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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

The Tribe Undertakes a SWOT Analysis

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe defined and examined each stage of the Product Life Cycle. This week, the group undertakes a SWOT analysis in order to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the business today. Remember, fire = print.

Standing in front of Numo, Zoot and Org in the conference room, Lucy drew a box on the whiteboard and split it into four quadrants: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. “A strategic SWOT analysis should be used to guide any business initiative we undertake, such as new product development and creation,” Lucy explained.

“Swat what?” Zoot quipped.

“Very funny,” Lucy said sarcastically. “Let’s fill out each quadrant. Remember that company innovation and competition should also be figured into SWOT calculations.”

“Opportunity: Line extension,” Org began.

“Weakness: Our prices are perceived as too high,” contirbuted Numo.

“Threat: FlintStone continues to innovate,” Zoot observed.

“Opportunity: Matches,” Org added.

“Strength: Experience,” Numo said

“Weakness: Experience,” Org fired back.

“Right!” said Lucy. “I like that. Our industry experience and legacy gives us credibility, yet could make us appear like an old dog in today’s market. It’s important to recognize that the FEI legacy works for and against us.”

The tribe threw out dozens of suggestions, finally arriving at a chart that looked like this:

Historical importance Higher prices
Most experience in industry Over reliance on original fire service
Extensive network of runners Low barrier to entry in core business
Marketing/promotional expertise 
Reluctance to cannibalize core service
Good customer feedback Overconfidence in rank and file
Easy to attract talent Difficulty attracting younger customers
Matches Flintstone improve technology
B2B Pyro recruiting fastest runners
Line extension Government regulation/potential utility
Fireputers/online purchases Proposed taxes for fire services
Markets beyond Olympus Core service becoming a commodity?
Distribution partnerships Increasing do-it-yourself mentality

“A good SWOT analysis identifies the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve the objective—in our case, creating and developing new products,” Lucy said. “SWOT analysis should also differentiate between where our company is today, and where it could be in the future. Since our SWOT analysis accomplishes both of these objectives, I’d say this has been a success, wouldn’t you, tribe?”

The tribe cheered.

Always a man of action, Org pounded the table and said: “So far, this is all just talk—but it’s good talk. What’s next?”

Today’s FIRE! Point
SWOT is a marketing fundamental. Analyzing your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will help your company complete the four Ps—product, price, place and promotion—and know where it stands in the marketplace. Business initiatives like new product development and creation should be undertaken with a detailed SWOT in mind. Be sure to figure company innovation and competition into SWOT calculations. Your SWOT should differentiate between where your company is today, and where it could be in the future.

FIRE! in Action
Know Your SWOT so You can Adjust

Baja Auto’s original line of motorcycles weren’t selling well. So the business introduced a new line called the Discover M. In just four months, the company’s share of the motorcycle market  HYPERLINK "" jumped from 17 percent to 28 percent, on the strength of this new product.

Next week: Lucy explains how AIDAR demonstrates each step of the sales/marketing process.

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