TOWS Matrix

Definition - What does TOWS Matrix mean?

The TOWS (threats, opportunities, weaknesses, strengths) matrix is a two-cell by two-cell matrix that assists companies in determining strategic alternatives by examining external opportunities and threats and how they compare to a company’s existing strengths and weaknesses. All the threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths are listed on the outside of the matrix and compared within each cell.

The TOWS matrix is used for strategic planning and helps marketers identify opportunities and threats and measure them against internal strengths and weaknesses.

Zideate explains TOWS Matrix

The TOWS matrix is a variant of the SWOT analysis, which is another popular strategic planning method often used when devising marketing plans. Both of these techniques require marketers to first identify a company or product's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. However, while a SWOT analysis aims to use strengths and weaknesses to reduce threats and maximize opportunity, the TOWS matrix identifies external opportunities and threats and compares them to a company’s internal strengths and weaknesses.

This tool aims to answer the following four questions:
  • Strengths and Opportunities (SO): How can your current strengths help you to capitalize on your opportunities?
  • Strengths and Threats (ST): How can your current strengths help you identify and avoid current and potential threats?
  • Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO): How can you overcome your current weaknesses by using your opportunities?
  • Weaknesses and Threats (WT): How can you best diminish your weaknesses and avoid current and potential threats?

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