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Columnist Mark Ritson sparked a fierce debate with his last column questioning the value of SWOT analysis and other time-honoured techniques taught to marketers, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Read the column at www.mwlinks.co.uk/ThreeStooges and see comment extracts below.

Swot up on SWOT benefits
SWOT and Maslow are your ‘workings out’ like in a maths exam at school. If you presented your financial report with hundreds of equations all over the PowerPoint presentation, you’d get laughed out of the office. Nobody cares how you got there, just make sure the graphs go up and are right.

With both SWOT and Maslow, tactics are often confused with strategy.

SWOT can be a gateway to getting a real-time snapshot of your position, which can be developed into insight – what’s this product good at? What’s it bad at? What could our opportunity be? Where are the competitors for this product?

Maslow, again, can be over-used but can have value. I link ‘self esteem’ to social capital and ‘belonging’ to social identity so I can then figure out how to structure marketing delivery to increase an individual’s social capital and identity within a community. Used this way, Maslow becomes a tactical tool rather than a strategic prop.
Neil Hopkins

SWOT is a good way to train new sales people but when I see SWOT on a marketing plan I know that this is possibly the author’s first job in marketing.

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