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MKT101: Principles of Marketing - Griffith   Tags: assignments, business;  

Guide Authors: MM & OGN
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Group Project: Marketing Plan for a Company or Product

Use this guide and the above tabs as a navigation tool for discovering library and internet resources for your research project.

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Before you start ---

Many of the resources used for company research are used for industry research. Industry and company research go hand in hand--you can rarely do one without the other.

Define the Industry

Industries are classified in many ways, and it will simplify your research if you first determine the scope of the business activity you wish to examine. Often, your need for data may include only a single product or a small range of products. However, many standard resources for industry information may define an industry based on broader criteria, such as SIC or NAICS codes. For example, you may wish to locate market information about pretzels, yet most relevant industry reports may be based on SIC code 2052, "Cookies and Crackers," which also covers pretzels.

When doing research on specific companies it is important to establish from the beginning whether the company is:

  • public or private?
  • a subsidiary or joint venture?
  • foreign-owned or domestic (American)?

Public or Private

Determining whether a company is public or private will be helpful in determining your research strategy. You will look in different places for information on a public company as opposed to a privately owned one.

  • Public company Information?

Public companies sell their shares on the stock market. They are legally obligated to disclose financial information to their shareholders and to legislative bodies.

To fulfill this obligation Public companies produce reports, which are sent to the shareholders and filed with regulatory bodies like the Canadian Securities Administrators or the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

The company SEC filings are a crucial source of financial information and acts as a basis for historic analysis and forecasting. They contain not only the company's financial statements, tables, notes, and management reports, but also anything else that the company is required  to disclose.

  • Private company Information?

Companies that are not public are referred to as private. These are the companies that do not trade on stock exchange. 

It can be very difficult to research private companies.   You may need to research a similar public company or search for information about the industry, its market size, key players, mergers and acquisitions, costs, profitability etc. You can then use this general information as a guide to formulate  the specifics regarding your individual company.

Parent Company Name

You should know the correct spelling and the complete name of the company you are researching.  It can be difficult to do detailed research on a company that is a subsidiary of another company, so you will want to find the name of the parent company and research the parent company. Companies are bought and sold frequently so be sure your information is accurate and current.

Ticker Symbol

If the company you are researching is a public company, you should know the stock or ticker symbol.  Finding company information is much easier if you know the ticker symbol for the company. A ticker symbol is an abbreviation that symbolizes the companies' stock name. For example, Cisco Systems has CSCO as its ticker symbol.

Many research tools let you search by ticker symbol. Here are some ways to identify the symbol:

  • Investigate the website of the company.  Many times this information is available under links like company information or investor information.
  • Investigate the websites for major U.S. stock exchanges (NASDAQ, NYSE)
  • Search websites that track stock activity like,

    Financial Times

  • If the company is privately held, it will not be on an exchange.  You will not find a ticker symbol.

Getting Started

  • Marketing Virtual Library
    An information and resource website for those involved in marketing, market research, advertising, selling, promotion, and other marketing-related areas.
  • Market Research
    Small Business Administration - Site outlines how to conduct market research.

Public? or Private?

Not sure if the company is private?  Try the Business Week company search feature:


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