Category Analysis

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

Don't forget to take advantage of the links to trade news and associations to learn about the most recent developments.

Search related terms and narrower or broader keyworks:  

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

  First Research Industry Profiles (ABI/Inform Collection - ProQuest)
Provides industry profiles with critical analysis, statistics, and forecasts. Coverage extends back to 2009.

Provides a portal to statistics and studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources. Topics covered include industries, media, companies, product categories, and countries.

  Investment Company Institute (ICI)
"The Investment Company Institute (ICI) is the national association of U.S. investment companies."

Competitor Analysis


  • Identify competitors relevant to your product or category
  • Research the companies that bring competing products to market
  • Investigate the marketing mix deployed by competitors by researching product attributes, placement, price and promotional strategies 

Identify Competitors

 Key competitors will be named in market research report and industry reports.  Find additional competitors by "shopping" in the places most likely to offer products or services similar to your target.  For example, shop on Sephora or at Department Stores or ULTA.

Research Companies

Use the company databases listed below to learn about the competing products companies.  Brand or product websites usually identify the corporate parent.  Note that information about private companies (not publically traded) or subsidiaries is limited.  

Marketing Mix

Check out social media presence on Facebook, Instragram & YouTube videos for ads.  Search the general business news and Marketing databases for insight into marketing strategy.  

  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.

  Morningstar Investment Research Center
Contains information on more than 30,000 stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds. Provides independent analysis, industry information, stock charts, portfolio building tools, and web-based educational tutorials.

  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.

  Mergent Online  Limitations on Use
Provides detailed financial statements for U.S. and international public and private companies, including SEC filings and current and historical annual reports for U.S. and international public companies. Data can be downloaded in a variety of formats. Also includes country profiles.

  Gale Directory Library
Search Business Ranking Annual and Market Share Reporter

Customer Analysis

Market research reports, consumer surveys, census data and sometimes scholarly research can provide insights into the demographic characteristics of potential consumers and their buyer behavior. 

  Simmons Insights  Tutorial
Provides access to the results of a National Consumer Study (most recent studies embargoed) encompassing demographics, lifestyle statements, and consumer behaviors. Supports the creation of custom cross tabulations or quick reports.

  Mintel Insights & Analytics  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. Analytics advance search monitors new product activity in consumer packaged goods markets worldwide. Academic  Limitations on Use
Provides marketing reports for many industries and demographic reports on a variety of age groups. Documents are formatted as Adobe Acrobat or PowerPoint files.

  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.

  Explore Census Data

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

  Pew Research Center
"The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does so by conducting public opinion polling and social science research; by reporting news and analyzing news coverage; and by holding forums and briefings. It does not take positions on policy issues."

  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.

Marketing plan

At it's core the marketing plan is a creative endeavor, but relying on best practices, data and cases on similar approaches to marketing approaches will be needed.

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.

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.

  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.

  Books & Media
Find practice oriented ebooks on advertising and marketing topics

  Books & Media
Find practice oriented ebooks on advertising and marketing topics

General Business Article Databases

Use general purpose business article databases to get news about competitors & brands, or to find research articles or practice oriented material.

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

  Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
Provides access to a wide range of academic business journals and trade magazines. Topics include management, marketing, finance, economics, and management information systems. Full text access may be embargoed for up to three years. Coverage goes back to 1965.

APA Citations


  • Create citations as you go, saving URLs will not be sufficient as they are not all persistent
  • Use citations generators when available to save time, BUT expect to edit the results because errors and inconsistencies are inevitable.
  • Get to know APA style by using the tools below.  The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th ed is not available online.
  • Many team members may contribute citations and there is flexibility in the rules of the style.  Assign a team member to edit citations for consistency.
  Citing Business Sources Using APA 7th

  Purdue OWL: APA

video tutorial

  Competitive Effectiveness Research Video Channel
This links to videos relevant to the CE research project. Find videos on using industry and market research reports for the category analysis, demographic and psychographic databases for the consumer analysis and more to come...

  Simmons Insights Video Tutorials