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external factors Archives - Syneka Marketing

Beyond the SWOT – Revisiting this elementary tool

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, Resources | No Comments

The SWOT analysis (the consideration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) is a tool that is often incorporated into most business and marketing plans. While the SWOT analysis may be trivialised, it can provide a suitable starting point to assess your current context.

A SWOT analysis looks at both internal factors (the strengths and weaknesses internal to your business) and external (the opportunities and threats that exist externally). Your SWOT analysis will only be useful if you clearly distinguish between these internal and external factors.

A SWOT Analysis lets you review the internal and external factors influencing your business.

A SWOT Analysis lets you review the internal and external factors influencing your business.

The Internal Factors

Understanding the distinction between internal and external factors is key to developing a SWOT analysis. Internal factors are those that are entirely controlled within your business.

Strengths

A SWOT begins by exploring your strengths. These are internal attributes that are stronger in your business when compared to your competitors or the broader industry. Consider factors such as assets, staff, or processes that give your business an advantage above others.

What is it that you do better than your competitors and why is it important? Leveraging your strengths enables you to develop a competitive advantage.

Weaknesses

Weaknesses are the areas of your business that are weaker, relative to comparable organisations. Explore the capabilities of your business, such as staff constraints, production barriers or policies.

What limitations exist for your organisation, and why are these an issue? Weaknesses may need to be mitigated to prevent adverse effects on your business.

External Factors

External Factors are dependent on factors that are beyond your immediate control. For example, these elements may be influenced by competitors or broader industry trends.

Opportunities

Opportunities are areas of potential growth, or activities that could be undertaken by your business. Consider new markets, such as demographics that could be interested in your products or services, or adaptations that could enable you to encourage repeat purchases.

Why do these opportunities exist and what is required to pursue them? How feasible is it to develop these opportunities, and what is their likelihood of success? Remember that opportunities need investment to be realised.

Threats

Threats are aspects that may pose a risk to your business. Examples include new competitors, regulations, economic conditions or industry trends that will have a detrimental impact on your business.

How likely are each of the threats and what would be the potential impact? How can you mitigate these threats to minimise the potential ramifications? Understanding these threats lets you consider how best to allocate resources towards mitigation.

Undertake the Analysis

While it is often easy to list multiple items, it is important that you also consider the context behind each entry. Clearly identify why an item should be listed within one of the components and consider the broader context.

For example:

  • What are the ramifications if a threat is not mitigated?
  • Are your weaknesses able to be exploited by competitors?
  • Can you leverage your strengths?
  • Are you able to develop the identified opportunities?

These are some of the questions that you should be answering as you develop your SWOT analysis. Remember that a SWOT is only useful if you do more than just list items, ensure that you add the analysis as well.

Support Marketing implementation with the right processes

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses | No Comments

Every business needs to be supported by policies that guide decisions and processes that ensure effective and efficient operations.

New businesses can often find themselves without adequate infrastructure to support ongoing business. It is important that a business invests in its own processes to streamline procedures, particularly if new staff or products are introduced.

Strategic marketing explores not just the external opportunities for a business, but also ensures that its internal structures are suitable to accommodate the goals in the marketing plan. Potential options will often include training, staff recruitment, or new systems to ensure that a business can take advantage of these new opportunities.

For example, contact management is one issue that many newer businesses experience. It is critical, from a marketing perspective, to manage relationships and to store sufficient information about each customer, such as past transactions and any support queries. The storing of this information ensures that a business is able to suitably communicate with its customers, advising them of new offerings or to launch campaigns that encourage repeat business. Furthermore, this approach enables campaign tracking to measure the success in reaching new customers.

Similarly, there is a need to manage website and social media content as a business grows, ensuring that staff are aware of acceptable usage and the authorisation that may be required. Similarity in tone and communication styles, is required to ensure consistency and to build a reliable and engaged following on social media.

The focus on both internal and external factors is what makes strategic marketing extremely valuable for businesses. There is little benefit in embarking on a major campaign, if the infrastructure and processes of a business are unable to manage demand.

Poor outcomes diminish the results of marketing and unnecessarily tarnish the reputation of a business. It is imperative that marketing activities are supported through processes and infrastructure that will assist in delivering the required outcomes.