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SWOT Analysis | Step 1 in Building a Digital Marketing Strategy

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

In this article, I'm going to talk about the first step in building your digital marketing strategy for your software product, app, enterprise software, or SaaS.

Basically, you need to scan your current business environment including, internal, competitive and external to your organization to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

First, look internal in your organization. How good are our product or service? Do they need improvements or updates? Have you been receiving complaints, reviews and ratings by users on your app? how competitive the features are? What is the plan for improvements or updates? Look at your team, How strong your team is as a culture and as a unique set of skills? What are their strengths and weakness? Look at your resources. Are you low and budget? Do you need to have another round of investment? Are you ready to scale? Look at your digital assets. How strong are you now in search engine organic results? Does your website need to be updated? Do you have engaged users on your social media pages or not? Also, look at your processes. How do you do business, especially if you are in a B2B environment. How does your marketing team interact with your sales team? What is the sales funnel? Do you have a CRM system? How lead generation and nurturing go? Do you need to streamline those processes or build new ones?

Second, look at the competitive environment out of your organization. For example, if you are building a new dating app, what are the current market leaders in this category in Apple App Store or Google Play? What are their current rankings in organic search? How much revenue do they generate? But how to get that information? There are tools and platforms that can provide this information. For example AppAnnie, AppTweak and AppFollow. These are App Store Optimization (ASO) software tools that provide market intelligence metrics on competitors' apps. Some of those metrics can be found at the app stores for free such as the latest average downloads, ratings and reviews. However, ASO tools can provide more advanced metrics and historical performance information such as estimated revenue, daily active users and estimated app power. Those ASO tools can be expensive depending on the available metrics or data points they provide and how accurate the algorithm of estimation. They can be as expensive as 10s of thousands on a monthly subscription with yearly contracts.

Third, scan the external or macroenvironment. The most important external factor when we talked about building a digital marketing strategy is to look at online user behavior trends and changes. You need to keep a close eye on those trends. Some tools can help. For example Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google search volume estimation and Twitter Trends. See what people are searching for in the last week or month in specific locations. In addition, look at published reports by specialized websites like We Are Social for example. This website provides great insights on social media penetration, usage and platforms. Another important thing to look at the macroenvironment are technological changes. For example, there is a lot of about wearables such as smart watches, shirts, headsets and shoes.

Fourth, you need to understand how your users or your target audiences make decisions to buy something online, in other words, mapping users' digital journey. For example, if they're buying a travel deal, what websites do they use to compare prices and what websites do they use to make a booking? What influences them during that decision making process?

After you went through all the internal, competitive and external environment checklist and identified what can be a strength, weakness, opportunity or threats, you will end up seeing something like this.

This is a result of your entire digital marketing analysis. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your organization, you have control over them. Opportunities and threats happen anyway in the macroenvironment but they do impact your business, and you don't have control over them.

Why bother doing this anyways? Because these will be the base for your digital marketing strategies! For example, if one of your strength is good search engine organic ranking and you have an opportunity in the same time: the growth of wearable technology. You can use your search engine good positions to start ranked high for this new category of wearable technologies. Another example, if you have highly-engaged users that follow and like your pages (strength), and in the same time you are low on funds (weakness), you can reward those users to refer your new products to friends.

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