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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.
Danny: [00:00:00] welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode. Is all about professional English and we will focus on marketing today. We will talk about the SWOT analysis or S w O T analysis, which is usually pronounced sloped analysis out. We will learn about what SWAT analysis is. And we will have a case study about a company that runs highway service stations.
[00:00:33] So without further ado, let’s start right away by talking about. What’s world analysis is now before entering the market place. It is essential to carry out a SWOT analysis. This identifies the strengths and weaknesses of a product service or company and the opportunities and threats facing it.
[00:00:54] Strengths and weaknesses refer to the product itself and are considered as internal factors. The external factors referring to the marketplace are opportunities and threats. Now to understand this better, we will have to apply it to a real life situation or a case study as we call it. And for that reason we have with us, Ben, who’s going to help us.
[00:01:19] And he will take the role of a senior marketing manager for this company. Now, remember the company we’re talking about here runs highway service station. So we’re talking about fuel. We’re talking about other things we can add to the service station because the service station does not only supply customers with fuel, but with other things as well.
[00:01:41] So you can imagine now we will start to think about this fictional company and we will think about strength. Weaknesses opportunities and threats. So Ben, welcome
[00:01:53] Ben: [00:01:53] back to the show. Thank you very much. Glad to be back.
[00:01:55] Danny: [00:01:55] So you are the head of marketing for this company, and I want you first to tell us about the importance of running a SWAT analysis.
[00:02:04] And why is it important before you start thinking of providing new services or maybe opening new branches, et cetera? Well,
[00:02:12] Ben: [00:02:12] it is very important because if you just go on and start providing a new service, or let’s say opening a new branch without studying the market, without starting with yourself, you have first to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
[00:02:27] And here it will have to build on those strengths and maybe put them as the focus point in your marketing campaigns. And then talking about the weaknesses. Maybe some weaknesses are unavoidable or out of your control, but maybe there are some other weaknesses that you can address and fix before you launch this new product or service.
[00:02:48] Danny: [00:02:48] So what about external factors then? Why are they important?
[00:02:52] Ben: [00:02:52] Well, that is obvious because think about it. If you want to go into the market, there’s always going to be competitors. And if you don’t think about the strength of your competitors, and if you don’t think about the places, your competitors haven’t taken full advantage of, you’re going to come short and you’re not going to be well-prepared.
[00:03:12] Danny: [00:03:12] So before we start talking about the strengths weaknesses, Uh, opportunities and threats of your own company. Are you saying that the SWOT analysis is something that you do at the beginning of a project and then it becomes fixed in stone and never changes?
[00:03:30] Ben: [00:03:30] Not at all. It is important to start with the SWOT analysis, to have a clear idea of the market you want to penetrate.
[00:03:37] But the SWOT analysis is a flexible tool in your arsenal. You need to revise it all the time and change because some points that used to be strength might turn into weaknesses or vice versa, and some opportunities might not be. Opportunities in a year from now, maybe at the start of a project, they were opportunities, but after a year they’re not opportunities anymore.
[00:04:01] And there are threats that you cannot simply predict as time goes by. New threats might appear and you have to assess these spreads. So this is not set in stone. The SWOT analysis is not something that you do once and forget about. You have to revise it. You have to work on it all the time. And there are some things that are out of your control.
[00:04:24] As we said, maybe some new opportunities came, you have to address them. Maybe new threats came along. You have to address these as well. And there are some positive things. Maybe some of your weaknesses became strength, or you eliminated some of your weaknesses. You added some of your strengths. And at the same time, you have to look at the negative sides.
[00:04:44] Maybe some of your strengths that used to be strengths at the beginning of the project are not strength anymore. Maybe they have become weaknesses because you have not taken care of this strong point you have, and you have not built on it or something happens and you lose an important employee or you lose an important branch or some kind of deal you have with some companies.
[00:05:07] That you use to consider as a strength for your company and it’s not there anymore. So you have to address that all the time. The bottom line is that the SWOT analysis is a flexible analysis that you need to work on over time and you need to add and remove things, or maybe shift them from one area to the next overtime based on the circumstances and how they change.
