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Marketing 3950 - Integrative Marketing Strategy: Company Research


Identifying Competitors

Your competitors will include big companies with many products (for example Kelloggs, which has a product called Granola Munch’ems), and small companies with a more limited product line.  

To identify competitors you might start with a directory like the "Food & Beverage Market Place" listed below, as well as searching the directory section of the Organic Trade Association listed below. 

To identify companies in ReferenceUSA, use the custom search.  Select Business type and using the Keyword/SIC/NAICS option, search on the term Health Food products.  Use the Geography option to limit by various options, including city, metro, or zip code.  You will get a selected list of companies, but certainly not all.  Because of the type of product you are researching there may be other types of "Business Types" you will have to use. 

Other companies like yours that are web-based will not be included in the standard databases like ReferenceUSA or Mergent Intellect.  The Google search engines should also be very useful in this type of case, but you will probably get many, many results.

Another strategy to take would be to go to some of the local organic grocery stores like Whole Foods, Sunflower Market, and Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers and look at the labels for products similar to yours and make note of the manufacturers and check to see if there is a website on the label.  Then go look for these company names in databases like ReferenceUSA or go to their website if one is noted.  You can also use a search engine like Google to find out whether they have a website.  

Information about Competitors

Once you have identified your competitors the next step will be to determine whether a company is public, private, or a subsidiary. 

You should use a database like Mergent Intellect to make this determination.  A database like ReferenceUSA can also be helpful.     

If your competitor is in neither of these databases it is because they do not meet the criteria needed to be included in these databases.  To find information about the companies you will then have to rely on their websites, or search for articles in the databases listed in the Articles tab of this research guide. 



Public Company

If you have established that a company is public, you will be able to find many sources that provide financial summaries, as well as links to their 10-Ks.  10-Ks are the annual reports that U.S. public companies must submit to the Securities Exchange Commission.  The sources in this section will help you do this.  Another good source for the 10-Ks is the company's website.   These reports are usually located in the "Investor Relations" section of the website.  Some companies also provide digital copies of the Annual reports to stockholders in addition to the 10-Ks.

Private / Subsidiary

If you have identified a company as a subsidiary, find its parent.  Then use the databases in the "Identify Type of Company" section to determine whether the parent company is public, private, or a subsidiary.  

You will not be able to find detailed financials for the majority of U.S. subsidiaries or private companies (unless the subsidiary happens to be trading separately from the parent). PrivCo does have information for more than 850,000 private companies. A database like ReferenceUSA will provide estimated sales figures for some of your competitors.   

Most companies also have websites, so you should comb through them for information.

Use the databases listed in the Articles section of this guide to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.

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Esther Gil
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