Market research generally focuses on three broad areas: target markets, industry or market trends, and competition. For each area of market research, the Library offers a number of information sources…reference books, databases, and recommended Internet sites. Specific market research may require more than one type of source; our librarians are happy to help you pick out the best sources for your needs.
Target Market Research
We offer a number of consumer demographics sources to help you find information on potential customers for your product or service. Sources include consumer surveys, compilations of demographic statistics, consumer spending habits by zip code or city, demographics of consumers by product or service, and more. Most of these sources can be found in the Consumer Demographics section in the Business, Science & Technology Department. A great deal can also be found using databases such as Ebscohost’s Business Source Complete.
Industry and Market Trends Research
In order to effectively market, you need to understand how your industry is structured, how it’s performing, and how it’s changing. To help you find this sort of information we provide sources that contain industry surveys or provide product market share statistics. In print, we offer a comprehensive, up-to-date series of industry guides (Plunkett’s Almanacs) by industry, such as biotechnology, apparel, e-commerce, etcetera. Our databases are also great sources for industry and market trends research. The “Industry Overview” feature in our Business & Company Resource Center database is especially helpful, as are industry overviews in Mergent and Ebscohost's Business Source Complete.
Along with an understanding of the target market and the industry trends overall, it’s important to identify your competitors and find out as much as possible about them, in order to position yourself well. For competition research, our databases can be a timesaver and a great source of information.
Reference USA allows you to quickly create lists of companies by type of business, location (state, region, city, zip, or street), size, and many other criteria. Other databases offer the ability to not only build lists of competitors, but then immediately link to articles and financial information about your competitors. Good market research can help you create a strong business plan to start a business, or improve your marketing to help grow your business. We look forward to helping you!