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MKTG 471: Marketing Management

Resources and tools to support research in this class


Welcome, MKTG 471 students! I'm Kayla, your librarian for Business. I've designed this guide to help you with your course assignment. Below, you'll find instructions and tips on how to find:

  • Company/Firm Information, including financials 
  • Industry Information for the broader industry in which your firm and product is situated, and
  • Product Information, including market share at the product-level

As Mason students, your tuition helps to fund the acquisition of important business resources via the Libraries. Many of our databases are used by major companies for commercial purposes; they are strong and contain lots of helpful information, but if you run into any difficulty along the way, please email me at or schedule an appointment on the left-hand side of this guide.

Finding What You Need for Your Market Plan

While your market plan primarily focuses on a product, you will need to know a bit about the company/firm that sells your chosen product. If your company is public, you'll certainly be able to find information on Google or on the company's website. This is because public companies are publicly traded and are subject to strict reporting guidelines per the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); this means a lot of their information, including financials, is freely available. But because SEC filings can be hard to sort through, and because company-published sources are ultimately aimed at selling to investors, you'll want to rely mainly on the library's databases for company reports. These reports are thorough, reliable, and written by third-party analysts, and they compile much of the information you'll find on the web in one place. 

*Before you start researching your company, you'll want to determine whether it's public or private because this will affect how and where you search. It is much more difficult to find private company information since they don't have to file with the SEC.

You'll need to find information about the broader industry your company/firm operates within. You will need to find information such as the industry's size (in revenue), forecasts, performance, etc. The databases listed below contain this information.

*Before you begin researching your industry, you need to know the industry's code. In America, industries are assigned a NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System code) which is a unique identifier for a specific industry. If you've never used or determined a NAICS code, try the NAICS code lookup tool: If you're unsure which industry best represents your chosen company and product, you can look back to the library's Company Reports, which list the primary NAICS codes that a company operates within. 

Finding information at the product-level, for example market-share, is typically more difficult than finding information at the company/firm or industry level. This is because product-level information is only as available as a company chooses to make it. In other words, if a company doesn't report sales for your chosen product in their SEC filings (or elsewhere), it's unlikely you're going to find this information externally and, if you do, it's only an estimate. Some other potential roadblocks include:

  • Companies often report product sales in broad categories (e.g. Harley Davidson reports on unit sales of "Sport and Lightweight" motorcycles, but doesn't break this down amongst the specific products, e.g. the Nightster or the Sportster). In some cases, you might not even see anything more specific than "motorcycles." 
  • Companies often report wholesale numbers or total shipments for a particular product, which means these product units may or may not have actually sold to a customer
  • Companies often report sales, market share, etc. only for their top-selling products, which might not include your chosen product

Some tips when hitting these roadblocks:

  • Keep trying: keep looking and broaden out your search to other databases and/or Google. You don't typically want to start at Google for product information, but if you aren't finding what you need in the library's databases, don't be afraid to google. I recommend doing a search like the following to make sure you find actual reports instead of just advertisements: toothpaste "market share" US filetype:pdf
  • Know when to compromise: When you've exhausted all of the library databases, the company's reports and annual filings, as well as Google, it's okay to recognize that the specific product information you need might not be publicly available. In this case, I recommend finding the closest available data you can. For example, if you can only find product data for a different region or country, be sure to include these numbers in your report. Or if you can only find information on a more general product category instead of your specific product, it's okay to include this data in your report and make an educated guess or projection for your specific product based on the other sources you found.
  • Ask Kayla! I'm here to help, so if you can't find what you need, please email me at

For the Customer Environment portion of your Market Plan, you will need to find information about your target customer (whether it's an individual consumer or B2B). This might include demographics, locations, values and lifestyles, product usage characteristics, etc. The databases below contain this information.