Where do you go for “free” market-related information?
If you are not in a position to hire consultants or market research firms, the best tools you have available are your computer, the internet and your phone…
These tools can get you farther than you may think. Corporate and public published information is so prevalent and internet search engines are so sophisticated that, without much effort, you can quickly get down to the level of information specificity you are seeking.
Population & Business Statistics
If your base information needs begin with population and business-related demographics, you may want to start your search with a visit to one of these sites
- FEDSTATS – Provides website linkage to every federal agency (app.100) in the U.S. that publishes statistics in its respective area of responsibility. All Federal Laboratories are included.
- QuickFacts – Provides fast, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography with statistics for all states and counties, as well as for cities and towns with more than 5,000 people.
- BizStats.com – Free business statistics and financial data for various industries, with various filters to help you find financial information about other companies in your field that are of similar size. The site also provides calculators and others tools to help you understand profit-risk ratios, cost of goods sold and valuation factors for your business.
- EDGAR – The SEC’s EDGAR tool can search public company annual reports and 10-K forms, which provide detailed financial information and market analyses.
- Hoover’s Free Edition – A unit of Dun & Bradstreet, this is a searchable collection of business profiles, including financial data, key personnel and overviews of companies and their markets. Only basic profiles are free.
Medical Science Resources
If your interest is in pharmaceuticals or medical devices, you might begin your search for market-related information by visiting one of the sites below:
- U.S. Census Bureau – Provides, at this location, a full array of population health statistics.
- American Hospital Association Reports & Studies – Provides access to U.S. hospital statistics and databases.
- CDC FastStats – This site provides quick access to statistics on topics of public health importance and is organized alphabetically. Links are provided to publications that include the statistics presented, to sources of more data, and to related web pages.
- Google Scholar – A freely accessible website that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines, helping you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.
- SciFinder® – A research discovery application that provides unlimited access to the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative source of references, substances and reactions in chemistry and related sciences.
- PubMed Health – A resource of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and provides both general medical background information, as well as specific physician practice guidelines for all diseases and medical conditions.
- ClinicalTrials.gov – An NIH registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.
Market Research Reports
Market research firms conduct and publish a broad array of studies that are made commercially available. Most of these studies are relatively expensive, as you can see by visiting this MarketResearch.com site that lists hundreds of studies that have been conducted over the years in the field of medical devices. There are several other companies that offer similar portfolios of available market research reports, and some may offer discounts to university employees and students.
Market research companies also tend to provide descriptions and abstracts of the reports that are available for purchase…
Occasionally, information from reports that have been available for awhile will begin to show up on the internet. Searching with key words associated with that report sometimes reveals information you are seeking and is found in the form of blog discussions, PowerPoint or YouTube presentations, etc.
Within a university setting, how do you go about conducting customer and market research?
Interviewing Potential Customers
If you have no prior experience in a particular field of application, it simply takes time to identify potential product “users ” (job functions) within an industry where your product concept might be applicable.
And, you can learn how to avoid mistakes commonly made in the customer interview process, so that the effort is more likely to yield valuable input toward application fine-tuning and business model selection.
For guidance in this process, visit this section within Customer Needs Assessment