[00:05:31] Danny: [00:05:31] All right. So one last thing, it might be obvious, but we said SWAT analysis and the SWOT analysis is all capital SW OT. So what does that stand for? Maybe we’ve been talking about that for a while, but could you tell our listeners what Swope stands
[00:05:46] Ben: [00:05:46] for? Well, that’s very simple. Of course, we’ve been talking about strength.
[00:05:50] Weaknesses. And there goes the S and w the beginning of the Swope. And then we talked about opportunities and threats, and there goes the O and the T. So altogether strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that makes up the SWOT analysis as w OT.
[00:06:09] Danny: [00:06:09] Perfect. So now to understand this better or to understand that in a realistic situation, let’s remind the listeners again, that your company runs a highway service stations.
[00:06:19] So when you start talking about your strengths and weaknesses, we will have an idea why this is a strength, why this is a weakness based on the service you provide. That’s right. So let’s start by talking about your strengths. What do you consider as strengths for your company?
[00:06:37] Ben: [00:06:37] Well, first of all, let me start by saying that we have superior distribution network.
[00:06:43] We have one of the best, and we are the specialist in long distance. Petrol needs for truck drivers. We have experience knowledge, and we have skill and our consumers see us as a quality brand. In addition to that, We have a special loyalty program and it’s kind of an innovative royalty program. That’s unique in the market and we’re also a profitable company.
[00:07:07] We’re making money. We’re not new in the market. And we have some cash to use. If we want to have a big launch or something, we have cash because we’re already making money. And also our brand is highly recognizable. I can even call it a global brand. In a nutshell, these are the strengths that we have as a company.
[00:07:26] Danny: [00:07:26] perfect. And here, when you talked about the strengths, let me remind our listeners that we’re talking about strength. Now we will talk about weaknesses and that’s the first part of the SWOT analysis, which is the internal part. We’re talking about the internal factors of the SWOT analysis. We’re talking about the internal strength.
[00:07:47] These things are internal. We’re not talking about external factors yet. Now let’s move on and talk about the second important internal factor. And that is the weaknesses. It’s not just right. Or it’s not complete just to think about what you’re good at. You have to think about what you’re bad at or where you come short, where you need some work, where you need to improve.
[00:08:10] That is very important. You have to be honest with yourself and remember, there’s nothing personal about that. It’s not bad to talk about your weaknesses and especially this is in the environment of a company, a business. It is important to point out the weaknesses you have. Not for the sake of just pointing them out, but you have to come up with some solutions or some ideas how to fix or to improve on these weaknesses.
[00:08:34] So let me go back to Ben. Now, Ben, you told us about the strengths and the things you talked about, the superior distribution network, uh, uh, your, all the brand and this great loyalty program that you have. You’re already making money, which is great. Of course. And this is a quite impressive list of strength you have for your company.
[00:08:54] But now let’s move on and talk about the weaknesses that you have as a company. What do you define as weaknesses that you have in your company?
[00:09:03] Ben: [00:09:03] Well to think about that, we have quite impressive list as well. It’s not just the impressive list of strengths. We have. We have an impressive list of weaknesses.
[00:09:13] Now, the first thing is our offer, you know, in terms of basic product, which is the petrol. We have an undifferentiated offer. Petrol is the same, whatever the brand. So we cannot differentiate in our basic product, which is the petrol, because it’s almost the same, you know, just like we have some differences, but these differences are slight.
[00:09:34] So maybe here, the range of our basic product is very limited or undifferentiated. And that is a weakness in my opinion. And coming from that, we can think of also the lack of new products. We need more. We have good products. We have a good set of products besides the basic product, which is the petrol of course, or the gas, but we need more, we need more, we don’t have new products as I see it, that is a weakness on our side.
[00:10:02] And then. I can see another weakness. And that is related to one of the strengths we have. I told you about one of our strengths, that we are the specialist in long distance, petrol needs for truck drivers. We have experienced knowledge and skills, but I think one of our weaknesses in relation to this strength that we have ineffective leverage of specialist image, we don’t use our specialist image.
