Recalling All SWOTs
Recalling all SWOTs, Recalling all SWOTs.
I am so done with seeing ill considered, incorrectly completed, redundant SWOTs on over busy PowerPoint slides – aren’t you?
The SWOT tool it seems has become the most used and abused tool in business strategy and as the marketing strategist at Peppered Moth I am hereby recalling the product!
The SWOT tool, when used correctly is ideal for prioritisation and alignment within your business. The prioritisation process is is about making tough choices. Trading-off what you will invest in and what you will not invest in or prioritising opportunity a versus b versus c . It can be a time bound process in that you may choose to come back to some opportunities later or choose not pursue them at all. We recommend using the SWOT tool to organise your key strategic information for this purpose.
The SWOT analysis should be started by capturing opportunities for growth in the external market place. These may be from the need-based segments of underserved customers or from market drivers such as, extending the duration of use of your products/services or increasing the price. Then you should consider threats or potential issues to manage in the external market place. These may be legal risk factors or competitive threats for example. After this external audit you can then consider the internal factors within your organisation. What are your relative strengths versus your competition? Do you objectively understand these in the eyes of your customers rather than basing them upon your own biases? ..and finally what are your relative weaknesses versus your competitors? …again objectively in the eyes of our customers rather than based on internal judgment alone.
So we can agree that a well completed SWOT is a great tool to organise market insights and can be the basis for you to make strategic choices. The name of the game is to attempt to select which opportunities for growth and/or issues to manage you will allocate resources to. In order to be aligned within your business you will need to think about how you will leverage your strengths and minimise or negate your weaknesses. There are multiple tools offered in the marketing arena to help make strategic choices. They are all really trying to do the same couple of things: assess how much you want customer segments and how much they want you. Once you have picked your priorities we would suggest calling these strategic imperatives. Why not give them short, snappy, memorable headings to bring them to life within your business. When you have reached this point deciding which marketing tactics to employ gets a bit easier. The key is to make sure your tactics are explicitly aligned with your strategy. In essence your strategy is the guiding light for how to invest your limited resources to drive double digit growth.
So…no more lip service SWOTs please! Laundry lists of items in the wrong boxes, completed to show off to peers and managers to prove to them you have ticked that box but playing no role in your strategy development process.