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Marketing Resources: Private Company Research Tips

Use this guide to find a variety of resources for marketing research: company and industry profiles, marketing plans, target markets, and customer demographics.

Private Company Research Tips

Research Tips

1. Mine the company’s website and social media channels for information; read the "About Us" tab and look for other relevant information. Check for press releases or a news section. Do the same for the company’s competitors.

2. See if the Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce has information on them.

3. On the Companies tab, search for your company in the directories Mergent Intellect and Reference Solutions. Search for larger private companies in PrivCo. NOTE: Financials for private companies are often reported as ‘estimates.’ The figures may be outdated by a year or more. Use with discretion, and always cite your source.

4. For Minnesota businesses, check the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Business Filings. For businesses that are registered with the state, it provides brief information such as address, contact name, and assumed names. For businesses located in other states, check the business section of the state’s Secretary of State website.

5. Even a small private company may be considered newsworthy by the local press. On the News/Articles tab, search local and regional news sources for articles and news stories on the business. You can search for full-text articles in ProQuest US Newsstream, Access World News, Pioneer Press, and BizJournals (includes the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.) You can also search newspaper websites directly, but they often have a paywall.

6. Perform an Advanced Google Search on your business and limit it to the "PDF" format.  Many reports and other documents will be on the web in this format. Be sure to check how current the information is, and evaluate where the information is coming from.

7. Set up a Google Alert on your business or their executive(s) to monitor the media.

Learn About Their Industry/Sector

Learn about the Industry/Sector. What are the larger trends?

1. On the Industries tab, search in IBISWorld, ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry, and Business Source Premier for industry profiles and trade publications related to the industry. Use the format limiters to narrow your search results to these types of publications. You can also check Gartner for IT industries, and the impact of IT on small- and medium-sized businesses.

2. On the Companies tab, use Reference Solutions and Mergent Intellect to find and create lists of possible competitors. On the Consumers tab, you can use SimplyAnalytics to map businesses.

3. On the Market Research Reports tab, you can use Statista to locate statistics and reports related to the industry.

4. On the News/Articles tab, search local, regional, and national news sources for articles and news stories on what the business does, and how the topic is covered in the media. You can search for full-text articles in ProQuest US Newsstream, Access World News, Pioneer Press, and BizJournals (which includes the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.) You can also search newspaper websites directly, but they often have a paywall.

5. Search for relevant trade and professional associations in the business sector. You can find trade associations through web searching as well as in industry reports in IBISWorld and ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry.