Your Key to Success: SWOT, PEST, or the 5 C’s?

Marketing Analysis

Do you know how to evaluate your business’ competitive position?

One way that companies plan a strategy for growth is using one of the three common frameworks for marketing analysis, SWOT, PEST, or the 5 C’s. One or all of them could be helpful to your business right now.

Let’s walk through each of them so that you can choose which is best for where you are right now in your business.


SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and it’s a good tool to use, particularly for assessing the internal environment of a business. Use the SWOT framework above to make a detailed list of each and you’ve begun to utilize one of the best and most frequently used business analysis tools today.


PEST focuses on outside factors that could affect your business, whether they’re external potential threats or opportunities.

Political factors pertain to government, whether its local, regional, national, or international. These factors could be laws, regulations, policies, environmental issues, or governmental actions that can provide opportunities for your business, or adversely affect your business.

Economic factors focus on economic trends and indicators, taxes, globalization, that affect your business sector and the market demand for your products and services. Whether your business market is local, regional, national, or international, having a clear understanding of the external economic picture can be critical for success.

Social, or socio-cultural factors include influences, attitudes, and behaviors of your target market. Demographics and psychographics are a big help in identifying the socio-cultural factors that are important for your business success.

Technological factors are current or emerging technologies that affect your business. Changing technologies can have a dramatic impact on your business performance and future. Some are critical to your day to day operations, and others could be great time savers that create new efficiencies for your business.

5C Analysis

5C Analysis

5C analysis is a marketing framework that is similar to SWOT analysis, but it adds some aspects of PEST. Let’s walk through the elements of the 5 C’s.

Company is where you do the strengths and weaknesses analysis of SWOT. What you’re looking for is your business’ competitive advantage. This is something like the unique selling proposition of marketing. What do you do that is better than any of your competitors? A full SWOT analysis can be fruitful in this step.

Customers is the opportunities section of SWOT. This can be broken down into three concentric circles of potential customers. In the image below, TAM stands for total available market. This includes every potentisal customer for your products and services.

Your Serviceable Available Market (SAM) includes is a portion of TAM that you can actually reach. For example, if you’re an American business and you’re not marketing outside of the United States, that’s your SAM.

Your Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) is the realistic market that you can reach right now. How much of your SAM will you likely capture? That’s your SOM.


Competitors is part of the threats section of SWOT. What market share do they control and are they a potential threat to your company? How do their products and services compare to your products and services? What strengths and weaknesses do they have? How are their products and services priced compared to your products and services?

Collaborators are those who are essential for your success. They could be suppliers, distributors, partners, business allies, sub-contractors, anyone who helps you meet your business objectives.

Climate is closest to PEST analysis. What external factors affect your business. They could be political, economic, social or cultural, or technological. Look at the PEST description above for this section of a 5C analysis.

As you do your marketing and business analysis, you’ll want to think about this in terms of short term goals and objectives (1-2 years), and longer term planning (3-5 years).

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