Friday, 11 November 2011

Are you a SWOT or a PEST?

Keeping on top of your company's strengths and selling them to your clients is never easy. We work in a volatile market at the best of times and, some might argue, these are the worst of times. Back to basics then and time to re-evaluate your SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a standard approach used in marketing to decide on your company's way forward taking into account your core strengths that come through despite any weaknesses, the opportunities in the present climate and what your competitors are up to. However, threats range wider than just your competitors, remember.

This is where PEST comes in. This stands for political, economic, social and technological factors. You can see that the SWOT looks inwards to a company while PEST looks outwards at the market forces. You need to keep an eye on both since both can sink you under certain conditions. So swim hard!

Businessballs offer a free SWOT analysis but their article about SWOT and PEST implications contain a good summary that may help you.

A really positive way to help find your strengths is to take a look at yourselves through the information at SGI Marketing, The Disadvantages of Using Free Websites (27.10.11). They look at the weaknesses of free website development for clients. Now as professionals, surely you can see your strengths from this comparison? This analysis gives great intelligence for you to use with your clients to explain the worth of your offerings, don't you think?

Because you are developing across multiple technological platforms now – web, social media, mobile, for example – you need to apply SWOT and PEST analysis across these platforms because the type of use influences who uses the service and how they use it. There is growing recognition of the type of interaction users want from different devices and this should affect our design and marketing on the devices. You can gain some insights into those companies at the edge of digital development that are using digital marketing to influence their decisions at koozai digital marketing and Mike Essex's blog from 14th October on the Econsultancy Jump 2010 Event Review – unless you were one of those attending the expensive Jump Event.

Digital Marketing has matured. We need to understand our users of each platform to better serve them and our clients. Listen to their findings and apply them to your company. Now, PEST analysis will have to wait till another time. But what headings to stimulate thoughts as the euro and euro heads of state shake – political, economic, social and technological – wow!

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