Conducting Marketing Research
This is a guide to basic materials, which will aid in doing market research in the U.S. It includes sources to assist in finding information about marketing companies, market share, products, demographics, media, surveys, and general information.
In addition to electronic databases that provide access to articles from trade and consumer publications, don't overlook the following:
- Interviews with company officers
The best place to start is interviews with company officers to see if any of your company's management team has been interviewed lately. If you read the interview closely, there are hints and indications in there.. Check the news sources, especially local papers where the company is headquartered. Also check trade publications. You can find local newspapers in Lexis Nexis and trade publications in ABI Inform Trade and Industry.
- Recent Annual Reports
Pay particular attention to sections on: 1.management discussion and analysis, 2. risks, and 3.competition.
- Company conference calls
Many companies must hold public conference calls with analysts where they may have to face questions about strategy and operations. You can easily locate these transcripts in Google. Just type conference call (name of company) (without the parentheses).
- Investment and analyst reports
Analysts usually report on all prospects, risks, plans, etc. that they can find, since that is the sort of thing institutional investors want to know. You can find help in locating analyst reports embedded in the web guide titled, How to Find Company Information.
- Press releases detailing market research studies.
Sometimes you have to piece things together like a jigsaw puzzle. Take all of the company news items and press releases over the past six months or a year and see if you can discern a pattern.
- Major business press
Sometimes it helps to look at what suppliers or competitors might be saying about your company rather than looking at the official company line.
- Local and national experts
- Chambers of commerce
- Government agencies that regulate or otherwise oversee the market of interest