Assessing opportunities and threats

Companies should conduct a structured analysis of the external opportunities and threats that are presented by the Internet environment. They should also consider their own strengths and weaknesses in the Internet marketing environment. Summarising the results through Internet-specific SWOT analysis (internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats) will clearly highlight the opportunities and threats. Appropriate planning to counter the threats and take advantage of the opportunities can then be built into the Internet marketing plan. An example of a typical SWOT analysis of Internet-marketing-related strengths and weaknesses is shown in Figure 4.7. As is often the case with SWOT analysis, the opportunities available to a company are the opposites

1. Existing brand

2. Existing customer base

3. Existing distribution

Weaknesses - W

1. Brand perception

2. Intermediary use

3. Technology/skills

4. X-channel support

Opportunities - O

1. Cross-selling

2. New markets

3. New services

4. Alliances/Co-branding

SO strategies

Leverage strengths to maximise opportunities = Attacking strategy

WO strategies

Counter weaknesses through exploiting opportunities = Build strengths for attacking strategy

Threats - T

1. Customer choice

2. New entrants

3. New competitive products

4. Channel conflicts

ST strategies

Leverage strengths to minimise threats = Defensive strategy

WT strategies

Counter weaknesses and threats

= Build strengths for defensive strategy

Figure 4.7 A generic SWOT analysis showing typical opportunities and threats presented by the Internet of the threats presented by other companies. The strengths and weaknesses will vary according to the company involved, but many of the strengths and weaknesses are dependent on the capacity of senior management to acknowledge and act on change.

The presentation of the Internet-specific SWOT shown in Figure 4.7 is a powerful technique since it not only indicates the SWOT, but can be used to generate appropriate strategies. Often, the most rewarding strategies combine Strengths and Opportunities or counter Threats through Strengths.

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