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What Is a SWOT Analysis?
by Rama Beerfas
February 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –  'Tis the season for developing marketing plans. Well, really that season was about four months ago, at the latest. That fact notwithstanding, I am still working with some of my procrastinating clients to put together their marketing plans for 2012. Because of this, I've been looking at a lot of SWOT analyses for the last few months.


For those of you who never took a Marketing 101 class, a SWOT analysis is a simple chart which explores four different areas of a business: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Put simply, the top row reflects statements about your company; the bottom row reflects statements about the outside world and the competition. The left column reflects the positives; the right column reflects the challenges.
By taking into account those things that you do best (strengths), you will better be able to capitalize on them. Knowing your weaknesses will allow you to either work on strengthening them or eliminating them.
Understanding what the impact of the outside world (competitors, economic situation, status of your neighborhood/city/region/state/country/world) is on your business will also help you put together a strategic marketing plan that makes sense given these pluses and minuses.
Keep  in mind that some statements might show up in more than one column - usually kitty-corner to each other. For instance, your best strength might also be listed as a threat if your competition is working on something similar.
Once you've identified items in all four categories, you will be prepared to develop a marketing plan that maximizes the positives (strengths and opportunities) while minimizing the impact of the negatives (weaknesses and threats). You will also be able to work on improving some of the items you've recognized as weaknesses that should at least be neutralized, if not turned into strengths for next year.
All-in-all, you can develop a marketing plan, but it may not be as successful as it should be without a good basis of understanding of your SWOT's.
Rama Beerfas is Chief Solutions Specialist for San Diego-based Lev Promotions, offering complete marketing services from consulting, promotional products, mobile marketing, social media marketing, editorial work and more. Rama also offers seminars and training in marketing and customer service related topics. She can be reached at (619) 697-2045 or at or visit Column requests and comments are welcome.