How to use the SWOT Analysis and understand your Business Better

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A SWOT analysis is seemingly done during most corporate strategic planning sessions. To that end it’s not done without good reason. Indeed, using SWOT is simple, powerful and proven to be effective.

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a technique specifically designed to help with the identification of suitable business strategies for an organization to follow. It is a structured approach to evaluating the strategic position of an organization. Hence it is done by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

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Achieve a Sustainable Competitive Advantage by Adopting Service Marketing Strategies

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Are you adopting service marketing strategies? If not, now is the time…

Consumer markets are more turbulent and unpredictable than a couple decades ago. Indeed, as Matthew Meacham and others reflected recently: “Twenty years ago, competition in the consumer products industry looked like professional tennis. You faced opponents with business models that were similar to yours. You had been playing against them for years. It was tough but predictable and manageable”.

But now, it’s different. After all, it seems that everything is disrupted. Advances in digital technology has changed the playing field and rules in consumer markets. As a result, most products can easily be copied and sold anytime and everywhere at ridiculous low prices. How on earth can SMEs differentiate themselves with same-old products and copycat competitors? The answer is right in front of their eyes – their customers.

The customers in the market have remained mainly the same. In spite of having more choices and access to multiple channels, they still have the same needs and wants. SMEs need to convince their customers that they are the best firm to do business with. So, if SMEs want to steady their ships to calmer waters, they need to pay much more attention to serving their customers better.

Indeed, they can be on course to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

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What will Enhance Online Customer Experience?

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Online customer experience matters. Indeed, survival in today’s competitive e-commerce environment where the competitor is only one click away means that firms have to find ways to provide customers with a unique experience much more than low prices 1.

Undoubtedly the competition for customers is fierce in the online retail channel. Yet many of you may think it’s a strange thing to say since there’re about 1.8 billion people worldwide purchasing goods online (Statista, 2018).  But there are also many online retailers.

Back in 2014 there were already more than 24 million active online stores (Internet Retailer). Sadly, only a small percentage of them does noteworthy business. So why are the majority of online retailers not doing business? One of the main reasons why these shops fail is because their customers are having bad online experiences when visiting their websites…

Nevertheless, online shopping is so popular because it offers more convenience. Furthermore, the store location is irrelevant and consumers can shop from any location, 24 h a day, seven days a week. But, just like the physical brick-and-mortar retailers, customers visiting the store want to have, apart from the shopping, a pleasant or useful experience. Indeed, online visitors may become loyal customers if they fancy the experience they get on your website.

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A Customer’s Online Buying Journey in the Retail Channel

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Here’s the online buying journey of Jack, who does most of his shopping in the retail channel. Indeed, retailers are eager to discover the online buying habits of Jack. That’s for a good reason, because of all the new media, consumers are dramatically shifting both their media usage patterns and how they utilize different media sources to get the information they seek 1. As a result, it influences when, where, and how Jack chooses his brands.

In fact, the online buying journey of Jack today is markedly different from his buying journey about a decade ago. About ten or more years ago, Jack had to search the local ‘Yellow Pages’ directory to find retailers who kept the products that he wants.  Jack’s buying journey at that time was a linear process with a beginning and an end with a couple of events, in sequence, in between.

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Is the Sales Funnel Relevant in Predicting Buying Behavior of Digitized Customers?

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For ages now, marketers relied on the sales funnel to get insight into their potential customer’s thought process, challenges, and decisions. Indeed, the sales funnel is academically grounded in the marketing funnel, AIDA model (Attention + Interest + Desire + Action model), and the hierarchy of effects model 1. It’s no wonder that one of the first models I’d to master early in my marketing studies was the AIDA model…

The ADIA model is thought of as a linear process which starts when the customer is becoming aware of a need and ends when he/she purchase a product or service to satisfy the need. The model derives from consumer psychology and specifically the cognitive journey a customer undertakes when buying a product.

The way that the sales funnel is commonly described graphically is shown below:

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The Future of Marketing – taking care of the Needs, Wants and Desires of 150 Year Olds

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So, you think that the future of marketing is nothing but digital? Also, that artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and social media marketing are the big trends? Maybe for now they are, but the future of marketing is about a century and a half away. At that time, marketing will also be about satisfying the needs, wants and desires of 150 year olds…

Of course you should think by now I’m busy losing my marbles! I mean – we’ll be considered fortunate (or unfortunate for some) if we reach our 100th birthday. However, Jeff Glor reporting for CBS, recently suggests that some of the babies that are born today may well live to enjoy their 150th birthday.

To illustrate: In 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years. Now it’s closer to 80. Indeed, the mortality of older populations has sharply decreased during recent years in most western countries 1. But what is the highest that our lifespan can go?

In fact, the longevity record is held by Jeanne Calment of France, who was 122 years old when she died in 1997…

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Grow your Business with Referral Marketing

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One of the oldest and most effective forms of communication that can lead to customer acquisition is word of mouth (WOM) marketing 1.  For this reason, referral marketing, which makes use of WOM, is getting to the forefront again.

Numerous studies have proven that referrals are the most trusted form of advertisement. To add to that, referrals are created by happy customers, who are usually willing to spread word-of-mouth about your business for free, according to Megan Mosley in G2Crowd.com.

In the previous marketing regime of mass marketing communication, cold calls and mass mailing have lost their efficiency. Also, now in the age of digital marketing, companies are interacting more directly with their customers, not really giving them a chance to speak good about your business…

But are your loyal and satisfied customers communicating their patronage with their community and so helping you to get new customers? There is a real opportunity for businesses to invest in referral marketing campaigns.

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FM Radio in a Digitized World

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FM radio, a broadcast channel coming from an analogue era, has thus far shown resilience to the intense onslaught of digital media. Contrast that with the fate of analogue television and print which have succumbed spectacularly to the digital beast.

After all, traditional TV viewers have now become multichannel media users. As a result, cable and satellite TV are the big losers. In fact, results from a recent US study indicated that 61 percent of young adults rank online streaming services as the main way they watch TV (Christiane Cordero, CBS Minnesota).

At the same time, the print media has also been heavily disrupted by digital media. In fact, news has now gone primarily online. For that reason most major media companies have changed their business models to accommodate consumer preference for digital content (Forbes Communications Council).

For traditional television and print media the battle against digital media has largely been lost.

But what is it about FM radio? Surely, as radio made its first broadcast in 1906, the sequence of disruptive technology should have made it absolute a long time ago? But not so – here’s why…

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Get your Business Going with Startup Marketing

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Two months into your online business and something is terribly wrong. You haven’t made one sale thus far. What could be wrong? After all, you’ve got the best eCommerce platform, with stunning graphics and detailed product catalogs. Even more, every product your site has a picture with a price and a description about its features and attributes. And yet, no sales. The thing that is wrong is that you haven’t done startup marketing.

No wonder nobody finds your website or talk about your business in the social media channels. Without a marketing strategy in your startup plan, your website will eventually be doomed to the darkest corners of the internet.

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Online Retail Success Factors

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Online retail success factors are those issues that every online retailer needs to pay attention to in order to survive and grow their businesses in the online channel. Although it is relatively easy to open an online shop and start trading, the fundamentals of strategic business management remains the same, albeit in a different channel.

After all, you’ll still need to ask the following questions and get the answers about the future of your business:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How are we going to get there?

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