Twelve Tips for Market Research
There is already a lot of information available about many industries and markets. Below is information and contacts that may be of interest when researching a new product or service, potential market or licensors and looking for strategic partners.
1. Mystery Shopping
Always start with the basics, go shopping at all the retailers where you think you’re product would fit.
2. Ongoing referrals
If you are seeking assistance from someone, or doing some primary market research always ask if they know anyone that might be able to help. This can lead to excellent contacts.
Australian Directory of Associations – This is a subscription based service. There is an association for everything. The secretary of the association will usually know many key people and know a lot of key information about the industry.
There are many associations that are not listed in this Directory so do a key word search in Google (www.google.com) also.
For Queenslanders, the Queensland Government, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation has a list of some Queensland associations online.
Most associations produce a newsletter, magazine – try to get on the mailing list.
On the relevant association website they often have their directory of members with contact details, white papers or industry based secondary market research and if these sections are ‘members only’ access, find someone who is a member and ask to borrow their access.
4. Government Resources
The Queensland Government can provide a PlanSMART kit, containing IBIS industry reports, demographic information and industry financial profiles, for $44. Go to http://www.business.qld.gov.au/plansmart for further information.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au/ and state based help from the statistics division at http://www.oesr.qld.gov.au/about-statistics/index.shtml.
Austrade has access to a lot of information about country and industry reports. Go to www.austrade.gov.au.
5. Industry Capability Network
Industry Capability Network (ICN), http://www.icn.org.au/ is an Australia & New Zealand wide network that assists businesses to maximise the opportunities that arise from purchasing requirements from both the government and private sectors. The ICN can find Australian companies that may be a good manufacturing partner.
6. Pareto’s Principle of 80/20 when talking to buyers
Ring the big retailers or wholesale distributors and ask for the buyer for your product category, for example nursery/babywear buyer, for builders and construction it will be the project estimator who sources suppliers and parts.
Explain to them that you understand they would probably prefer to deal with someone who already has an established account (it is particularly a waste if you only have one product) and someone they have an ongoing relationship with, so would they be able to just drop a company name, contact person and city they are located in so you can pitch your product to them.
7. Web search Expos and Trade Displays
Look in Australia and overseas. If you are considering going overseas in the near future, this is the cheapest/best way to get all your competitors in the one spot and be a mystery shopper (pretend to be a customer) to see the prices they are offering, who they use to distribute and who are their best customers.
8. Industry Print/Trade Magazines
University online databases have many periodicals online eg www.findarticles.com.
A particular article for example written in Choice Magazine or Retail World may have been written on the market share of vacuum cleaners in Australia over the last 20 years and the average price, plus give a comparison on brands and quality.
A search by key companies in BRW and AFR online will be helpful, you can pay by the article after viewing extract.
Many editors will send you an old issue for your perusal as a trial so you can see the format and types of business/articles they cover, the advertising content can tell you who are the most proactive.
Australian Financial Review
The Age, Melbourne
Sydney Morning Herald
9. Cooperative Research Centres
The people at the Cooperative Research Centre (http://www.crc.gov.au/) often know who is an expert in that field and are great for referrals when you get past reception.
Be sure to check out their links and white papers that often have market size statistics imbedded in an academic document.
When you know who you are looking for get free annual reports online of the major US companies at least http://www.annualreportservice.com/ or http://www.prars.com/ many of which you can download in Adobe Acrobat format.
If you’re dealing with an American company, you can do a search of the EDGAR database maintained by the Securities Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov. Select “Search for Company filings” on that page.
To make maximum use of the EDGAR search facility, there’s even a tutorial. The level of disclosure required of American companies is quite detailed. The EDGAR database is so detailed that it is not unusual to find reproduced on the publicly available database, entire agreements, including licenses, joint venture agreements, collaboration agreements, etc. This is particularly handy to research what types of provisions in an agreement that a particular American company has agreed upon in the past, and therefore is likely to agree upon again.
11. Secondary Market Research Papers
You will need to pay for these reports but they can be very good and save you a lot of time.
www.datamonitor.com - Datamonitor market research
www.frost.com - Frost & Sullivan Market Intelligence
www.dnb.com - Dun and Bradstreet
www.buscom.com - Business Communications Company Inc
www.investmentletters.net - Financial Industry Information Service (FINIS)
www.ds.datastarweb.com - Globalbase
www.investext.com - Investext
www.diaglog.com - MAID Market Analysis and Information Database
http://www.fita.org/tradehub.html - look under business directories
http://www.americansportsdata.com/index.htm - for sports or fitness related statistics
http://www.stat-usa.gov/ - USA population statistics
http://www02.imd.ch/wcy/ - World Competitiveness Yearbook
The Australian Institute for Commercialisation’s Market Research service has access to a number of these databases and is usually able to develop a report at a price competitive to accessing individual reports.
12. Market Research Associations
Some times key players in the smaller industry sectors will pay for a market research firm to do a private study. These are often available for resale. You could start by ringing around those companies that specialise in research for your industry.
The Market Research Society of Australia (directory of market research companies)
The Marketing Association of Australia & New Zealand http://www.aiit.com.au/maanz/maanzmi.htm
International Market Research Information (including directory of international market research companies and reports) http://www.imriresearch.com
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Twelve Tips for Market Research
What is your competitive advantage?
Knowledge and Technology to Help You Develop Your Idea
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