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Why and how the SWOT analysis is still an essential marketing effectiveness tool for modern marketers

The humble SWOT analysis has been a mainstay of the marketing planning process since it was first introduced in the 1960s by Albert Humphrey at the Stanford Research Institute. Humphrey and his research team conceived the SWOT model to bring accountability and objectivity to the planning process, and it has been popular ever since.

But it gets a little heat because of its overtly subjective nature and how many companies misuse it. This often means it doesn’t provide the value it is capable of.

In this post we’re breaking down why SWOT is still relevant and how to conduct a SWOT analysis in a way to provide deeper insights for better decision making – with the goal of demonstrating your status as a Pivotal Marketer.

Why is SWOT analysis still relevant for marketing professionals

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threat, which means a SWOT Analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business. Applied intelligently and expansively, you can use SWOT Analysis to make the most of the resources and foundations you have to help your organisation’s take advantage.

SWOT analyses can be used at the top of the business to identify major trends or in specific aspects of your business such as your positioning, pricing, distribution – anything where you need to fully understand your current situation in relation to the wider market and opportunity.

What can go wrong with a SWOT analysis

According to Harvard Business Review, one significant drawback of a SWOT analysis is that it can oversimplify the type and extent of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the company. This is often because it is a secondary research exercise, with the results created from curated internal thinking, without firm evidence to support.

SWOT analysis is used in marketing planning particularly as a basis for strategic and tactical planning but is often boiled down to a one-hour team meeting with post-it notes. And when implemented like this can ignore some of the strengths and weaknesses of other companies that could affect your business.

Other marketing models we’re discussing on the blog – and that are covered in all our CIM qualifications and modular and membership packages – such as Porters Five Forces are where you’d look for this.

Setting a strategy on ambiguous and unqualified insights is a dangerous approach to any organisation.

The modern approach to building an effective SWOT analysis

According to Harvard Business Review, one significant drawback of a SWOT analysis is that it can oversimplify the type and extent of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the company. This is often because it is a secondary research exercise, with the results created from curated internal thinking, without firm evidence to support.

SWOT analysis is used in marketing planning particularly as a basis for strategic and tactical planning but is often boiled down to a one-hour team meeting with post-it notes. And when implemented like this can ignore some of the strengths and weaknesses of other companies that could affect your business.

Other marketing models we’re discussing on the blog – and that are covered in all our CIM qualifications and modular and membership packages – such as Porters Five Forces are where you’d look for this.

Setting a strategy on ambiguous and unqualified insights is a dangerous approach to any organisation.