How Manufacturers Should Conduct A Competitive Marketing Analysis

Phil Baily

It is crucial for manufacturers to stay ahead of the game by understanding their competitors’ marketing strategies and tactics.

One of the most effective ways to outsmart and outflank your peers is by conducting a competitive analysis. By evaluating your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can identify opportunities for growth and potential threats to your business.

In this blog post, we will discuss how manufacturers can conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis to inform strategic marketing decision-making.

Feature image for competitive analysis blog.

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis

What is Competitive Analysis?

A competitive analysis involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors to understand the industry landscape and develop effective messaging, product, and positioning strategies.

It includes identifying direct and indirect competitors, analyzing product features, quality, pricing, and customer reviews, assessing market positioning and brand identity, reviewing marketing channels, advertising, promotions, and customer engagement, and examining sales strategies and distribution channels.

Additionally, the analysis seeks to analyze sales approaches and distribution channels. Comparing financial performance is important, too—look at revenue, profit margins, growth rates, and market share. Conducting a SWOT analysis helps you understand each competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Gathering market intelligence on industry trends, regulatory changes, and customer preferences is also important. All this information is compiled into a competitive matrix to highlight key insights.

6 Steps to Conduct A Competitive Analysis in the Manufacturing Sector

1. Define Your Competitors

The first step in conducting a competitive analysis in the manufacturing sector is to identify your main competitors. This includes both direct competitors, who offer similar products or services, and indirect competitors, who target the same customer base with different solutions.

For example: Suppose your company specializes in producing industrial machinery for construction projects. Your direct competitors might include other machinery manufacturers like Caterpillar and Komatsu, while indirect competitors could be companies providing equipment rental services or firms offering prefabricated building solutions.

Start by making a comprehensive list of these competitors. Gather information about their market share to understand their dominance and reach in the industry. Look into their product offerings, noting any unique features or innovations they might have.

Also, investigate their distribution channels. This can reveal insights into their market approach and customer engagement. Collecting this information gives you a detailed picture of the competitive landscape, helping you to identify opportunities for differentiation and areas where you can improve your own strategy.

2. Analyze Their Strengths and Weaknesses

After identifying your competitors, the next step is to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

This involves examining various factors such as their manufacturing capabilities, technological advancements, brand reputation, customer service quality, and financial stability.

For instance, assess whether a competitor has state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities or has invested in cutting-edge technologies that give them a competitive edge.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Are they known for reliability and quality?
  • What are their customer service practices, such as responsiveness and after-sales support like?
  • Are they financially stable? What is their long-term viability?

Understanding what your competitors excel at enables you to pinpoint areas where you need to enhance or differentiate your own offerings to compete effectively in the market.

3. Evaluate Market Trends

In addition to analyzing your competitors, it’s important to keep an eye on broader market trends that may impact the manufacturing sector.

This could include shifts in consumer preferences, changes in regulations or tariffs, advancements in technology, or emerging industry disruptors. Think about it like this: if businesses suddenly start wanting more eco-friendly products, you’ll want to know, right? And if there’s new compliance regarding equipment, you’ll need to be aware.

By staying informed about these trends, you can anticipate future challenges and opportunities for your business.

4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a fundamental strategic tool, particularly valuable in industries like B2B manufacturing. Picture this: you’re running a company that manufactures specialized machinery for construction projects. Now, you’ve collected a wealth of data about your company and its competitors—everything from production capabilities and technological advancements to customer service quality and financial stability.

A SWOT analysis helps you organize this information into four key categories:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Strengths might include things like advanced manufacturing processes or a highly skilled workforce, while weaknesses could be outdated machinery or limited distribution channels. Opportunities could arise from emerging markets or new technological innovations that you could capitalize on, while threats might include rising material costs or disruptive competitors entering the market.

By comparing your company’s SWOT with those of your competitors, you can develop a clearer understanding of where you stand in the market and what areas you need to focus on for improvement.

5. Develop an Action Plan

Now, let’s talk about turning all that valuable insight from your competitive analysis into concrete action.

You’ve thoroughly assessed your company’s strengths and weaknesses, scoped out the competition, and identified areas where you can gain a competitive edge in the manufacturing sector.

So, what’s next?

It’s time to develop an action plan—a roadmap that outlines specific strategies for bolstering your competitive position. This could involve investing in new technologies, expanding into new markets, enhancing customer relationships, or streamlining production processes.

Whatever strategies you decide to pursue, it’s essential to regularly review and update your action plan to stay agile in response to changes in the competitive landscape. After all, the manufacturing sector is constantly evolving, and staying ahead requires adaptability and a willingness to innovate.

By taking decisive action based on the insights gained from your competitive analysis, you can position your company for success in a dynamic and competitive industry.


Conducting a competitive analysis is essential for manufacturers looking to stay ahead of their rivals.

By defining your competitors, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, evaluating market trends, conducting a SWOT analysis, and developing an action plan based on these insights, you can position your company for success and sustainable growth.

Remember that competitive analysis is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment as market conditions evolve. Start implementing these strategies today to gain a strategic advantage over your competition.

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Phil Baily

In his role as Content Marketing Specialist, Phil crafts a wide range of engaging, SEO-driven content for Altitude and our B2B clients, from blog posts to digital guides, written copy for core website pages and more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English – Professional Writing from Kutztown University.