SWOT Analysis Template examples

Our guide to creating a SWOT analysis to define digital strategy using the TOWS technique

A SWOT analysis is an essential part of any business or marketing plan. It allows you to create a plan of action based not on what you’re interested in doing or on your gut-feel, but what you need to do given the situation in the marketplace. It considers your capabilities for marketing against competitors plus looks at opportunities created as new technologies are introduced.

The SWOT template formats I discuss here, from my Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice are included as SWOT analysis templates downloads in Word and Powerpoint in our digital strategy toolkit to help marketers create their own templates, there is also a worked example of SWOT in this example digital marketing plan.

What is a SWOT?

As you’ll know it’s a 2 X 2 matrix summarising the internal Strengths and Weaknesses against external Opportunities and Threats. These external opportunities and threats are available to all competitors in the marketplace.

Why is a SWOT useful?

When creating a digital marketing plan, SWOT analysis is also an essential step. I think it’s sometimes seen as an academic exercise and there’s the feeling that the time should be spent on improving the execution of the tactics like email or search marketing or improving the site, but the SWOT analysis will give you the strategic view of the main opportunities and challenges available from online marketing. The high-level view will help you see the most important issues which need to be managed for your online success.

While any form of SWOT analysis is better than none, I’ve found through working on many SWOT, that the technique works best for digital marketing when these 5 issues are reviewed when creating the SWOT. I’d advise that you make sure that your SWOT or SWOTs are:

1. Based on existing SWOT for the business

Before looking at SWOT for your online marketing, you need to look at the broader picture. What are the key issues that need to be managed for the business to be successful. As Malcolm MacDonald has recommended this should ideally not be too generic, but should focus on a particular market or customer segment.

2. Uses a TOWs matrix approach

When I develop SWOT, I find the so-called TOWs matrix approach invaluable – wish there was a more sensible name for it. The power of the TOWs matrix format is in the way it not only gives a review, but also helps you create and summarise strategies to improve the market. Oftentimes SWOT are put in the appendix of a report or on the shelf and do not drive action, but the TOWs approach integrates the SWOT into the whole strategy process to help create a plan.

The example below shows how the TOWS matrix reviews not only the situation in internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats around the edge, but also shows 4 box for creating strategies to succeed in the marketplace.

swot-analysis-template

The TOWS technique for SWOT analysis

3. Is created specific for online including multichannel marketing

The Internet and other digital technology offer new opportunities and threats, so creating a SWOT specific to the Internet is important to help meet this challenge.

But your Internet SWOT shouldn’t consider online channels in isolation – customers have a choice of multiple channels, so the SWOT should consider how the Internet presence of a company integrates with the offline world – customers often need and want to contact a company by phone, callback and companies still need to use offline communications like print, direct mail and TV in many cases.

Here is an example from my Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice book showing some of the typical activities that need to be managed such as visibility on partner sites, how to target new customers or improve their experience on your own site.

swot-analysis-example

An example of SWOT Analysis – TOWS format

4. Considers key digital marketing activities

The Internet-specific SWOT can be reviewed in the main areas of online marketing activity, namely areas of customer acquisition, conversion, retention and growth. You can create a separate SWOT for each of these, particularly relevant if you’re in charge of one area. But what I recommend is just coding up the findings so you can see which activities they refer to. I prefix the different elements with part of our RACE framework:

R: Reach – reaching customers and raising awareness on your site or other sites
A: Act – achieving interaction
C: Convert – conversion to sale online or offline
E: Engage – long-term relationship building with customers
G: Governance – issues which affect capability to deliver like resource

5. Have further details on specific markets as required by the size of the company

As a piece of advice, I’d say breaking the SWOT down further maybe useful for very large companies. Here a SWOT will be developed for a specific country or type of country – e.g. mature against emerging markets. Alternatively a SWOT can be created for key customer groups, e.g. larger organisations against smaller organisations for a B2B company.

I hope you find my overview of SWOT useful. Let me know any tips you have found in creating a SWOT or if you don’t use them what you do instead!

  • Sergey Avdyushenko

    thank’s!

  • Akbar Ali Armin

    Useful

  • http://creately.com/ Nishadha

    Some cool advice on how you can use SWOT for Internet marketing. And the TOW matrix approach is very cool. Our diagramming tools also have some SWOT analysis templates but nothing with TWO matrix. Please do check out our templates.

  • alsgroup

    Its really interesting tips.

  • Dan

    Very useful read. Thanks!

  • Colin

    Might want to add spelling to the weaknesses section. You spelled organization wrong in your SWOT.

    • Mark

      Organisation is an acceptable spelling in British English.

      • Louise

        It’s not just an acceptable spelling -it is how organisation IS spelled in English. American English tends to substitute Ss for Zs in many words.

        • http://www.Market-that.com/blog PaulHarvey

          Spelling is not one of my strong point, But I have been told that “Organization” is correct in UK academia. It is all very confusing.

  • Karren Barlow

    Great article! I also found a SWOT analysis template in word that is super easy to use. I would recommend checking it out!

  • Manasa

    Hi Dave,

    I am happy to see this post. I am currently working on a project.

    In short the scope of the project is: The paper is a guide for a new entrant in a digital marketing agency industry.

    For example if there is some one want to start a digital marketing agency, they should come to know what all digital IT products they can put together and sell, like website designing- domain registration and hosting, SEO, SEM, SMO, Email Marketing, Affiliate marketing etc services focusing on SMEs. So the paper should have thorough research which includes the above point and competitor analysis and competitive pricing and last but not the least suggestive bundled packages.

    So in a nutshell this should be like a blue print for new digital market agency. Wherein we suggest USP, POP and PODs for the company.

    I wish that I explained to the most what I could and I love if you could understand and revert me your ideas and suggestions.

    I would be looking forward for your early positive reply.

    Thanks.

    Manasa

    konda.manasa@gmail.com

  • Marcy White

    These are some great examples! You can see more at https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/how-to-do-a-swot-analysis
    Lucid Chart’s software is awesome!

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