The SWOT Analysis is a valuable tool to be pulled out a couple of times a year. Combined with a competitor analysis, which is more or less, doing a SWOT analysis of your competitor from their perspective, you will unquestionably find weaknesses that benefit your company. Additionally, you will likely find competitor strengths or features to spin to become your brand drivers.
In 2007, I resigned as sales manager for a prominent lifestyle magazine in Vancouver (Magazine A) to start publishing my own Magazine (Magazine B).
Although successful from a sales point of view, Magazine A had expanded beyond its usefulness for its core advertisers. The cost of the advertising had grown to the point where it was no longer a viable advertising solution for smaller independent businesses. Magazine A’s success had also seemed to go to the publishers’ head, and publically, they appeared to become forgetful of who got them there. As I have always been client-centric in my sales and service approach, I knew it was time to part ways before losing my reputation for customer service.
I believed I had a solution that served the advertisers better; Magazine B.
Successfully competing with Magazine A, which I was instrumental in building, was a challenging proposition. The fact that I was obliged to explain to the stakeholders how we were going to be successful forced me to do do do a competitor analysis and SWOT Analysis in real-time without knowing what the terms meant.
Magazine A - Strengths
Magazine B - Strengths
or brand drivers
- They were the biggest, most beautiful magazine with the broadest distribution.
- Why would you advertise in an unproven 40-page rag?
The majority of target advertisers were located in the Vancouver community called Yaletown, where Magazine A got its start and where I started Magazine B.
We realized that because our Magazine B was only 40 pages, its weight allowed it to be delivered by Canada Post into every residential mailbox in Yaletown.
Magazine A could not make any of the claims pointed out above. Nor could they dispute the claims. Although Magazine A was admittedly more attractive and had more star power, advertisers viewed our Magazine B as prudent, dependable and consistent.
Both magazines competed on a very fertile battleground for two years until both became casualties of the Global Financial Crisis in 2010.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Both are great statistical/economic business books providing insight into competition among contenders of all types and sizes in the business world.