Advertising and marketing Planning – Do not Do SWOT

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

Though SWOT is promoted as a helpful method in quite a few advertising texts, it’s not universally praised: One professional stated that he most well-liked to think about SWOT as a “Vital Waste of Time.”

The issue with SWOT is extra critical than the truth that it wastes time. As a result of it mixes concept technology with analysis, it’s prone to cut back the vary of methods which might be thought of. As well as, individuals who use SWOT would possibly conclude that they’ve performed an satisfactory job of planning and ignore such smart issues as defining the agency’s goals or calculating ROI for alternate methods. I’ve noticed this when enterprise college college students use SWOT on instances.

What does the proof say? Maybe probably the most notable indication is that I’ve been unable to search out any proof to help the usage of SWOT.

Two research have examined SWOT. Menon et al. (1999) requested 212 managers from Fortune 1000 corporations about latest advertising methods applied of their corporations. The findings confirmed that SWOT harmed efficiency. When Hill and Westbrook (1997) examined the usage of SWOT by 20 corporations 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 choice for planners is to observe a proper written course of to:

  1. Set goals
  2. Generate different methods
  3. Consider different methods
  4. Monitor outcomes
  5. Acquire 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
  • 3 discovered formal planning to be detrimental

This help was obtained though the formal planning within the research usually used solely a few of the steps. Moreover, the steps had been usually poorly applied and the circumstances weren’t all the time preferrred for formal planning.

Given the proof, SWOT is just not justified underneath any circumstances. As an alternative, use the excellent 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), “Overview 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.

Source by Scott Armstrong

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