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Strengthen your marketing foundation with a SWOT analysis

Taking the time to assess your marketing foundation and strategy is important for small businesses — it may be difficult, but it also presents an incredible opportunity for growth. Identifying gaps in your current methods can help you pinpoint areas where you should focus and make informed improvements, so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your efforts and amplify the reach of your messaging.

Employing such a proactive approach to marketing can give small businesses a crucial edge over their competition without needing an expansive budget or time-consuming manual labor. Considering all this, investing the time to identify gaps in your marketing foundation and strategy really pays off. Identifying and evaluating your marketing SWOT will help you discover how they impact your marketing efforts.

What does SWOT stand for?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This marketing strategy is rooted in the principle that marketing departments should conduct an honest assessment of their internal and external environment in order to develop a more meaningful marketing plan.

With SWOT, marketing teams can more objectively review marketing performance by evaluating which product or service verticals and tactics are working and what needs improvement; they can also recognize useful marketing opportunities in their environment so as to capitalize on them.

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis identifies all of the internal factors that could impact business growth; the strengths are those aspects that give a company an advantage over competitors, the weaknesses are any areas where a company falls short, opportunities represent external chances to improve market position, and finally threats refer to any external conditions or changes in competition which could negatively affect the business. Taking the time to understand these four factors can help businesses identify potential issues and take steps to ensure success in the future.

How to conduct a marketing SWOT analysis

Conducting a marketing SWOT analysis involves spending time with your team to clearly identify external and internal forces that are impacting your organization’s marketing strategies. External factors to consider include external opportunities, external threats, customers, competition, government policies, economic conditions and market trends. To assess these external factors, surveys and data analyses are recommended. Internal assessments involve evaluating the organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses such as resources available to their marketing team, staffing competencies, product quality and customer service capabilities. To perform an effective SWOT analysis it is important to be honest in your assessment of both external and internal influences in order to compile meaningful recommendations for strategic decision-making in your organization’s marketing strategy.

A deep dive into the four elements of a SWOT analysis

Identifying the strengths of a business or organization is essential in developing effective plans to reach goals. Identifying weaknesses can lead to improved performance and effectiveness. Awareness of potential opportunities allows businesses to benefit from advantages created by becoming proactive instead of reactive. Taking into consideration possible threats helps protect organizations from events that may be damaging to their future growth. When you have a good grasp on these four elements as it they relate to your organization, you will be empowered to make informed decisions and help your business thrive.

Evaluate Marketing Strengths

With the right information, you can better assess which strategies are working most effectively and where your marketing foundation and  efforts should be focused for optimal success. This can involve taking a closer look at:

Internal factors. Advertising budgets, content production, conversion metrics and other marketing analytics
External factors. Target consumer demographics, content engagements,

Accurately tracking data in these areas provides invaluable insight into the current marketing strength. And it offers an opportunity to maximize success by pinpointing where changes or improvements are needed.

Discover Your Weaknesses

Uncovering marketing weaknesses is a crucial and often overlooked step in developing an effective marketing strategy. To get to the heart of where your marketing tactics may be falling short, consider examining both internal and external factors.

Internal factors. Customer profiles or user feedback.
External factors. Market sentiment or changes in technology that influence buying behavior

A thorough analysis of all possible contributing elements to marketing challenges will help you identify marketing weaknesses and arm you with the right solutions to fixing them.

Recognize Marketing Opportunities

Growing your business means understanding and recognizing opportunities. It requires diligent analysis of external and internal factors to determine how the market currently looks and how it can potentially look in the future.

Internal factors. Includes the company’s capabilities, brand image, organizational structure, and resources
External factors. Includes target market size, economic trends, competitors’ activities, and consumer habits

Both types of factors should all be thoroughly evaluated when determining a marketing strategy.  Through effective analysis of external and internal factors associated with every opportunity, businesses can successfully gain a competitive edge.

Identify Potential Marketing Threats

Just like the other factors, when it comes to identifying potential marketing threats you should look at external and internal factors. External factors can include external economic downturns and changes in market demand or sentiment which can affect the success of your product or service.

Internal factors. Limited resources, personnel, budgets
External factors. Economic changes, changes in market demand or sentiment, consumer purchasing habits

By considering external and internal factors when attempting to mitigate marketing risks, businesses can better prepare to handle potential obstacles and develop more effective plans with larger potential returns.

Questions to ask and get answered during an analysis

It’s important to ask the right questions during a SWOT Analysis to ensure that you gather all the necessary information. Some questions that are beneficial to get answers for when analyzing internal and external factors are:

  1. What do our marketing objectives look like?
  2. Are there potential changes we can consider in our marketing strategy?
  3. Can we identify any new or more effective marketing channels?
  4. How does our market share compare to previous years? Is there a contingency plan in place should something go wrong?

Asking these and other related questions when performing your SWOT analysis can help provide greater clarity on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

How to use the results of your SWOT analysis to improve your marketing foundation and strategy

Utilizing the results of your SWOT analysis is an important part of developing a solid marketing foundation and a successful marketing plan. With this knowledge in hand, you can create strategic plans to take full advantage of the opportunities you’ve identified within your marketing strategy and tactics. Additionally, threats can be addressed or avoided when these identified risks are factored into your strategy preemptively. Sustained success in marketing demands an awareness of both potential pitfalls and competitive advantages that come with a thorough understanding of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

redMAP – SWOT Worksheet


Every company needs a marketing plan that is effective and efficient, but how do you tailor it to your business? Download the SWOT worksheet and answer as truthfully as possible. This worksheet will help you identify and develop your strengths while eliminating or minimizing any weaknesses or threats. It will also allow you to seize the opportunities that exist and leverage them to make the most impactful marketing decisions for your business. Reviewing this worksheet regularly is a great way for companies to stay ahead of the curve, avoid loss of revenue, and ultimately drive marketing success.

Are you ready? Let’s do this!