[00:10:27] Well, I guess that we need to improve on our brand marketing and. This image, we’re not building it. We’re not showing it the way it is supposed to be shown to customers. And then talking about communication. I will have to admit that we have inferior communication. We could always improve on communication no matter how good our communication is, but.
[00:10:49] Our communication is not at its best at the moment. I guess I can call it inferior communication. We could communicate better. And then there is something that we’ve been focusing on for a while, and that is the petrol and fossil fuels. And we have for that damaged reputation for petrol than fossil fuels.
[00:11:06] Not because of us. Of course, we are not polluting the planet. We’re not causing global warming so to speak, but that is the thing we deal with. That is our service. And they have a bad image. The fossil fuels the petrol have a bad image. That’s one of our weaknesses. Maybe you would call that an external factor, but it’s not because it’s our choice.
[00:11:26] Maybe we could think about. Other choices as well. And, you know, just like providing some electric outlets for electric cars or something. So maybe we should diversify a little bit and not put our whole focus on petrol and fossil fuels. And because the bad image they have is reflecting on our image. And then there is one thing I talked about as a strength, but it’s kind of closely related to what I said about our specialists.
[00:11:55] You know, we have a unique and innovative loyalty program. It’s unique, it’s the best in the market, in my opinion, but it is not marketed enough and not a lot of people know how good it is. And because of that, the consumer loyalty is weak. So, I guess part of the problem is not having enough marketing efforts for the specific thing, which I think is a great point of strength we have, and we should work more on it as far as I can remember, these are the weaknesses that we need to address.
[00:12:26] Danny: [00:12:26] All right. So, well that is, as you said, that is an impressive list of weaknesses, and you’re very honest about those weaknesses. I mean, some of those weaknesses make some of your strengths. Weaknesses so to speak,
[00:12:39] Ben: [00:12:39] but yeah, kind of, I could say yes to that, but not exactly because you know, sometimes you have a great asset, but you’re not using this great asset in the right way.
[00:12:50] Imagine you have the best programmer in the world, in your company. And you’re a top software company, let’s say this programmer, or let’s say team of programmers so that we don’t see just one individual. You have this team or this individual, he’s a genius or she’s a genius, obviously, but you put that person to do some kind of mundane routine tasks.
[00:13:12] You ask them all the time to do silly reports. You ask them to attend long meetings of three or four hours at a time where just top executives talk about nonsense, nonsense. For those people who just care about programming and creating something, you’re just killing those people. These people are part of your strength because you have them.
[00:13:36] They’re still there in your company. I don’t know what they’re still doing, but they’re still there. But at the same time, they’re a weakness. They’re not a weakness by themselves, but you’re not helping them reach their full potential. And. When they reach full potential, they’re going to give you great ideas and great products.
[00:13:52] And they’re going to be not only strength, they’re going to be maybe the grades this asset you’ve ever had, but your weakness is not using your assets. So sometimes strengths can be assets that you have, but your weakness about this asset that you’re not using your assets as you should. And you have to be honest with yourself about that.
[00:14:11] You can’t lie to yourself. I mean, if you don’t pinpoint these problems, who’s going to do that for you. Who cares about your company more than you do. So it is necessary to be honest with yourself.
[00:14:23] Danny: [00:14:23] Yeah. I see that. And. That is a very important tip. When you do the SWOT analysis, it’s very important to be as honest and objective as possible.
[00:14:33] It’s not about just shooting at some department you hate or a manager you hate, and you just want to put this manager’s department in the weaknesses section at all costs. It’s not about that. After all your success is the company success and the company’s success is yours. So being competitive as one thing and being disruptive is another thing.
[00:14:55] That’s not going to serve you in the long run, but that might be the topic of a different discussion. We might have another time. But for now, let’s continue on. We talked about the strengths and weaknesses. Let’s move on and talk about the opportunities and threats. And these are the external factors. But before we continue and talk about opportunities and threats, let me remind you that you can find a link in the description of this episode that will take you to our website English plus podcast.com.
[00:15:20] And there you will find the show notes. The transcript, obviously. And you will find a downloadable PDF or you can practice the ideas of the SWOT analysis that you’re learning with us in this episode. And there are also some interactive activities where you can check some of the words that we have here.
