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GMKT 311: Principles of Marketing

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Business and marketing research is essentially about the economy, industries and companies. This guide will assist you in locating data sources on all three. Marketing affects every person and organization. Therefore companies market to consumers--people and organizations that make up the market. This guide will also provide data sources that will provide tools for locating who markets, products marketed, and who buys and uses what is marketed.


There are two main resources (finding tools) that will assist in locating books and other items located in the University Libraries and in other libraries.

  • Sterling Catalog Howard University Libraries online catalog

  • WorldCat R The world's most comprehensive bibliography, with more than 45 million bibliographic records. Locate books, journals and other publications in libraries around the world.

The Economy

The United States Economic Census is extremely important to the business community. The Census is published every five years and provides a comprehensive portrait of the Nation's economy on the national and local levels. Uses of Economic Census Data are vast and are critical to decision making and planning.

Economic Report of the President--The Economic Report of the President is an annual report written by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. It overviews the nation's economic progress using text and extensive data appendices.

Market Data Sources

The Census Bureau publishes data--Census 2000 -- a decennial count of U.S. people and households. For example, the number of households and the age , sex, race/ethnic background , income, occupation, and education.

Company Data Sources

The first step in locating company information is to know whether the company is publicly traded or whether the company is privately owned. It is far easier to locate information on a publicly owned company since these companies are required by the Securities and Exchange (SEC) to disclose (provide information) to the public.

Publicly Traded Companies

The United States Securities and Exchange commission is a good place to start for information on a publicaly owned company using the agency's EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) search engine . Other sources include:

Privately Owned Companies

Private companies just as public companies, must file paperwork at the state level in order to do business. BRB Publications offers a useful page of links to state Web sites that can be used as a starting point. The following databases will also provide information.

See also the more detailed guide to http://www.howard.edu/businesslibrary/Assist/Guides/CompanyResearch.htm

Industry Data Sources

To research a company's industry, it is important to identify the industry. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes provide a mechanism for classifying like businesses together. These codes may be used to identify a company’s competitors and to determine industry financial norms.


  • ABI/Inform Global R -- Use the Advanced Search" and click for "more search options." Options to search are: Browse classification codes --Classification codes segment documents in ProQuest business databases into broad topical areas, including management function, industry or market, geographical area, organization type, and document treatment; Browse NAICS codes --North American Industry Classification System codes classify documents by industry based on the primary activities of the organization. For more information, see the US Government NAICS web site.

  • Factiva (formerly Dow Jones Interactive) [No proxy service for remote access; user must be on campus network proper] R Select "Industry" and choose the appropriate industry.

  • Lexis-Nexis Universe R

See also Industry Guide

Competitive Data Sources

The same finding tools above are also useful for locating information on the competitors of a company.

Bnet published very two good guides: Where to find the Competitive Data you need and How to Gather Competitive Research to competitieve research.

The following databases are very useful for locating articles and other news on the economy, markets, products, and companies.

Demographics & Psychographics

  • Consumer Expenditure Survey Bureau of Labor Statistics. Provides information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
  • Current Population Survey Statistics are provided from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics on employment, school enrollment, race and ethnicity, voting and registration, food security, work schedules, computer ownership, and fertility and marital history.
  • MyBestSegments to guide marketing campaigns and media strategies for specific market segments.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy..

Industry Regulations

Learning Objectives: Advertising

Citing Sources




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