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EI201: Real Business Experience (all sections)

Welcome

This LibGuide has been prepared for students in the EI201 course to help with research for the Individual Marketing Assignment. 

Questions?  Ask your Business Librarian by going to the "Contact Librarian" tab on this guide.

Research Resources

Start your research on the company's website and pay attention to information found on the Investor Relations section, including the Annual Report to Shareholders and the SEC filing called the Form 10-K.

Most of the remaining information you will need for your assignment can be found in one of the following databases, which are linked under the tabs above.

  1. Business Source Complete database (under Company/Competitors tab)
  2. IBISWorld database (under Industry tab) 
  3. Mergent Online database (under Financials tab)
  4. Mintel Reports database (under Target Market tab)

Important: 

  • Read the tips under each tab of this LibGuide box before you start searching for information.
  • If you have never used one of the recommended databases, try the database tutorial.  A few minutes spent on a tutorial could save you from hours of frustration and wasted time.  This is especially true for the Mergent Online database, which is a great resource for public company financials. 
  • For help with APA citing style for this assignment, see the "Citing Help" tab on this LibGuide.

See below for tips on using a company's website for research.

Company Headquarters:  Look for the company's headquarters address, especially the city/state.  This helps with research when the company has numerous locations and you are trying to find the corporate profile in a database.  

A public company's website targets at least two audiences: 1) Customers and 2) Investors 

  • Customers: The opening screen is usually set up for the company's customers.  Here you can review product and service listings, online pricing and menus, promotional content, and much more.  Also look for the company's social media presence on its website to explore how the company uses social media platforms. 
  • Investors:   The Investors section is often found at the bottom of the website.  Look for news releases and financials, including SEC filings. An important annual filing is the Form 10-K; it provides information on the company's operations and financial performance.  Tip:  Download the most recent Form 10-K and review the Business section.

Start with the Business Source Complete database to find a company profile.  For company financials, including competitor comparisons, go to the "Financials" tab in this research resources box.

IMPORTANT:  Read the instructions below to make sure you are finding the detailed "Company Profile" in the Business Source Complete database and not just the limited information available from the "Company Information" option. 

*If you do not find what you need in the Business Source Complete company profile, try the Mergent Intellect database next.

Start with the IBISWorld database for reports that provide information on the industry in which the company operates.  Reports are available for both broad and more specifically defined industries (ex:  restaurants vs. fast food or retail trade vs. women's clothing stores).  Look carefully for the industry report that best matches with the company you are researching. 

Important: Use the table of contents found in the left menu of the reports to get to detailed information, such as the industry SWOT analysis and competitive landscape. 

*If you do not find what you need in the IBISWorld industry reports, try the First Research database next.

You will find a public company's financials in multiple resources, including the Investors section of the company's website. For your assignment, a good option for finding financials would be the Mergent Online database linked below.

Tips for using Mergent Online

  1. Identify the company's fiscal year end and make sure you are reviewing recent annual financials.
  2. The Mergent Online database will help you easily compare a company's financials (including ratios) with competitors' financials.   
  3. Mergent Online includes financials for public companies; if a competitor is a private company, it will not be listed in the Mergent Online database.  Choose a public competitor for comparison purposes.
  4. Mergent Online has a limit of five simultaneous users.  If you get a message that "all logins are in use," wait a few minutes and try again.
  5. If you have never used Mergent Online, you should first complete the brief tutorial linked below.

Start with the Mintel Reports database for information on the target customer for the company. 

  1. Use the box found on the left side of the Mintel Reports search screen to enter the company name or keywords for the industry. Tip:  You will likely have more luck finding information on customers by searching for a report related to the industry.  Also remember that an industry may have several sectors. (ex:  fast food, full service, etc.). 
  2. It is easier to find information on the results page by using the "List View."  You can change from a Grid View to a List View by using the icons on the right side of the screen. 
  3. Note:  For the most detailed information, use the "Content types" menu to filter results to "Reports." 
  4. In the reports look at the "Databook" to find results of consumer surveys. 
  5. If you have never used Mintel Reports, you should first complete the brief tutorial linked below. 

Statista (linked below) is also a helpful and easy-to-use database for consumer information, plus more.

Try the resources linked below to find information from trade sources. 

  • Trade sources focus on a specific industry and may help you find information on a company's marketing strategy. 
  • While you will not be able to access information on trade sites that is for "members-only," some information will be free. 
  • You can also use the Business Source Complete database linked below to find articles from trade publications.

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