[00:15:38] Like when we say superior undifferentiated offer. Yes. We’re explaining them as we go. But there might be some important words you need to practice and make a permanent part of your active vocabulary bank. So take the link to our website and go to this custom post where we have everything you need to practice the things you’ve learned and to improve your English.
[00:16:00] And of course, one more thing. If you’re enjoying the content we’re creating, and if you’d like to support us to create more of that content you love, there’s also a link to our Patreon page. Well, you can support us by becoming a patron of the show, go to Patreon, become a patron of English plus podcast and help us grow and help us reach more people worldwide and spread knowledge to all corners of the globe with your help and your support.
[00:16:24] So with that being said, let’s move back to what we’re talking about, and that is the SWOT analysis. And now we will move on to talk about the external factors. And these are the second part of the SWAT, the OT, the opportunities. And the threats. So Ben, what can you tell me about the opportunities you have now?
[00:16:42] These are things that are outside the company. These are things that are external. And by saying external, we mean that most of these things are out of your control, but there are out there for you to see, to spot and views. These are opportunities, right?
[00:16:58] Ben: [00:16:58] That’s right. It’s very important to keep an eye out in the market.
[00:17:03] And to spot those opportunities because when you spot those opportunities before your competitors, or you can act on these opportunities before your competitors do that will give you a great edge and your service or product. Will be a lot better because there’s always strength in being the first. I mean, sometimes you might not be the best when you start out, but if you are the first and you improve, you will have a head start ahead of all your competition.
[00:17:33] And when they tag along. They will find that it’s difficult to catch up, even if they are kind of providing the same kind of service, because you’ve already built a great name. Your brand has grown. You have a recognizable brand and people follow brands because they trust these brands. So spotting opportunities.
[00:17:52] Is very important and it’s kind of a talent and it takes diligence. I’m not going to say intelligence. It takes diligence because you have to think about it all the time. You have to keep an eye out. And because you’re interested in what you’re doing, you will see those opportunities when other people don’t, or just see them as regular events, you will see those as opportunities, but to be specific about our company, The opportunities we have at the moment, there is a developing market for service station shop, like car maintenance, product confectionery, and other stuff.
[00:18:28] So that might be something we can explore it and we can use. And there’s also a gap in the market. We have the hybrid cars and electric cars, and these will need fuel. We may step in and provide those hybrid cars with fuels in our stations. So that will give us an edge as well. And there’s a huge potential for growth.
[00:18:48] There is a lot of room to expand into new markets. I can see those as great opportunities for us, and we need to think about them and try to exploit them to the best of our abilities.
[00:19:00] Danny: [00:19:00] Okay, these are good opportunities I can say. And we always think about the good, and we have to think about the bad or the positive and the negative.
[00:19:09] If we think opportunities as positive things you have as external factors, obviously we’ll have to think also of negative external factors, which are the threats. And that’s the last part of our SWAT analysis. That is the T the threats. So what are the threats out there? What do you consider as threats for your business?
[00:19:30] Ben: [00:19:30] Well, our main competitor is strong. I can say that as plainly, as, as it gets, we have strong competition. We’re not the only ones in the market. Yes, we are one of the best, but we’re not the only best or we’re not the best. Actually. Sometimes our competition gets ahead. We have to admit, we have to see the reality as it is.
[00:19:50] We’re not. The best, the ultimate best. And nobody can even think about catching up with us. No, actually we’re in a very hot race and sometimes we’re ahead. Sometimes we’re behind sometimes we’re ahead in some of our products or services and sometimes we’re not, we’re not that good. We have to stay sharp to keep up with our strong competition.
[00:20:11] So I would say that is a continuing threat because we have competition. We have good competition. All the companies are as good as we are. Of course, I’m talking about the top companies, but even though we have those companies that are as good as we are, they’re thinking the way we’re thinking they have their own SWOT analysis, maybe we’re part of their threats.
[00:20:30] So if they’re thinking about us as a threat, we have to think about them as a threat. I mean, let’s not just. Think about it as a war. It’s not a war of course, but there’s competition. Right? We have to think about a way to beat our competition in a fair game. Of course, we’re not talking about any of those dirty tricks or stuff.
