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2 Jul 2020

SWOT Analysis 101: Simple Research Tips for Uncovering Valuable Business Intelligence on Your Competitors, Markets, and Industry

How well do you know your individual competitors and the competitive landscape in which you operate? When it comes to putting together useful business intelligence, SWOT analysis is an important piece of the puzzle. What does this popular framework for evaluating your organization’s competitive position involve and how can you accomplish the analysis in a timely fashion with research for financial professionals?

Focusing on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats

Anyone familiar with military and corporate speak knows that both groups have an affinity for acronyms. Not surprisingly, the corporate world also has an affinity for advice from ancient Chinese general and philosopher, Sun Tzu. One such piece of guidance: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” That’s where SWOT analysis comes into play. Financial services organizations can—and should—conduct SWOT analyses on both their own organization and their competitors’.

SWOT analysis groups the information gathered through research into four categories. The first two are considered internal factors; the last two are considered external factors.

  1. Strengths—Advantages you or your competitors have over each other. In this category, you want to answer questions like:
  • What unique services and products are in play?
  • What sets your company (or your competitors’) apart from the rest?
  1. Weaknesses—Disadvantages compared to other competitors. In this category, you want to answer questions like:
  • What do your competitors do better than you?
  • What could or should your organization do to improve?
  1. Opportunities­—Trends that you or your competitors can take advantage of. In this category, you want to answer questions like:
  • What niches could you occupy and dominate?
  • What trends can you pivot to address?
  1. Threats—Trends that pose a threat to you or your competitors. In this category, you want to answer questions like:
  • What trends could have a negative impact on your business?
  • What current or emerging competitors could win business away from you?

The SWOT will examine each competitor’s value proposition, competitive position and product differentiation, key equities, and other factors.

Diving into SWOT analysis research for financial professionals

Finding out about a competitor’s value proposition, competitive positioning, and product differentiators is a perfect starting point. This type of information typically can be found by reviewing a competitor’s website, particularly the about page, product pages, and blog. But when it comes to having a complete picture, you also need to conduct additional research to provide more context within each of the categories. Here are X types of information available in Nexis® for Finance that can help you uncover valuable business intelligence for your SWOT analyses.

  1. Current and archival news—With more than 40,000 news and business sources and an archive going back decades, Nexis for Finance allows you to track mentions of your brands or your competitors’ over time—providing insights related all four areas of the SWOT analysis. In addition to print, broadcast and web news sources, Nexis covers press releases which can provide insight into competitor strategies, such as announcements about new products or expansion plans. Industry and thought leader blogs are also available, offering a glimpse into current and emerging trends, like the rise of FinTech, as well as other issues impacting the financial services industry.
  2. Company and executive information—In addition to providing fast access to company financials and details on key executives and board members. Nexis for Finance also features corporate hierarchies, which can be used to understand how companies are related, even when company names are different. You can also follow mergers and acquisitions activity in your industry, so you can see where a consolidating of “power” may pose a threat in the future.
  3. Regulatory data—Nexis for Finance aggregates information from governments and enforcement agencies, ideal for organizations in the highly-regulated financial services industry. This allows you to identify potential compliance threats based on newly introduced regulations or follow enforcement actions to understand regulators’ expectations.
  4. Customizable reports—With Nexis for Finance, you can quickly generate company profiles in a click. These reports include a snapshot view of a company, news about the target company, corporate hierarchy, financial, competitive, and stock information, as well as analyst reports, related legal information, and patents, trademarks and copyrights.

And because Nexis for Finance brings together all this critical information in one place, you can accomplish research more efficiently with the confidence that comes from knowing you’ve tapped into high-quality, reputable sources of information.

Conducting a SWOT analysis helps you understand all the factors to be considered when developing strategic plans, as well as enabling agile decision making over time. By understanding where your organization stands at any given moment, you’re able to adapt and make the most of opportunities while mitigating risk. Do you have the tools you need to conduct research with confidence?

Download our brochure on Performance Boosting Research to see why Nexis for Finance is an outstanding platform for research for financial professionals.