Strategic planning in digital marketing is just the process of organizing. Within this process, you are defining your end goal and planning your steps to reach that. Depending on the marketing strategy that you are going to use, there are a few different strategic planning processes that you can use. There is one specific process that we are going to discuss. And that is SWOT.
What Is It?
SWOT is a strategic planning method that stands for:
This method is typically organized in a table that shows strengths and weakness on the top and opportunity and threat down the side. Your strengths and your weaknesses are the controllable factors of this process. Then, your opportunities and threats are what you can’t control.
Some common controllable factors are suppliers, target market, store location, etc. All of these are things that you can label as a strength or a weakness. Depending on what that factor is doing to your company, you can then change it. For example, if your store is located somewhere that is making it a weakness for your brand, move your store somewhere else.
Next are the things that are uncontrollable, your opportunities or threats. These are things like competitors, the economy, technology, etc. When there is something that you can’t control, that is when you can label it as a strength or a weakness, and you can move on from there to try to counteract it. Determining whether something is a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat is all going to depend on your brand and your target market.
Let’s say your store is located in a mall that also contains a grocery store and a sports store. Both of these other stores are constantly busy. The factor that we are talking about is the location of your store, which is controllable. Because we know it is controllable, we can move onto labeling it as a strength or a weakness. This is going to depend on your target market.
For this example, let’s first say that your store is a sports store. That is going to make this location a weakness, because you are located right across from a competitor. But, what if your store sold clothing brands like sneakers and workout clothes? That would make your location a strength because you are located around other stores that could contain a large majority of your target market.
Next, let’s say that the government put higher taxes on people aged 25-50. This factor is uncontrollable. Now, is it a threat? Or is it an opportunity. Well, looking at the same brand idea as above, your brand sells workout clothing and sneakers. That would most likely turn this factor into a threat because of the large, younger age gap. But, if your brand specifically sold workout clothes and sneakers that were aimed toward elderly people, that would be a huge opportunity.
Again, all of these factors depend greatly on your audience!
There are obviously going to be other steps that you need to take along with SWOT to ensure that you are thoroughly planning and analyzing your company. First, you want to make sure that you are completing both a customer and competitor analysis in order to plan your strategy. You also want to look into the industry that your brand fits into. If your brand is not a start-up, you can look at the success pattern of your company. This should all be done prior to SWOT.
After you implement your strategy and you look through your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, you can and should always go back and reanalyze. Then, you should go through the SWOT process again, and continue to update, tweak, and improve your strategies.
Planning is extremely important to having a successful company. If you are not taking your time to plan out a strategy, you may not reach the amount of success that you are hoping for. It is important to take your time and point out all of the factors that you may be dealing with.
We hope to have helped you understand the SWOT method of strategic planning. If you have any questions,