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Market Research: About this guide

Resources for conducting research on target markets and customer needs. Guide by Madeleine Cohen.

Who Needs Market Research?

Who needs market research?  Any business or organization which plans to launch a new product or service. Market research helps a company define its target market and refine its offerings to meet the customer’s needs. 

A new business needs to do market research on potential customers as well as industry research to look at the existing market landscape to determine how it will fit in. 

Market Research looks at consumers: what they buy, who they are, which companies they buy from, etc.

Industry Research looks at companies operating in an industry: market size, who makes the product or service, market share, competition, and how the industry operates.   

Market Research definitions

Market Research : The systematic collection and analysis of data on the size of a market, consumer behavior and preferences, the extent to which current products meet consumer expectations, and social trends that might impact sales.” (From the AMA dictionary of business and management. New York, NY: AMACOM, Publishing, 2013) 

Market Research data categories:

Primary data is collected directly through interviews, focus groups, surveys, observation, etc. by marketing firms hired to do primary research for a company or organization. 
Secondary data is data which has been collected by someone else. This includes market research reports from commercial publishers and data from government or trade associations. Published market research reports are very costly, and often include data with industry overviews, market size, market share, trends, consumers, etc.

The Business Library is a great source of secondary data: Some published market research reports and industry profiles are available through databases at the business library. Other databases will provide data on consumers and their purchasing and spending. . 

Reference Librarians

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Thomas Yoseloff Business Center Reference Librarians
Thomas Yoseloff Business Center
Fifth Floor
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
455 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 592-7057

Guide Author

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Madeleine Cohen
Business Center at SNFL
455 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10016
Subjects: Business