Posted by: Madhavi CN | June 22, 2010

Market Research & Intelligence: Information Sources (Part 3)

The research can be internal or external based on the goal. Internal sources include sales reports or internal market analyses. But most of the times the sources would be external. They include: 

Internet: Many useful sites of information are available at the Web-based directories. Almost all the sites provide basic information for free, but complete sources of information are mostly available through subscription services – one has to either sign up for a year’s worth of usage or pay on a per use basis.

The favorites in this category are among a list of prominent, long-standing information providers: Dow Jones Interactive, Hoover’s Online, Lexis/Nexis, FISonline, Value Line, Investext and S&P’s Industry Surveys. 

It may be well within the company’s resources to join one or several of these services. Subscription rates typically run a few thousand dollars per service per year. Fees for single use depend on the level of detail that we seek. For example, on Dun & Bradstreet’s CommerceInc Research Center, the price for a single report for a small private company ranged from $25 for a simple “Business Background Report” on up to $105 for a “Comprehensive Report”. Industry and product category reports from services like FISonline and S&P’s Industry Surveys can run from a few hundred dollars on up to several thousand. The price tag becomes high, if we take this approach for a dozen competitors and a handful of market segment analysis. The best alternative emerges to be the websites of other research organizations like Forrester, IDC, Gartner, Mentis Group and Industry Consortiums. 

For competitor analysis, the first logical step is to go right to the source: the company’s home page. To find them, the online Yellow Pages or any number of Web Directories (Google, HotBot) are good options. Of course, one must keep in mind that the information provided there is primarily for marketing purposes. Claims that the company makes on its own behalf concerning product superiority or outstanding customer service should be measured against indicators from other, more objective sources.

Nonprofit agencies: Government agency sites like http://www.fedstats.gov provide valid information and access to other government sites.

Others: Expos, magazines, trade journals and newspapers.

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