Skip to Main Content

Marketing Research Assignment Components

Definitely not the SWAT kind!

Getting it Right!

Finding SWOT Gold!

Finding SWOT gold is as easy as you might think.  You need look no further than the library's online collections which are chalk full of quality analyses, build on the strength of reputable market research firms.

Next example...

A Final Word...

The Internet is stuffed with hacks who think they can write SWOTs, as many of you may have already discovered.  For this reason, I recommend avoiding the Internet as a source of consistently good information, especially for SWOTs.  What follows is a mini-comparison of Internet generated SWOTs and the library's offerings.

The table below represents the strengths displayed in two SWOTs for PepsiCo found within the library's collections: Business Source Complete and Business Insights Global.  The strengths in the third column were obtained from a SWOT produced by Business Strategy Hub, the first item obtained in a Google search.


At first glance, a presentation of 12 strengths posited by Business Strategy Hub (BSH) (Internet search) may seem much better than the four and three strengths outlined in the two library collection sources.  However, the BSH listing gives away the amateur nature of this SWOT.  The laundry list method is a sign that the author really does not understand the company and its business practices.  The diffuse nature of this approach gives the sense that it would be easy to retain the list of strengths and replace the company name with another company name that has a global reach.  Furthermore, each line item is thinly supported by a cherry-picked Internet "article."

As an example, Market Dominance or Market Position is a strength identified by all three sources.  The BSH listing describes only one feature of this so-called dominance, namely that PepsiCo held 22 percent of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage category in 2019.  By comparison, in noting Market Position as a strength, the Business Insights Global SWOT also cites the 22 percent market share, and goes on to say that PepsiCo is:

- the second-largest food and beverage company in the world

- the company’s products are sold in more than 200 countries

- it has 25 brands, each generating retail sales of over US$1 billion annually

- the company tops the Savory Snack Share in North America, contributing 39.5% of the market share

- and it also has 27.7% volume-based share in the North American carbonated-beverage market

This comparison of SWOTs represents the difference between having credible knowledge of a company and simply cherry-picking from an assortment of possibilities.

Finally, even the use of language reveals the lack of knowledge on the part of the authors of the Internet resource.  The Business Strategy Hub resource describes the strength as Market Dominance, whereas the two library based sources describe the strength as Market Position and Robust Market Position.  However, it cannot be said that PepsiCo possesses dominance (understood as: the fact or position of being dominant; holding paramount influence, ascendancy, dominion, sway) in the category discussed by BSH because in the same breath BSH also notes that Coca Cola is not far behind, holding 20 percent of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage category!

The library based resources take a more authentic position by noting that one of PepsiCo's strengths can be found in its market position or robust market position.

Evaluating the Sources of Information

Turning to the library's collections for sources of reliable information is the best approach.  The library actively builds collections, drawing in quality resources.  The Internet, on the other hand, simply piles things up, higher and higher, without regard for the research needs of college students.

Aside from the hallmark of encountering material that resides in a curated library collection, students may make their own determinations of quality information by drawing on two other measurements.  These measurements are the credentials of the author or authors and/or the reputation of the publishing entity.

In the example above, S.K. Gupta is the author of the BSH PepsiCo SWOT.  In the author note, found at the bottom of the SWOT, we learn that S.K. Gupta is "A management consultant and entrepreneur. S.K. Gupta understands how to create and implement business strategies. He is passionate about analyzing and writing about businesses."  Besides writing for BSH, there is little evidence that this individual has published elsewhere.  There are no academic or professional qualifications mentioned, nor is there any tangible experience given.  The supplied information is generic, going no further than to say that S.K. Gupta likes writing about business topics. That said, don't we all like writing about business topics?

Looking around a little more, it appears that S.K. Gupta is the C.E.O. and founder of BSH!  Not only is S.K.G. the C.E.O., but a lead writer as well!


While there are no named authors for the SWOTs given in the library's collections, we can turn to the other measuring criteria and learn about the reputation of the publishing entities.  As an example, the available SWOT for PepsiCo published in Business Source Complete is provided by a company called MarketLine.

Easily discoverable, MarketLine is a world leading provider of commercial intelligence.  With international offices in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, Marketline provides clients with market data & insights, competitor information, macroeconomic data, and real-time intelligence.


It is your choice!


chat loading...