Lesson 6: Hone Your Strategy

Hone Your Strategy 

Your marketing strategy describes how you motivate your customer to buy your product. When you understand what your customer needs and how best to satisfy those needs, you can create a demand for a product or service.

SWOT

Before embarking on a specific marketing strategy, it’s important for a business to review any internal or external factors that might impact or influence their marketing efforts. A great way to do this is via a SWOT analysis. A SWOT enables a business to:

  • Highlight its strengths
  • Acknowledge its weaknesses
  • Identify opportunities to build on
  • Target threats to reduce or eliminate

The strengths and weaknesses part of the analysis focus on any internal factors that are present right now.  Strengths are internal positives, and weaknesses are internal negatives.

Opportunities and threats are external positives and negatives respectively; they often point to the future. When identifying your business’ strengths and weaknesses, you can build on your strengths to take advantage of specific opportunities and modify your weaknesses so you become less vulnerable to specific threats.

Summary of a SWOT analysis

Putting together a SWOT

A SWOT analysis is subjective, not scientific. Try to get people in your team to help develop the analysis – don’t just do it yourself; look for additional input – and be prepared to rework your analysis every six months or so.

Have a specific time frame in mind: focus the SWOT on what your business is like today and where you want to get to in 12 months so that you can sketch out how you’ll get there.

Be realistic and honest. While you don’t need to downplay your strengths, you shouldn’t be over-emphasising them, either. To get the best out of a SWOT analysis, you need to be realistic and honest about your business and environment.

Think of your competitors. What is the competition doing, and how are they better or worse than you? How might these issues play into your marketing strategy?

Keep the process simple! A SWOT analysis is just a tool – it’s not your marketing strategy. Develop your SWOT properly, but don’t overthink it. You just want to use it to move on to the real deal –  developing your marketing strategy. A SWOT analysis helps your business focus on the key strategic issues to ensure you capitalize on your strengths, improve your weaknesses, seize your opportunities, and defend against threats. 

Answer these questions:

  • Strengths: internal positives. What is your brand really great at? What is it doing well, in marketing or otherwise? What are its USP and differentiation factor? What assets, skilled staff, resources and unique advantages does it have?
    • How do I use these strengths to my best advantage?
  • Weaknesses: internal negatives. What is your business quite bad at? What are the gaps in its operations and strategy? What skills or resources does it lack? What is it not doing that it should be?
    • How do I work around these?
  • Opportunities: external positives. What new opportunities could the brand tap into? What market niches could it exploit? Are there any new events, tools, products or resources it could be taking advantage of? Are there any lucrative avenues that competitors haven’t pursued?
    • What actions do I need to perform to take advantage of these?
  • Threats: external negatives. What are competitors really great at? What are competitors likely to do in future? Are there any new entrants in the market, and are they a threat? What other factors could stop your customers from buying?
    • What steps must I take to avoid these?
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