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Profiling a Company
It's helpful to start with general overviews of a company. Background information will make it easier to search for company specifics on the Internet or to find articles in the business press.
Several databases allow you to make lists of companies within a specific industry or business at a variety of geographic levels. Larger organizations or businesses will have more information; small companies may have only contact information. Use this list making feature to identify competitors, potential collaborators and target markets.
- Reference USA Steps: (1) Select US Businesses, (2) Select Custom Search, (3) Select Business Type - Keyword/SIC/NAICS works best, Select Geography or other parameter if desired (4) Click on View Results
- LexisNexis Academic Steps: (1) From the Get Company Information box, click on the option to go to Company Dossier, (2) follow database instructions to make a list.
Most of the company profile sources such as Hoover's, Company Dossier and Company Profiles will list 2 to 5 key competitors.
Finding Articles on Companies or Products
Your marketing plan may be bases on a new or existing company or product. You can find articles in business magazines and trade publications on both companies and products. The best sources to start are ABI and Business Source Premier.
- When searching for company information, be sure to use the field search option for "company". If your company is very small or relatively new, you probably won't need to limit by field, but for large companies help improve search results.
- For an existing product, search for the brand name. You can also limit your search to "abstract" if you need to reduce results.
- For a new product or new company, you can search for articles on a similar existing product or competitor. Think of this as a "proxy" search.
Tips for company searches
Locate SWOT analyses for large public corporations
Search for the company by name along with the keyword SWOT.
- Review the company webpage for information on products/services. Some major brands will have their own webpage.
- Check the Investor Relations section of a corporate webpage to find backgroun information on a company
- Company webpages are promoting a product. Always combine this type of search with broader industry or trade research
Using Google and other Search Engines
Advanced searches (such as Google Advanced
), allow more control over searches and reduce results with a lot of sales and advertising links