Advertising and marketing Planning – Do not Do SWOT

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Alternatives, Threats) is a well-liked framework for growing a advertising and marketing technique. A Google seek for “SWOT” and “planning” turned up virtually 93,000 hits (August 2004), most all of which laud using SWOT. Some college students have mentioned that it’s the most vital factor they discovered on the Wharton Faculty.

Though SWOT is promoted as a helpful method in quite a few advertising and marketing texts, it isn’t universally praised: One professional mentioned that he most well-liked to think about SWOT as a “Important Waste of Time.”

The issue with SWOT is extra critical than the truth that it wastes time. As a result of it mixes thought era with analysis, it’s more likely to scale back the vary of methods which can be thought-about. As well as, individuals who use SWOT would possibly conclude that they’ve carried out an satisfactory job of planning and ignore such smart issues as defining the agency’s targets or calculating ROI for alternate methods. I’ve noticed this when enterprise faculty college students use SWOT on instances.

What does the proof say? Maybe essentially the most notable indication is that I’ve been unable to search out any proof to assist using SWOT.

Two research have examined SWOT. Menon et al. (1999) requested 212 managers from Fortune 1000 firms about latest advertising and marketing methods applied of their corporations. The findings confirmed that SWOT harmed efficiency. When Hill and Westbrook (1997) examined using SWOT by 20 firms within the UK in 1993-94, they concluded that the method was so flawed that it was time for a “product recall.”

One advocate of SWOT requested: if not SWOT, then what? Borrowing from company strategic planning literature, a greater possibility for planners is to comply with a proper written course of to:

  1. Set targets
  2. Generate different methods
  3. Consider different methods
  4. Monitor outcomes
  5. Achieve dedication among the many stakeholders throughout every step of this course of.

I describe this 5-step process in Armstrong (1982). Proof on the worth of this planning course of, obtained from 28 validation research (summarized in Armstrong 1990), confirmed that it led to raised company efficiency:

  • 20 research discovered greater efficiency with formal planning
  • 5 discovered no distinction
  • Three discovered formal planning to be detrimental

This assist was obtained despite the fact that the formal planning within the research sometimes used solely a few of the steps. Moreover, the steps have been typically poorly applied and the situations weren’t at all times excellent for formal planning.

Given the proof, SWOT will not be justified below any circumstances. As a substitute, use the great 5-step planning process.


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

Armstrong, J. S. (1990), “Evaluate of Company Strategic Planning,” Journal of Advertising and marketing, 54, 114-119.

Hill, T. & R. Westbrook (1997), “SWOT Evaluation: It is Time for a Product Recall,” Lengthy Vary Planning, 30, No. 1, 46-52.

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

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