[00:20:48] And then we have the price war in the fuel market. The price war in the fuel market is killing us, man, it’s becoming more threatening and all our competitors are cutting prices. Sometimes that can be a real challenge. You know, just, there’s always this kind of balance between setting a good price and having a healthy profit margin.
[00:21:10] It’s not always that easy with the price war in the fuel markets and with your competitors, cutting down prices all the time. That can be a challenge and it’s out of our hands, you know, just it’s a threat. There’s also the emerging trend towards hybrid cars and electric cars. Well, this is kind of the same, like strength and weaknesses, you know?
[00:21:30] Yeah. We can see it as an opportunity, but it’s also a threat if we don’t act upon it, if we don’t do anything about it. There’s this emerging trend. And remember I said earlier, we rely heavily on petrol and fossil fuels. So we’re not there yet. We have not accommodated hybrid cars yet. They are a great opportunity, but at the same time, if we don’t do anything about that, they will be a great threat for us.
[00:21:52] And there is also the consumer fears about environment and pollution. And that’s kind of related, you know, because the awareness today, specially we’re talking about environmental issues is greater than ever. And a lot of people care or at least I could say more and more people care about the environment than ever before.
[00:22:12] I mean, in the past, you know, you just want to do get a car. You wouldn’t care about the carbon footprint or anything like that. You just want a fast car, a cool car, et cetera. But now no people, they’re kind of more concerned about this. They care about their carbon footprint and they want to reduce it in a way or another.
[00:22:31] So they may go towards this hybrid car solution or maybe electric cars. So we need to act upon that it is a threat today, but if we deal with this threat and if we accommodate this threat in the market, they will become good opportunities for us. And later on, they will become part of our strength. As a company, they will become internal factors because we will be the ones who are dealing with this thing and we will build our brand around this image.
[00:22:58] Danny: [00:22:58] That’s that’s great. I guess it’s been very useful to talk about those in context so that our listeners can understand better. The difference between the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The examples you gave are great. And the information you shared are just invaluable. Thank you very much for all the information you shared.
[00:23:18] Ben: [00:23:18] No problem. You know, it’s, it’s not just about, yeah. The swapped analysis is about this and that you need to crack it down. You need to go into the details, the nuts and bolts and everything. And the more important thing you need to be honest about it and objective my first advice to people who are running those kinds of analysis.
[00:23:37] Please don’t take anything personal. I mean, if you have to name yourself or your department, as part of the weaknesses, the company has just do it because you’re pointing that out to senior management or maybe the owners of a company, I don’t know about your situation, but just do it yourself before anybody else does.
[00:23:56] And you know, it’s just about being honest and just having this will to work on these weaknesses and moving to the external factors. You have to be vigilant. You have to keep an eye out for all these things that are happening. I mean, this is your business, this is your career. Maybe you’re just calling it a job.
[00:24:15] You’re just doing it for the money. I know a lot of people would say that, but then after 40 years they would still call this a job. I mean, man, come on. Grow up. It’s not about a job when you do it for more than a year and you can’t wait. You can transform this job into a career if you want. Just love it.
[00:24:34] And when you leave it, it doesn’t matter. You can just go and do whatever you love, but while you’re in it just love it as much as you can, because you never know this might be the place where you’re going to be, or the long run. And by loving your job, you will keep an eye out and you will spot those opportunity.
[00:24:51] You have this kind of passion, you have this special kind of interest you care. I mean, you care about these things. So you see them. If you don’t care about them, they will just walk past you and you will never see any of those things. Neither the opportunities. No, the threats,
[00:25:05] Danny: [00:25:05] I guess that’s great advice we can give to all those people who are thinking about running SWAT analysis, especially when people are doing it for the first time.
[00:25:13] I guess the advice you gave is really valuable, but I will have to ask you for one last thing. Before we wrap up this episode, I want you to imagine that I am one of your employees, or I may be all your employees, and I want you to talk to me. About this. I mean, yeah, we, we have great points here in the SWAT analysis, we have great points.
[00:25:34] We listed a strength as weaknesses, as opportunities and threats. But what would you say if you are presenting this information? Let’s say maybe I’m not a team lead. Let’s say I’m the board. Just consider that I am the board of the company and you want to present this information to me. What would you say?
