As we discussed in our last post, defining a market is a critical first step in developing a strategy. In this post, we’ll focus our attention on methods to collect information required to help define the market.
Methods largely fall into two categories:
- Based on existing reports – Depending on the size and maturity of your market, reports are an excellent source to quickly grasp market trends.
- Based on people input – While it can be tedious at times, speaking with industry experts and customers provides a level of detail and color that can help bring numeric data to life.
In this post we will cover the approach based on existing written sources.
Analyst reports: Many markets are well covered by analysts at either a research organization or at an investment bank. For example research houses like IDC and Gartner publish a large variety of technology reports. These reports, however, are expensive and can easily cost $10,000 and more. “Initiating coverage reports” by investment banks tend to have the best market data. These too are expensive but at times at quick Google search may reveal some of the main points/charts being publicly available.
Company reports: Mandatory publications like 10-Ks in the USA and public marketing material can provide in-depth company financial data, capability overviews as well as general market trends. These are free and typically available through a companies investor website. Depending on local legislation mandatory reports can often be obtained from a public register. This is particularly helpful when data of competing players in a market is needed.
Official and statistical publications: In many countries supervisory and statistical bodies (e.g. the PRA in the UK) collect data from market players which is published in detailed or aggregate form. Trends and background information may be shared as well. Because the relevant institutions are public bodies reports are typically freely available. Though depending on national regulations, the availability can be expected for industries with a strict governance due to a high public interest. This often includes financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation and food industry.
Industry associations: Leading market players often establish lobby groups. Among others these mostly publish qualitative and quantitative reports on market development and trends. However, because the associations must keep neutrality towards their stakeholders and assessment or rating of individual companies cannot be expected.
In the next post we will consider options for collecting market insights from the ground up without relying on existing quantitative data and analyses.
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