Category Analysis

Bring yourself up to speed by starting with a market or industry report.  These secondary research tools define catagories (sometimes not precisely as you would wish), estimate market size and growth potential, describe the competitive forces impacting the industry and identify key players. 

Comcast operates across several categories including telecommunications, internet service, home security, cable networking and broadcast. 

Terminology used to describe industries and markets is not consistent from platform to platform.  To be thorough you will need to search for synonyms.

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

  NetAdvantage (Standard & Poor's Capital IQ)
Open the Industry Survey banner on the top of the page and use the drop down to browse for relevant industries.

  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.

  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.

Offers data and reports related to digital marketing. Topics include advertising spending, digital marketing, social media, media usage, e-commerce, email marketing, and device usage. Coverage is global.

  Gartner  Limitations on Use
Features analyses, forecasts, and market statistics on IT products and services.
Subscription courtesy of Villanova UNIT.

Competitor Analysis

The first step in the competitor analysis is to choose relevant competitors.  The industry reports you've gathered in the category analysis and the case itself should provides insight into firms competing in your defined market. 

Once you have identified potential competitors reading company profiles and reports (see the list of databases below) will be helpful. 

Of course you'll do a deep dive into the competitors web sites, but don't neglect looking over 10K's or annual reports for public companies. 

Note that reports and data on private companies my be sparse, so you may need to place greater reliance on news and analysis of their web sites.  Company profiles for private label competitors will focus on the firms primary business.

Just as you updated industry reports with news, do so for the competitor analysis.

  MarketLine Company Profiles (EBSCO)
Just search by company name. Includes public and private companies.

  NetAdvantage (Standard & Poor's Capital IQ)

  Morningstar Investment Research Center

  D&B Hoovers

Customer Analysis

Market research reports are rich sources for understanding consumer behavior around product categories.  Mintel is particularly useful for understanding target customers, be they called Generation Z, Gen Z or iGen or Post-Millennials.

Scholarly research (discoverable through ABI Inform, Business Source Premier & PsycInfo)  on "consumer behavior" "consumer attitudes" purchasing or "decision making" may not always be timely but it is typically reliable. 

You will find some very interesting results by googling.  Be discriminating about using reports that don't source data presented. 

  PsycINFO (ProQuest)  Tutorial
Provides abstracts and indexing to journals, books, book chapters, technical reports and dissertations in all areas of psychology. This database is produced by the American Psychological Association (APA). International in scope; coverage is from 1887 to the present.

  Simmons OneView

  ESRI Business Analyst Online  Access Instructions
Provides geographic analysis tools. Includes demographic, consumer spending, and business data.
Access courtesy of the Department of Geography & the Environment.

  American FactFinder
Provides access to Census data which forms the backbone of demographic research.

Marketing Plan

Crafting a marketing plan is primarily a creative project.  Nontheless, expect to be able to defend your marketing recommendations by referring to studies and cases evaluating similar techniques.  You can find "how to", practitioner advice and rigerous reseach on marketing topics in books and articles discoverable in the following databases

  Falvey Library Catalog (Books & Media)

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.