SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Just how well do you know your clients? If asked, could you complete a SWOT analysis to recognize their strengths and weaknesses to uncover possible opportunities and threats that may exist which could lead to incremental advertising revenue for your newspaper?

SWOT is a tool for analyzing a business and its environment. If it’s not, it should be your first step in developing client specific new business advertising strategies. Often times, sitting down with your clients and laying out a SWOT can help you both understand areas of their business that need help. Once you and your client understand SWOT, it’s usually pretty simple to recommend an advertising program that can minimize weaknesses while capitalizing on strengths.

Strengths and weaknesses are “internal” factors – things that a business CAN control. Keeping traditional newspaper clients in mind, a few applicable examples of each are:


–        A new, innovative product or service

–        Quality of product or service

–        Location(s) of a business


–        Lack of an advertising/marketing program

–        Undifferentiated products or services

–        Negative business reputation

Opportunities and threats are “external” factors – things that a business CANNOT control, but might be able to influence. Based on a client’s strengths and weaknesses above, examples could be:


–        Developing sales channels (e.g. the internet vs. brick and motar)

–        Lack of a competitive marketplace

–        Changes in the marketplace makes your product more desirable


–        A competitor opening a new location

–        Price wars with a competitor

–        Existing product becoming outdated

In upcoming issues of The Sales Cycle, we’ll explore SWOT analysis further and I’ll explain how each and every strength, weakness, opportunity and threat you and your client can identify may lead to potential business development revenue for you and your newspaper. Weaknesses are often defined by poor public perception and ineffective communication. Luckily for us, newspapers are one of the most effective vehicles to enhance a brand image and deliver timely and relevant messages which can help mitigate weaknesses and actually transform them into strengths.

I look forward to seeing you this week at the MNA annual convention in Bloomington. If you’re unable to attend in person, be sure to follow the real-time action on Twitter at #MNACon12.

Have a terrific week,

If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or dan@mna.org