SWOT Analysis: What Goes in Which Box?


SWOT analysis, strategy, marketing environment

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

SWOT analysis is a popular tool and very effective for synthesizing the situational analysis component of a marketing plan.

But often it can be somewhat challenging working out in which of the four boxes of the SWOT matrix that the marketing information and/or market insight should be placed.

As we know, the SWOT matrix is built on the dimensions of internal/external to the firm, and whether it is advantageous or a limiting factor in marketing strategy development, as per the following diagram:

Student Discussion Task

You need to work through the following five sets of pieces of marketing information. These are findings and insights from a firm’s situational analysis.

Please note that in each set of eight statements there are always:

  • two strengths,
  • two weaknesses,
  • two opportunities, and
  • two threats.

Your task is to classify each statement into the appropriate component of the SWOT matrix, allocating two per box per set – for Sets A to E below.


  1. One of our key markets is entering the decline stage of its product life cycle
  2. We operate a very efficient logistics system
  3. We are looking to use automation to cut our operating costs
  4. We have a slow speed-to-market process for new product development
  5. We operate in a limited geographic area
  6. High inflation rates are increasing our costs
  7. Our company is adaptive to change
  8. We have access to big data that we can leverage


  1. Targeting international markets looks promising for expansion
  2. There are some obvious product gaps in our offering
  3. There appears to be some unfavorable shifts in consumer spending patterns
  4. We offer great customer service
  5. We have relatively poor financial reserves
  6. A new customer loyalty program should result in increased sales
  7. Several new competitors are becoming more aggressive with their pricing levels
  8. We operate with high profit margins per sale


  1. We have developed a positive and supportive team-based culture
  2. We are yet to develop our analytics and data knowledge
  3. There is increased media fragmentation making it harder to reach consumers
  4. We have several new products in development for launch next year
  5. Through research, we have a good understanding of the customers’ journey
  6. Introducing low-cost products under a new brand name can enable us to target budget-conscious consumers
  7. We have not developed relationships with key influencers
  8. Retailers are becoming less interested in our frequent product line extensions


  1. The rate of technology change is increasing
  2. Market development (more geographic coverage) should deliver strong growth
  3. A key competitor is up for sale, and we are considering it as an acquisition
  4. Consumers are becoming more price sensitive and looking for special deals
  5. We offer a clearly differentiated product mix
  6. Our website information is quite limited
  7. We have a high share-of-customer (= share of sales)
  8. We have limited brand awareness internationally


  1. Introducing a smart phone app should provide access to more new customers
  2. Our brand awareness is quite high
  3. Product piracy of our brands is becoming more common
  4. We have strong ratings on consumer review websites
  5. Working with the growing “gig economy” should enable us to reduce some fixed costs
  6. There is an increased level of economic uncertainty
  7. We have weak bargaining power with retailers
  8. Some of our supplier relationships are poor

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