offer a mobile application.
»Responsive policy by the company
A receptive policy on the part of the management of the company to carry out new digital campaigns.
This strength is typical of online startups and young companies, in which you have a certain predisposition and knowledge that help you make courageous decisions and invest in brand marketing.
For example, thematic blogs monetized through affiliates and other means of income.
»Possibility of generating immediate benefits
You can generate quick and tangible returns. It is usually given in products and services with a strong differentiation and great prior demand for them.
For example, the bombing of Pokemon Go, an App game that in a matter of weeks exceeded any expectations raised and that was a great return for Niantic and Nintendo.
Great potential and specialization of the personnel assigned to these tasks in the company.
For example, web tools such as SEMrush, have highly specialized human teams, something that has undoubtedly had to do with its position as a benchmark analytical tool in the world market.
»Influence of the company
Great influence power of the company or sector and possibility of its extension to other sectors.
This is another strength in which we can put SEMrush as an example of a company that has been able to take advantage of it.
And it is that they have generated a tremendous community on their platform and every day they are implementing new functionalities and improvements in the usability, development and design of the tool.
Total acceptance and loyalty power of the brand and the products and services that the company markets by the potential public.
To give a clear example, we could mention « WordPress «, the content management system par excellence despite the increasing competition.
»Possibility of entering into new business relationships
Good possibilities of entering into new business relationships, such as operational outsourcing for other companies.
An example of this are some companies that, thanks to having carried out certain strategies, have managed to promote the capture of other types of clients, such as other companies in the sector that do not offer services / products as specialized as those of the brand.
Therefore, they resort to it in search of them through an intermediation process between it and the end customer. Another example, very obvious, would be Google itself.
O) »Examples of Opportunities of a company
It is everything that could be a competitive advantage for the company, represent a possibility to improve its profitability or increase the number of its businesses.
Some examples of opportunities that can be studied in the SWOT analysis of an online MKT plan are the following:
»Possibility of penetration into new markets
Thanks to the facilities currently offered by globalization in this regard, there is a good possibility of penetrating new markets.
A clear example of this type of business opportunity is the online marketing agencies themselves, companies that position themselves by a language, for a specific country.
Finally, they end up penetrating other markets thanks to the approach of business, culture and common language in other parts of the world (such as Latin America).
And it is that consultations on marketing matters are made equally in one country as in another and if the company knows how to satisfy the needs of users, it can turn them into potential customers of the brand.
»Emergence of emerging markets
Emerging markets where you can expand your business, such as Latin America or Asia.
For example, web and app development companies that take production to other countries in order to obtain higher profit margins.
»Arrival of changes in the markets
Appearance of positive changes for the interests of the company such as, for example, aid to entrepreneurship for innovative companies or regulatory changes that favor the company.
A clear example would be the opening of new VTC vehicle licenses that have allowed companies like Cabify or Uber to enter the market.
Technological advances, especially in the field of ICTs, that make possible what was unthinkable a few years ago.
For example, who would tell our parents that with a simple application and your mobile device, you could detect and know the title and artist of a song that you like and do not know (Shazam).
»Better preparation of professionals in the company
A great opportunity for the growth of the company and the professional development of its members would be distance training on the job through online courses thanks to the great possibilities that exist in the world of teaching (especially thanks to the development of new technologies).
»Appearance of new distribution channels for the company
For example, in the case of the restaurant and hospitality sector, there have been strong advances in this area due to companies that have taken advantage of this opportunity, such as Deliveroo or Just Eat.
»Promotion of innovation in the company
Innovation in the company through the implementation of improvements and the creation of research observatories associated with the brand, such as some SEO benchmarks in our country with their agencies / teams.
These are some examples of factors that can intervene in an online business and that should be studied in a SWOT analysis.
With all this information, you will surely be able to create your own SWOT analyzes and study the situation and environment of your business with greater accuracy.
Remember each of the recommendations I have given you in this article, and then apply them with your company. Surely, you will regret not having had before a SWOT matrix (SWOT or DOFA), where you could analyze all these factors.