SWOT, marketing tool to position yourself and differentiate yourself

The matrix SWOT is not unknown to marketers since it is the basis of the Marketing strategy of one company and is used during decision-making. The tool was born in the 1960s in the book Business Policy, Text and Caseswritten by four Harvard professors.

Until its publication, the strategies did not include the company’s environment, a data that is nevertheless essential for better positioning. The SWOT then makes it possible to set up in a quick, simple and schematic way an analysis of evaluation but also of comparison.

The SWOT matrix is ​​a tool regularly used at Jappuru during marketing audits carried out for its clients. Whether it is for the launch of a new product or to have a complete vision of the market around us, our marketing agency knows how to identify the various key factors with efficiency and objectivity and thus allows the structures it accompanies to rely on a detailed analysis to make the right strategic decisions.

Define the internal and external factors of the SWOT

The tool has two internal factors And two external factors which each make up the name of the matrix: strengths (Strength), weaknesses (Weaknesses), opportunities (Opportunities) and threats (Threats). For some, distinguishing between internal and external facts is not obvious. Jappuru enlightens you!

Internal facts relate to those that belong to your company:

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  • The strengths : they characterize the positive aspects that you are able to control in your structure and which confer a competitive advantage. Examples: the quality of your products, your innovations, the technical means at your disposal, the skills of the teams, the holding of a patent, recognized customer service, etc.

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  • The weaknesses : they concern problematic internal shortcomings with regard to certain key success factors in your market or your competitors. Examples: low awareness, high dependence on a customer or supplier, aging products, internal process problems, faulty logistics, insufficient digitization, etc.

External facts, on the other hand, refer to what is happening outside of your company:

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  • The opportunities : it is about the possibilities available to you and the areas of potential to be developed. Examples: a growing market, a new customer niche, new technologies, new consumption patterns, etc.

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  • The threat : these are the obstacles or limitations that may have a negative impact on your activity. Examples: new entrants, new regulations, falling prices, fragility of the sector, etc.

In which contexts to adopt the SWOT matrix and why?

The SWOT is your ally to convince an investor to finance your business when setting up a business. It is also an effective way to visualize a project as a whole and to realize its viability and feasibility when drawing up the business plan. What more can we bring to the market ? Is it a risky bet to venture into this field? Do we have the technical means necessary to launch this type of product Where service ? How is what we offer better? The matrix will be all the more useful if the sector you are in is complex because the investors you meet may not be familiar with it. The SWOT will thus enable him to better understand the activity area and make a decision.

In the case where a company already exists on the market, this tool will come into play in particular if a diversification of activity is desired (when launching a new product or entering another country for example). To raise funds, the SWOT analysis will allow the investor to compare the current market of the company and the one in which it wishes to establish itself. Defining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is also useful when strategically redesigning a business and challenging yourself. Create value for whom? Create value against whom?

Often used in marketing, the SWOT also makes it possible to take stock of the company, its internal and external factors to give a new strategic orientation. A SWOT made 5 years ago will probably not be the same today. What new elements come into play? Based on the new elements defined, how can you improve your marketing strategy and get ahead of your competitors? The tool will certainly be used to take stock of what is happening in your company and its environment, but it is above all a good way to unearth emerging trends and highlight them in your future strategy.

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Good practices to remember from SWOT

While this sounds like a simple exercise, it’s not just about filling a table with enumerations. We must ask ourselves the right questions and ask ourselves what happens next.

  • Above all, it is necessary to know how to be realistic during the analyses. Overestimating or underestimating your own abilities or those of the competition and the market will only point you in the wrong direction and you risk losing your Goals.
  • Rank what you have listed in order of importance, from weakest to strongest, or vice versa.
  • Go to the basics! There is no point in making endless lists. Keep in mind the objective of your SWOT and why you decided to use it. Each element of the analysis should be able to shed a little more light on your future decisions. In addition, the elements presented must have a working solution that follows behind. It is therefore necessary to think carefully about what will be included.
  • Once you have defined your weaknesses, ask yourself what means you are going to put in place over what period of time to transform them into strengths.
  • Seize opportunities and don’t be intimidated by threats! On the contrary, counter them by compensating with the means available to you. Are all your competitors present on television or radio? So develop the digital aspect and be the one who will take the lead on the web! Take threats and turn them to your advantage.
  • Taking action against weaknesses and threats is good, but building on strengths and opportunities is better! Put the odds on your side by consolidating your assets!
  • Do not hesitate to ask for your colleague’s eye. He may well have spotted other interesting and relevant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.

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SWOT does not solve everything!

Like everything, this tool has its limits. The SWOT alone does not make it possible to define the entire strategy of a company. It will be necessary to reinforce the data with other reflections or other matrices such as those of McKinsey which insists on the attractiveness of an activity or Porter’s 5 forces which broaden the notion of competition. We can also ask ourselves questions about the complete objectivity of the tool. It can be difficult to remain 100% factual, but we must remember that this is a decision-making tool, not a guide or a prescription.

As you will have understood, the SWOT is not a simple table to be filled in to assess the situation of your company. Above all, it’s about being able to question yourself, bounce back and act according to the objectives set at each stage of the marketing strategy and the final results!

Do you want to practice? Jappuru has prepared a practical sheet for you with the right questions to ask yourself before filling in the matrix! It’s your turn !

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