The Definition of SWOT Analysis

by Ekaete Bailey ; Updated September 26, 2017
A SWOT Analysis is a Useful Marketing Tool.

Good marketing plans always begin with a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A tool used in marketing campaigns and other strategic planning, like public relations, a SWOT analysis is indispensable in marketing a business. According to, a SWOT also can be used to audit the overall effectiveness of a business or organization.


One of the internal factors that relates to marketing a business is its strengths. Examples of strengths include aspects that make you stand out as a business, what your company does well and what advantages you have over competitors. An example of a strength is a product or service that you provide exclusive of your competition. You might have a patented product or service that cannot be duplicated by your competitor.


Another internal factor that relates to marketing are the weaknesses of the business and personnel. Examples of weaknesses include areas of customer complaints, decreasing sales statistics and low employee morale. Financial losses are also a weakness for any business.

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Opportunities as reported in a SWOT analysis are external factors that can help the business. In this part of the SWOT, researchers should ask themselves questions related to uncovering opportunities that might not be readily apparent to the management team. Are there any emerging technologies or trends that will benefit the company? Another question related to uncovering opportunities is: What has my competitor not yet mastered, that we can do better? By analyzing your competition, your business can determine what other similar businesses do well and look for opportunities to produce a similar service or product even better.


In any business or organization, there are threats—the other external factor a business must consider when analyzing its market potential. Threats can include areas where competitors are thriving, and your business is struggling. Additional threats are new laws or regulations that force a change in your business structure; changing consumer tastes; and new products or services that meet consumer needs at a lower cost. According to, carefully analyzing threats helps you see the big picture and predict future issues that can arise.

Expanded SWOT

An expanded SWOT analysis also can be conducted. An expanded analysis will further probe the elements that relate to effectively marketing and developing a business. Expanded SWOT analysis will also further analyze trends and the local business environment, helping to determine your competition's growth or failures.

About the Author

Ekaete Bailey began writing professionally in 2005. She has experience in journalism, copyediting, Web content, marketing, creative writing and public relations/communications, with an emphasis in travel writing. Bailey writes for a variety of print and online publications. She earned a Master of Science in public-relations management from State University of New York College at Buffalo.

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