Research Sources for Market, Industry, and Business Plans

Sections of this topic

    Research Sources for Marketing Plan and Industry: Part 2

    Research Your Marketing Plan

    Typically no single source provides all of the information necessary for writing a good marketing plan for your business. This means gathering information from several sources. According to Pratt Library, you may need to gather information on demographics, industry trends, and competition, to name just a few.

    Market research can take a great deal of time even with an array of databases and websites because you are filtering through a lot of information. Sifting through information may help you to prepare a more effective and focused marketing plan.

    Why Develop a Marketing Plan?

    • To create and develop a marketing strategy that achieves your business goals
    • To learn about your niche, your customers, and their potential needs
    • To bring sales growth into focus
    • To provide a vision or roadmap
    • To help you see how you will fare against your competition
    • To uncover your strengths and potential weak points
    • To identify possible areas of growth


    Encyclopedia of American Industries

    The Encyclopedia of American Industries is a major business reference tool that provides detailed, comprehensive information on a wide range of industries in every realm of American business, providing individual essays on every industry recognized by the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

    Free Edgar

    Offers free, unlimited access to real-time SEC filings. A free alert service and Excel spreadsheets of financial tables. From this page, you can search for company information. Company filings are available starting in 1994. See also full-text search.

    Google Trends

    Identifies major news events for specific industries and companies over the last couple of years. provides insights into broad search patterns. Please keep in mind that several approximations are used when computing these results.

    Newspapers Online

    Searchable by region and title

    Public Records Search – BRB’s FREE RESOURCE CENTER

    The links listed below lead to government agencies that provide FREE online access to public record information. For a comprehensive resource of access methods, restrictions, fees, and search procedures on over 28,000 government and private agencies (information you can’t locate with Google or search engines) visit the Public Record Research System. (PRRS-Web).

    Social Media Survey by American Marketing Association

    The American Marketing Association conducted a Social Media Survey to assess interest in social media tools and social networking behavior of its marketing professional members and website registrants. Recognizing the growing importance of social media in the marketing industry and the need for marketing professionals to utilize existing social networking platforms to form business connections and generate customer leads, the AMA sought to better understand the current social media usage patterns of marketing professionals. The survey focused largely on current usage patterns of social media tools such as forums, groups, blogs, and wikis as well as popular online social networking platforms.

    For more information, see the full article, Research Sources

    What sources have you found invaluable for researching your marketing plan or business plan?


    For more resources, see our Library topics Marketing and Social Networking.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @