Altria Group SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by Altria Group managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is a handy technique to map out the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Altria Group is facing in its current business environment.

The Altria Group is one of the leading firms in its industry. Altria Group maintains its prominent position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis a highly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the organization such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.

The SWOT Analysis framework enables an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also known as SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the Altria Group to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Altria Group swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Altria Group strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Altria Group SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Altria Group – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, Altria Group has numerous strengths that enable it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of Altria Group are –

  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Altria Group is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Altria Group has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Altria Group just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Altria Group is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Altria Group products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Strong dealer community – It has built a culture among distributor & dealers where the dealers not only promote company’s products but also invest in training the sales team to explain to the customer how he/she can extract the maximum benefits out of the products.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Altria Group has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Altria Group has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.


Weakness of Altria Group – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Altria Group can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a company can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.

  • Financial planning is not done properly and efficiently. The current asset ratio and liquid asset ratios suggest that the company can use the cash more efficiently than what it is doing at present.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Altria Group needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.
  • The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. Altria Group has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Altria Group are below the industry average.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Altria Group has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.

Opportunities for Altria Group – External Strategic Factors

  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Altria Group to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Altria Group an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for Altria Group in other product categories.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Altria Group.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Altria Group to increase its profitability.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Altria Group to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for Altria Group. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • New environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for Altria Group to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.

Threats Altria Group Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Altria Group profitability.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Altria Group   in those markets.
  • The demand of the highly profitable products is seasonal in nature and any unlikely event during the peak season may impact the profitability of the company in short to medium term.
  • As the company is operating in numerous countries it is exposed to currency fluctuations especially given the volatile political climate in number of markets across the world.
  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Altria Group’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Altria Group may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Altria Group

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of Altria Group
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of Altria Group

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis Altria Group managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of Altria Group

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

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References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)