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Send in the SWOTT team By Janet Sutherland

Send in the SWOTT team
By Janet Sutherland
 
  In order to set corporate and financial goals to improve future business, a strategic plan should be developed to differentiate the business in the marketplace. One solution is to bring out the SWOTT team
 
  SWOTT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, trends and threats, is a diagnostic tool that is essential for businesses to create a marketing planning process. Businesses that use SWOTT efficiently are able to identify their competitive positioning and improve operations.
 
  The five elements of SWOTT need to be reviewed by the business owner and key decision makers. Ask yourself what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, trends and threats?
 
Strengths
Understanding your strengths will enable you to create a successful marketing plan and help a business owner to develop its competitive strength. Once you start the SWOTT analysis there are key questions for the business owner.
  • What are your advantages over other businesses?
  • What does your organization do well?
  • What do people see as your strengths?
Example: Central location.
 
Weakness
Determining a business weakness is tough but it’s best to tackle these issues because determining a weakness in your business may help your business grow. Ask yourself the following questions.
  • What improvements are needed in your business?
  • What could you do better?
  • What problems keep occurring?
     Example:What could be discovered during these sessions is the lack of courtesy of staff and your business is relatively unknown.

Opportunities
Review the business client and your company internally and externally to determine opportunities.
  • What is coming up which may be important to your business example: community events, key seasons.?
  • What may be coming up that may put you ahead of your competition?
     Example: Theage of the consumer is getting younger and spend more money.
 
Threats
 Determine the “big picture” of your business and the environment and predict any challenges ahead.
  • What laws may affect your business?
  • What is the competition doing that may affect your business?
  • Is there any weakness that could affect your organization?
Example: Competitors do it bettervery saturated market.
 
Trends
This should help your team coming up with ideas for your business and how you view the future trends in the business community.
  • Will the local or state economy have any influence to your business?
  • What seems to be the pattern of your consumers that is growing and unique?
  • What kind of spending patterns are you experiencing for your buyers?
  • What is hot and in demand?
Example:Marketing by others or quick and convenient for consumers.
 
 
After performing this business evaluation you will be able to establish and implement a comprehensive effort for improving awareness and expanding customer volume (market share). You may determine the SWOTT enabled your business to develop the relationships needed to build strong referral programs and utilize an arsenal of tools and PR strategies to enhance marketing, and management of outreach and promotional programs. This will help you determine what type of marketing campaigns would be the most effective. Some of the marketing recommendations may include increased internal communications within employees and updating the company website.
 
Following a SWOTT analysis a company should:
  • Evaluate effectiveness of marketing activities and revise promotions as required.
  • Participate in establishing program objectives, longterm goals, division policies, and procedures.
  • Convert market research findings into actions to develop better messages, products, materials, and marketing strategies.
 
Remember marketing isn’t always advertising. It can be community outreach, improving employee communications, internal employee promotional initiatives or businesstobusiness relationship building.
 
 
About the author:
 
Janet Sutherland is a former Chicago radio newscaster who specializes in marketing and public relations campaigns for the medical industry, non-profits and broadcast professionals. She’s currently director of the Chicago chapter of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and President of Sutherland Media.