[00:25:52] Because I can think of SWAT analysis as just like this great chart that we can see. It’s, you know, just like you have those four squares and it’s perfect. You know, just seeing this as a chart and everything and putting it on a chart, but talking about it is another thing. And if you are great at drawing charts and filling them with information, But you’re not that good at talking about them.
[00:26:15] That is a great weakness you need to work on. So let’s give our listeners a taste of how an expert would talk about or would present this marketing strategy based on the SWAT analysis. To the board, let’s say that I’m the board. What would you say
[00:26:30] Ben: [00:26:30] found that many times it’s not a problem. And, you know, just since we just stopped about them so I can think of all the ideas.
[00:26:36] So I would say we need to exploit our strengths by you making the most of our distribution network and loyalty program. If we can also build on strengths, such as our brand image and current profitability, then it will be easier to address or deal with weaknesses such as the lack of new products. We need to anticipate the threat of new hybrid cars and seize the new opportunities.
[00:27:01] This will bring in terms of providing service points for these cars, the potential price war in the fuel market poses, a serious threat, and we will need to minimize the weaknesses. This may create. Our sector is also under threat from the trend towards greater consumer concerns about the environment.
[00:27:20] But I believe we can create an opportunity by strengthening our communication and informing consumers about what we’re doing to preserve the environment. Well, I don’t know if you like it, but that is what I would say to the board.
[00:27:35] Danny: [00:27:35] Wow, man. I mean, you just summed up everything in this short, what can we call that a pitch or something?
[00:27:43] Ben: [00:27:43] It’s not, not a pitch. It’s a, it’s more like a, you know, what you would say in a presentation you’re mean it’s very important. Maybe that’s not the topic of this episode, but when you want to present ideas to someone. You have to think about this person, you know, for the board. Usually they want you to tell them everything in a nutshell, in about a minute or two, no matter how big the topic is, and you usually start with something like this, and then they can ask you for more details.
[00:28:12] So, you know, you’re prepared. So you’re not afraid if anybody asks you about, uh, talking more details about some of these things you said you wouldn’t want to go into greater details. When you first tell them about your SWAT analysis. Just be brief at the beginning, but include all the ideas, all the big ideas you have.
[00:28:30] And then when they ask you for more details, you just go on and talk about details because they ask for it, but just don’t bore them with too many details. They might not need to hear about. That’d be my advice to you.
[00:28:41] Danny: [00:28:41] Well, obviously that is great advice. And I agree with you, but of course, we’re not going to talk a lot about presentation skills and that is what you were talking about, but that is.
[00:28:51] Definitely a topic for future episodes. And we would love to have you back and talk more about presentation skills. So I would like to thank you very much for being on our show and for helping me out to explain the SWOT analysis in terms that everybody can understand them and maybe they can start applying them in their product launches or service
[00:29:13] Ben: [00:29:13] launches.
[00:29:14] I’m so glad to be here, but you know, just even think about this world analysis in your everyday life. Sometimes it works. It’s not just for big companies. Sometimes it also works for small projects. It’s not just for, you know, uh, global brands. It is important for global brands, but it is as important for small companies, even for personal projects.
[00:29:36] If you think about swollen, It will change the way you see the project. And it will definitely bring about a better project, a project that is more suitable for the market. You’re building
[00:29:47] Danny: [00:29:47] it for. Absolutely. I agree with you. So that being said, I would like to thank you very much for listening to our episode today about SWAT analysis.
[00:29:56] This was professional English, and we focused on marketing and the SWOT analysis. I hope you like the information we gave you. And let me remind you once more, that you can practice all the information we talked about in this episode, on our website, English plus podcast.com. You can take the link you can find in the description of the episode, you will find there a PDF practice worksheet.
[00:30:17] You can download practice. Check the answers with the answer key we provide as well. And there are interactive activities where you can practice some of those words. Some of the keywords actually that we used in this episode are very important for you to remember and add to your active vocabulary bank.
[00:30:34] Well, that being said, this is your host, Danny. Thank you again for listening to our episode and I will see you next time.