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Marketing Planning – Don’t Do SWOT

Marketing Planning – Don’t Do SWOT

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Alternatives, Threats) is a preferred framework for establishing a advertising and marketing tactic. A Google look for for “SWOT” and “planning” turned up pretty much 93,000 hits (August 2004), most all of which laud the use of SWOT. Some learners have mentioned that it is the most critical matter they discovered at the Wharton Faculty.

Even though SWOT is promoted as a useful system in several advertising and marketing texts, it is not universally praised: 1 pro mentioned that he preferred to assume of SWOT as a “Important Squander of Time.”

The problem with SWOT is more serious than the point that it wastes time. Since it mixes idea technology with analysis, it is probable to lower the variety of tactics that are thought of. In addition, individuals who use SWOT may well conclude that they have performed an sufficient career of organizing and dismiss such practical items as defining the firm’s targets or calculating ROI for alternate methods. I have noticed this when enterprise school college students use SWOT on scenarios.

What does the proof say? Possibly the most notable indicator is that I have been unable to come across any evidence to assistance the use of SWOT.

Two scientific tests have examined SWOT. Menon et al. (1999) asked 212 supervisors from Fortune 1000 corporations about modern promoting methods applied in their firms. The conclusions showed that SWOT harmed general performance. When Hill and Westbrook (1997) examined the use of SWOT by 20 firms in the British isles in 1993-94, they concluded that the system was so flawed that it was time for a “product remember.”

1 advocate of SWOT requested: if not SWOT, then what? Borrowing from company strategic arranging literature, a better solution for planners is to follow a official penned procedure to:

  1. Established aims
  2. Generate different tactics
  3. Consider substitute strategies
  4. Watch results
  5. Acquire motivation between the stakeholders during every move of this approach.

I describe this 5-action procedure in Armstrong (1982). Evidence on the price of this organizing method, obtained from 28 validation reports (summarized in Armstrong 1990), confirmed that it led to superior company performance:

  • 20 scientific tests identified increased overall performance with official preparing
  • 5 observed no variation
  • 3 discovered formal organizing to be detrimental

This guidance was received even while the official scheduling in the scientific tests typically applied only some of the measures. In addition, the measures ended up typically inadequately implemented and the situations had been not always ideal for official preparing.

Specified the proof, SWOT is not justified less than any situation. As a substitute, use the comprehensive 5-phase planning course of action.


Armstrong, J. S. (1982) “The Worth of Formal Scheduling for Strategic Choices,” Strategic Administration Journal, 3, 197-211.

Armstrong, J. S. (1990), “Overview of Company Strategic Arranging,” Journal of Marketing and advertising, 54, 114-119.

Hill, T. & R. Westbrook (1997), “SWOT Examination: It can be Time for a Merchandise Recall,” Extensive Assortment Setting up, 30, No. 1, 46-52.

Menon, A. et al. (1999), “Antecedents and Repercussions of Advertising and marketing Tactic Making,” Journal of Advertising, 63, 18-40.