Author: Craig Simpson / Source: Entrepreneur What if there was an analysis tool that helped to shine a spotlight on all the critical aspe
What if there was an analysis tool that helped to shine a spotlight on all the critical aspects of a companyís situation so that an intelligent, focused direct mail program can be developed?
There is: Itís called SWOT Analysis.
By performing a SWOT analysis of your business and marketing strategies, you can:
- Highlight your Strengths
- Acknowledge your Weaknesses
- Identify Opportunities to build on
- Target Threats to reduce or eliminate
By targeting this analysis on your direct marketing campaign(s), you can discover ways to save money in producing the campaign, create a more effective program, and overall build your profits and your business more quickly.
What is SWOT?
SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can think of your strengths and weaknesses as internal factors that are present right now. Opportunities and threats are external factors that point to the future. By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you can build on your strengths to take advantage of your opportunities, while you modify your weaknesses so you become less vulnerable to your threats.
When you use SWOT to identify competitive advantages by linking strengths to opportunities, this is known as MATCHING. This is where you find your niche and go for it. When you link up your weaknesses to threats, and then use that to change your tactics, thatís known as CONVERTING.
For example, letís say youíve been marketing your product to people in their 20s. But now, itís your tenth year in business, and your loyal customers Ė and potential new customers Ė are now in their 30s. Meanwhile, 20-year-olds are moving on to something else.
By keeping your old marketing tactics, youíre losing business. But by gearing your advertising towards your older customers, youíre performing a conversion. Another conversion tactic would be to design products that appeal to younger buyers. In either case, youíve identified the problem with SWOT, and you have a way to shift your marketing to build your business.
In some cases, threats and weaknesses canít be easily converted. But with knowledge, they can be minimized or avoided. This will become clearer as we look more deeply at the SWOT elements, and then apply them to an example.
Breaking Down SWOT
Our first step is the ďSĒ in SWOT: identify your strengths. Look at your products and services and identify what it is that you do or offer that is better and unique compared to any of your competition. Maybe your product is better. Maybe you have more experience. Perhaps you have tons of testimonials from happy clients, and your reputation is the best in the business. Do you have awards or letters of commendation? WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT and SPECIAL?
Our next step is to take a good hard look at yourself and identify your weaknesses. This isnít quite as much fun, but you have to see what could keep you from reaching your marketing…