Skip main navigation

TOWS Analysis

Discover how you can take your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and try to make positives out of them in your marketing strategy.

Now we are going to look at how you take your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and try to make positives out of them in your marketing strategy. The above video shows legendary skater Tony Hawk talking at Advertising Week about how he turned criticism into success with his brand endorsements, using unapologetic humour.

So how do you work out what negatives you could turn into positives?

The TOWS Analysis is similar to the previous SWOT Analysis. The idea is that you do a TOWS Analysis that builds on the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats to come up with some solutions and a strategy based on them.

The four TOWS strategies are:

  • Strength/Opportunity (SO)
  • Weakness/Opportunity (WO)
  • Strength/Threat (ST)
  • Weakness/Threat (WT)

TOWS analysis graphic

Strength/Opportunity (SO)

How can you use your strengths to exploit opportunities? You’ve already identified your strengths and what opportunities you believe exist in the previous exercise. Now it’s about mapping these areas together to tailor the strengths you have into the opportunities.

Weakness/Opportunity (WO)

You identified your weaknesses as a brand, product, or service already. But now think differently.

Can any of your weaknesses be translated into opportunities? If you have only a small supply chain, for example, one opportunity may be that you have a really clear idea where all your products come from. You could make that a unique selling point.

Strength/Threat (ST)

This is about how to exploit the strengths you’ve already identified to overcome potential threats. The idea is that you take the areas where you are strong and then work out how you can use these to tackle the threats.

For example, if you know you have very knowledgeable people who really understand their industry, this could be a real asset if customers are becoming more sophisticated in shopping behaviour.

Weakness/Threat (WT)

How can you overcome a weakness with a threat? Maybe you can’t. But what you need to be able to do, is make sure you understand if your weaknesses make you particularly prone to any threats. How can you go about minimising them?

Download this TOWS Analysis sheet here and try your own. Share what you discover with other learners below. Can you find ways to turn weaknesses into opportunities?

This article is from the free online

Marketing Strategy with Advertising Week

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now