Finding the competition

Finding the competition in a category, can be approached from the product level or by industry.

To start identifying competing products or brands, visit the target brand web site to find the name of the company that produces it.  For example, I'm a fan of Breyers ice cream.  By scrolling on the Breyers website to the copyright and the "about us" link, I find out that the brand Breyers is a subsidiary of Unilever, called GoodHumor-Breyers.  

Bassetts Ice Cream is another local favorite of mine.  It's "about us" page suggests that it is a private family owned enterprize.  

Use company databases to learn about public parent companies, subsidiaries and private companies.  Company databases almost always list competors.  This is a good place to start, but beaware that not all competitors compete on in same product categories.  For example Nestle and SC Johnson are listed as Unilever competitors. Nestle competes with Unilever on ice cream novelties, however Unilever only competes with SC Johnson on non-food items.

Also detailed financial statements are ONLY likely to be available for public companies, which are traded on on a stock exchange and are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to report.  It is the norm for subsidiaries and private companies to report revenue, but little else.

To find competitors taking the industry approach, look for a market reseach report or industry report that encompasses the product, in this example ice cream production.  These reports almost alwasy list competitors and usually estimate the market size and share by company.

Company Databases

  D&B Hoovers
Offers public and private company and industry information including company profiles, market research reports from Marketline, Freedonia, Euromonitor, and RMA updated with recent news, executive profiles, and analyst reports.

  NetAdvantage (Standard & Poor's Capital IQ)
Offers market information, company quotes, equity index information, industry information (including the S&P Industry Surveys), and economic data.

Provides company reports and directory information for U.S. private and public companies. Also includes consumer marketing and directory information for U.S. individuals.

Industry & Market Research Databases

Provides access to U.S. and global industry market research reports.

  Euromonitor (Passport)  Limitations on Use
Provides lifestyle statistics and reports, market data and analysis, and market forecasts for selected countries. Includes 6-year historic market size data for selected consumer products plus 5-year forecasts.

  Mintel Reports  Limitations on Use
Offers product and industry market research reports covering U.S. and international marketplaces. Each report combines data and analysis of the competitive landscape, supply chain, market-share size and trends, and consumer profiles.

Competitor Research

In addition to the company level information you can get from reports, to learn about competitors visit their social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Instragram.  You can gain valuable information about who they are partnering with, how they want to position their brand and to a lesser extent how their brand is recieved.

Additionally the databases listed below can be used to find business news & new product introductions.

  ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest)
Provides access to scholarly journals, dissertations, working papers, key business and economics periodicals, and country- and industry-focused reports.

  Global New Products Database (Mintel)  Limitations on Use
Monitors new product activity in consumer packaged goods markets worldwide.

Target Audience

The target audience is the demographic of people that  desire or need a product or service.  Target audiences can be defined by any number of characteristics such as age, gender, location, education, employment, income, attitudes and preferences.  Ideally the target audience will be measurable.

The Census Bureau is a common and reliable source for demographic data on Americans.  Firms that specialize in consumer & market research (such as Mintel) survey and compile data on customers.

  American FactFinder
American FactFinder is a website used to distribute data collected by the United States Census Bureau.
It provides data for recent survey years for a range of geographies, including by Census tract, Zip Code Tabulation Area, Metropolitan Statistical Area, county, and state. American FactFinder is being replaced by, and as of July 1, 2019, all new data are being released to that platform. American FactFinder will be taken offline on March 31, 2020.

  Data-Planet (Sage)
Provides access to a wide variety of economic, social, and political indicators including data sets from the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, Eurostat, the United Nations, the world's stock exchanges, and Zillow. Offers customized graphing and mapping.

  Simmons OneView

  Simmons OneView Guide

Promotional Strategy

Find articles and case studies on media and promotional best practices

These books might generate ideas too!



Offers information on global advertising and marketing trends including case studies, articles, reports, opinion pieces, and expenditure data. Formerly known as World Advertising Research Center.

  Advertising Age Datacenter (AdAge)  Access Instructions
Features news, reports, and statistics about the advertising industry.

  Ad$pender (Kantar Media)
Creates custom reports on advertising expenditures across twelve media channels including TV, cable, magazines, newspapers, radio, and outdoor and internet displays on the level of industries, categories, brands, products, and advertisers going back to 2007.

Attribution in Presentations


Unlike providing attribution of sources in a formal written paper using a standard citation style such as MLA or APA, there is no strickly right or wrong way to include attribution in a presentations.  However failure to provide attribution is wrong.