Marketing is the process of developing, promoting, delivering and pricing services and products for customers. However, before marketers make decisions about these processes, they review the existing and potential customer environment. To help with such a review, marketers identify marketing strengths and weaknesses. The tools to do this include SWOT analyses, strategies and communication programmes.
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SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Marketing strengths and weaknesses are issues that apply to the internal operations of an organisation. Opportunities and threats are external matters. To identify strengths and weaknesses marketers examine the organisation's resources. These resources include finance, technology, brand image, production costs, employee skills and marketing capabilities. Strengths are resources that provide an organisation with a competitive advantage. Weaknesses are resources that restrict the creation of an effective marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is a plan marketers develop to help an organisation gain a competitive edge for its services and products. The strategy takes account of the strengths and weaknesses identified in a SWOT analysis. It also considers the strengths and weaknesses that enable an organisation to meet the needs of customers. Such needs could highlight new opportunities. A marketing strategy takes advantage of such opportunities by matching customer needs to an organisation's strengths.
Further strategic role
A marketing strategy has a further role. It helps to distinguish between genuine strengths and weaknesses, and what could be nothing more than inconsistencies within resources (See Resources 3, Chapter 5). For example, a perceived weakness in product sales could simply be an inconsistency resulting from a recent, poorly-judged pricing policy (See Resources 6, Pages 256 and 257). An organisation could correct this relatively easily (See Resources 6, Pages 256 and 257). A marketing strategy highlights such inconsistencies and focuses efforts on reducing the limitations that genuine weaknesses cause (See Resources 3, Chapter 5). It can also ensure an organisation exploits genuine strengths (See Resources 3, Chapter 5).
An organisation must know its marketing strengths and weaknesses to communicate effectively with customers. For example, a marketing strategy tries to meet what customers want by ensuring they understand a service or product. Marketing communication does this by exploiting strengths in areas such as product packaging and advertising. With the latter, marketers also consider the marketing strengths and weaknesses of different communication media such as television and newspapers. Marketers then use the media that reaches target audiences successfully.
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