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Concise marketing plans use strategies to drive more traffic, convert sales, increase engagement, and build relationships with customers. In the end, they either meet company goals or don’t.
To meet — or better yet, exceed — those goals, implement the principles of SWOT into your marketing plan. By determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your business, you’ll have a greater understanding of your company’s pain points, customer needs, and how to market more effectively.
SWOT analysis in marketing planning stages
A marketing plan addresses where the company is financially, while also keeping track of customer acquisition. With this information, specific marketing goals can be set. But thanks to SWOT, you’ll go deeper in this stage to get a better understanding of which goals to set, why, and how.
Start by looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your business. What are the strengths — either reported through analytics or feedback given by existing customers? What sales model has been bringing in consistent sales or customers? These are your strengths.
In turn, what weaknesses exist that can be turned into strengths? The same goes with opportunities — they’re often external, such as a growing markets or collaborations. But opportunities can be exploited to achieve your goal if used correctly.
And threats, also external, can make or break a marketing plan. Are customers migrating from one online channel to another? Any changing laws or state tax increases? These are threats to your business.
Then do SWOT for your existing products. What aspects do customers enjoy? What aspects are they “ignoring” (the weaknesses) and how can you refine and market them as strengths? And don’t forget to examine competition and how their products/company may threaten your business or present an opportunity.
Choosing marketing plan strategies with SWOT analysis
Finding the marketing strategies customers respond the best towards is easier with SWOT. The way to do this is to analyze the marketing strategies of your business competitors, because you already share similar target customer characteristics.
Examine the channel they chose: Email, social media, organic traffic through SEO, ads?
Companies use several channels, depending which stage their customers are in the buying process. Strategies to turn a cold lead into a warm lead, then turning a warm lead into a sale, need to be fine-tuned because the customer is in different stages of decision making.
To find out the strategies your customers use in their marketing plans you can sign up for their email list. Watch their social media profiles. Monitor customer responses through comments and reviews.
This also works if you had a specific method in mind and see your competitor following a similar model. What are the strengths of their campaign? What are they missing out on? What are customers asking for? And how can you do all of it better?
Do this competitor analysis, but don’t dedicate all your time to it.
SWOT analysis and your target market
Do you really know your target market?
Buyer personas are incredibly useful. You create a profile of an “ideal customer” and input varying degrees of information including income, job title, problems, and background info.
But don’t stop there.
What are your target market’s strengths? What I mean is, what do they do well? What are they capitalizing on? What accomplishments in their life are they proud of? This can be work or personal life related.
What are their weaknesses? What are they lacking, or find themselves not doing as well? This is often directly connected to the problem your product solves. Identify what they need to do but can’t without your product.
Opportunities are trickier. This is more about the opportunities they can achieve with your product.
If you sold invoicing software, the prospective customer would be able to invoice their clients faster and more efficiently. Which gives them the opportunity to make more money than with their current invoicing software. This is the opportunity you give.
And threats. What is threatening the success of your customer? Are they threatened by the price tag of your product — do they not have the funds quite yet? Do they not see the opportunities your product gives? Identifying these threats will help you understand what’s stopping prospective customers from buying your product. Which can then be the primary goal of your next marketing plan.
Analyzing your company, product, and customers using SWOT will help you have a defined marketing plan. It takes a bit of extra thinking and time, but to hit your marketing goals and see ROI, it’ll be worth it.