The Keys to Commercialization: A Series
Part 4: Tips on Collecting Market Intelligence
Whether you’re writing a business plan for an unfamiliar market or simply keeping abreast of the markets you already live in, you should routinely monitor selected information sources for the latest developments. Here are some of BBC’s favorite sources of market intelligence.
- Trade Publications/Trade Associations are invaluable for getting a feel for a particular market, and especially for identifying the companies and the individuals that are the trendsetters. The articles in publications can help you understand how the market defines itself and how it’s segmented, and the advertisements suggest how various vendors position themselves strategically. Check these sites for trade publications in your market [internet.tradepub.com; www.biotechmedia.com; www.freetrademagazines.com]. Many publications also make archive issues available on the web.Trade associations collect and publish data on their members and the markets they serve. Much of this information is available on their websites. In addition, the U.S. government publishes an Index of Trade Associations.
- Company Documents. When you’ve identified the key companies in your space, you can monitor company documents to glean valuable intelligence. Press releases [samples at these and other sites: www.genomeweb.com/; www.prnewswire.com/news] and annual reports (available from the company’s website) are worth a look. However, the most detailed data can be found in the filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) required of public companies. Frequently, you’ll find updates on new products in development, as well as sales numbers broken down by product, market segment, and geography. Trends in quarterly revenues for individual companies are often characteristic of seasonal fluctuations in the general market. Look for 10Q (quarterly report) and 10K (annual report) documents for specific companies at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.Presentations that executives of public corporations deliver at investor conferences are also a valuable source of data. These can often be found in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website.
- Demographic information. To really understand a market you must have answers to basic questions, such as: How many potential customers are there? How prevalent is this disease? What is the annual growth rate for these surgical procedures?Disease prevalence statistics, often broken down by ethnic group and geography, are available online from U.S. government agencies and patient advocacy groups, such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Start your search at sites such as www.seer.cancer.gov and www.cdc.gov/nchs/about.htm.
One final tip: when it comes to market research past and current trends can definitely help you predict future events. So, when you find those “dead-on” data sources, sample them on a regular basis. A well-supported trend analysis will go a long way to earning you the title of “market seer.”
Michael Kurek, PhD, MBA, is a partner with BBC. Over his career, Dr. Kurek has demonstrated success on an international scale in defining new product opportunities, developing sales and marketing strategies, and recruiting and managing teams to deliver growth. He advises BBC clients in evaluating commercialization alternatives for their technology, product, or service.