Looking For Primary Or Secondary Research?
Even though Polaris is a primary marketing research company, we are often contacted by clients and prospects looking for secondary research information, such as financial reports, prospectuses, articles, market share reports, competitive intelligence analysis, etc. Ten years ago, access to this information was limited to exclusive paid search services that were sold to companies as well as community and university libraries. With the Internet and its capability to catalogue and distribute information 24/7, more information resources than ever are available to those looking. Some resources are free and some is not, but the most common information resources include:
Free: Search Engines (i.e., AOL, Yahoo, Google & Ask Jeeves)
Free: U.S. Government (Census, Edgar)
Free: News Services
Free & paid: Subscription Services (i.e., local newspaper)
Free & paid: Associations & Industry Trade Organizations
Paid Information Services that catalogue and sell information (Lexis-Nexis, DIALOG, Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, Factiva, OneSource, Investext, Mergerstat, SDC, Moody's, Standard & Poors, etc.)
As with all marketing research, the most important factor is that the information you gather is accurate, as comprehensive as needed and up-to-date. If you are very familiar with the type of information you are looking for, you should be able to find good bits of information on the Internet. The risk is that you will overlook potentially beneficial information that exists off-line, which would have been critical to your cause. Additionally, searching on your own may not be the best use of your time resources.
If you are not familiar with the type of information you are looking for, however, consider hiring a paid service with professionals trained in using the most common information search techniques and tools mentioned above. As an example, a great Atlanta firm by the name of Cadence Group specializes in providing on-demand research--a convenient service that provides access to professional researchers skilled at finding reliable resources. They can often find information you can't, and even for the information you can find on your own, they can often find it in half the time. Larger published reports that are found can range in price from $2,000 to $7,000, but you may be able to purchase relevant sections for $50 to $300. Cadence Group charges either $385 for a search or about $80/hour depending on the request. The investment may be very well worth it depending on your time and budget resources!
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