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MKTG 464 Marketing Strategy and Management: Company Research

Places to Start Research

  1. Company's website: mission, vision, goals, customer value proposition (as available), 10-K/Annual Report, media/news/press releases.
    • Not all companies have a "mission/vision statement" per se, but you can get a general idea from their website or annual report/10-K.
  2. Recommended databases listed in the Company Profiles box.
    • The following databases may have a readily available SWOT analysis on select companiesBusiness Insight, Business Source Premier, Investext, Passport.
  3. ‚ÄčInformation on public companies is much more readily available than info on private companies or subsidiaries. Tips on researching private companies

Finding 10-Ks and 20-Fs

Different ways to search for company filings

  • Company's website (usually under Investors or Investor Relations); or google [company name] 10k
  • EDGAR search options: Filings search tool of the SEC. 

** 20-F: annual SEC filings by foreign corporations traded on US exchanges.

Company Profiles

Recommended

Others

SWOT Analysis in Library Databases

Library databases below may have a readily available SWOT report on select companies. Not all companies have a such a report. 

Creating Your Own SWOT Analysis

Create your own SWOT analysis by collecting information from multiple sources, such as company profiles, industry & market information, and news. If you are researching on a public company, take a look at its Annual Report (or 10-K), especially the section "Risk Factors." 

Here are some other tips on doing your own SWOT analysis:

Explore the company website and consider the following:

  • What kind of service/product do they provide?
  • What kind of customer needs are they meeting? 
  • What's their customer value proposition?

Interview the company, if possible. State that you are a student researching on the company for academic work, and that you will agree to sign any non-disclosure agreement. Call and ask them nicely. You might be surprised! * Most of the "internal information" (e.g., HR practices) of small private firms is highly unlikely to be available in secondary sources; in this case, talking with the company is the only way.

Read reviews, if available. Although customer reviews can be biased and unreliable, consistently positive or negative reviews should be taken into account. Consumers often find weaknesses that the company may not be aware of. However, be realistic -- you can't be all things to all people. Always keep your target market in mind.

Take a look at the competitors (you can find them through ReferenceUSA or Google) and consider:

  • What kind of service/product do the competitors provide?
  • What are your company's competitive advantages (e.g., unique product/service, location, size, customer service, price, etc..)? How does your company differentiate itself from others (i.e., what's its niche)?

Do an environmental scanwhat environmental factors may have an impact on the market your company's in? Any emerging trends? Disruptive forces? What are the opportunities and threats? Feel free to incorporate your personal observations and experiences.