Finding information — Marketing

Introduction (podcast)

Hi there — my name’s John and I’m one of the Teaching and Learning Librarians based at the University of Manchester Library. I also spend a fair amount of my time working within the Business Data Service based within the Eddie Davies Library at Alliance Manchester Business School.

In this resource we are going to take look at some of the market research and trade and industry news sources which you can access using the Library . Having chosen to study a module on marketing and digital communications these sources should not only be of interest to you in general, but they will also help you with the research that you will need to do for your assignment.

The Library provides access to a wide range of content which you should find useful. We will look at how you can locate market intelligence reports from companies such as Mintel and Statista. Academic journals and trade and industry news sources are full of useful information as well so we will also show you how to locate these using the online Library services

However, the Library also provides you with support in lots of other different areas which can help not just in this course, but in other areas of your studies too. Our My Learning Essentials skills development programme offers support in many areas such as academic writing, study strategies and critical reading and thinking. I hope you find this introduction to some of our resources useful. The Library is here to help you throughout your studies at Manchester and my final key message to you would be to ask us for help whenever you need it. There are lots of different ways to do this, and you will find details of this at the end of this section.

Getting started

All of the databases and resources which will help you with your research for the assignments you will need to complete for this course unit are housed in one handy place on the Library website.

If you haven’t already used it, you should bookmark our Business and Management subject guide which contains links to all the databases we will discuss in this resource (plus many others which may be useful for other course units). The guide contains two tabs “Databases” and “Journals”.

  • The Databases tab will link you to useful products such as company information databases, market research and economic and demographic information. These can be really useful if you are looking for primary data sources or statistics. You can find a comprehensive overview of these sources within the Specialist Library Support section of our website.
  • The Journals tab houses links to databases which have collections of academic and trade journal articles. You can use this tab to search for relevant literature and research on topics such as digital marketing or advertising.

Market research (podcast)

OK, so we will look at Market research first — so this is a very valuable commodity in the corporate environment, and there is a lot of it out there in the information landscape. As a quick example if I were to run a search using the terms “market research vacuum cleaners” on a popular internet search engine that begins with G, I would be presented with over 6 million results!

You can try this yourself if you don’t believe us, but the other thing you would notice is that if you try to access this information, you are going to need a very healthy bank balance.

You will usually find a brief overview of what’s in the report, but access to the whole thing does not come cheap, potentially 1000s of pounds or dollars at least.

We’re assuming you don’t want to pay that much money for a report on vacuum cleaners (or whatever the market is you are researching)? If so, then you can use the Library’s databases to provide you with access to reports from top providers such as Mintel or Euromonitor (Passport).

We subscribe to several different providers, and our academic subscription package will give you access to thousands of different reports covering a wide range of sectors.

We’ll come onto which is best for which area in a moment or two, but first let’s look at what you can expect to find inside these reports.

Typically a report will provide a range of quantitative and qualitative data which will be specific to a particular sector and region (such as Insurance in the UK), a particular product (such as Vacuum Cleaners), or sometimes around consumer behaviour patterns in various countries.

They are a really good source of information if you want to get a better understanding of how a market is behaving, and perhaps more importantly, how it is likely to behave in the future.

Companies such as Mintel have years of experience in the field of market intelligence. Their success comes from ensuring that their analytics are as accurate as possible by ensuring their analysts create the right sort of questions to ask, to the right sort of demographic of consumers.

Once the answers are collated and analysed, they will provide a real sense of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your chosen market.

You’ll also find definitions of the market, it’s current size, and some descriptions of latest activities and strategies which are being worked on by leading companies operating within the sector.

Market research databases

The following databases will be your best source of information for this project.

The screenshots below show an example of the type of information you can expect to find within these databases. These are taken from Mintel and shows sections of a report which examines the impact of COVID-19 on the sports fashion industry. This type of information can be very helpful when you begin your analysis of sector trends, and possible threats and opportunities which are faced by your sector.

Mintel: Sports Fashion: Inc Impact of COVID-19 — UK — December 2020
Mintel: Sports Fashion: Inc Impact of COVID-19 — UK — December 2020

All of the interfaces above offer a Google style searching interface, however the way in which you access and download the information might be unfamiliar.

Our Specialist Library Support service has produced a guide to accessing and using our market research databases. The guide contains example searches from all the databases listed above if you require further help.

Activity: Searching for Market Research data

Search for information on EITHER “soft drinks” or a topic of your own choice using the databases below — Instructions on how to search the databases are available here if you need them.

Trade and Industry news (podcast)

Trade and industry news or “business news”) is common in the mainstream media. This type of news reports on recent events like any other, but focuses on analysis from a business, economic or financial view point. Some stories will focus on a specific company, while others might focus more on a particular sector or industry. This can be a very valuable research tool if you are looking to find out more about a particular company, sector or industry.

Famous publications such as the Financial Times, or the New York Times, have a well established reputation for providing cutting edge assessments. However, there are many other smaller publications, which offer a more specific focus on particular sectors or industries. Some good examples of these would be the Grocer (focused on supermarket retail), or Campaign (which focuses specifically on Marketing campaigns).

The main advantage from a research point of view is the currency that these sources provide. They will allow you to monitor events as they happen, gaining insight into company and industry related events.

The analysis provided will often focus on the key political, economic and market trends, and help you to create a research perspective which is relevant and vibrant. The fast paced nature of it’s production means that caution should always be exercised when using these sources. Mistakes do happen — just check the corrections pages of the Financial Times for evidence of that, but business news offers considerable potential to add a contemporary perspective to your analysis.

We will now take a look at some of the databases which provide business news and are available through University of Manchester Library.

Trade and industry news platforms

The following should provide useful sources of information during this course unit.

  • Business Source Premier
  • Factiva
  • World Advertising Research Centre (WARC)

We will explore the Business Source Premier searching interface in the next section. Factiva can be quite an unforgiving tool to use initially. The “Search builder” interface requires a bit of practice, but it is worth taking your time to familiarise yourself with it. You can create searches with a huge variety of useful filters, and then view a list of relevant results alongside specific stories. Articles can be downloaded individually, or in batches of up to one hundred at a time.

Factiva search for Nasa AND Mars — 09/02/2021

World Advertising Research Centre (WARC) is more than just a database of news as it also includes case study analysis of specific advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. This makes it an excellent research tool for this particular unit. You will find articles and opinion from leading trade publications such as Admap alongside the latest news and case studies.

2019 WARC case study on IBM’s sponsorship of Wimbledon tennis

Activity: search for trade and industry news

Instructions on how to create searches using both Factiva and WARC are available via a specialist guide to locating trade and industry news housed on the Library website. Study the relevant sections of our guide, and then access the databases using the links available on the pages below. Experiment with some searches based on a sector or company which is relevant to your research.

Business and Management literature (podcast)

There is a huge amount of literature available in the field of Business and Management encompassing academic, trade and popular publications. You will find a variety of perspectives from detailed academic analysis based on years of detailed research, to practitioner focused content written by those with experience of how well theories and ideas translate when put into practice. You will probably have used our Library search or the Google Scholar platforms to search for books and journal articles already during your studies. You have probably also experienced the problem of locating way too much information when you first input a search. This problem will definitely continue with the study of marketing which is a huge field of academic study. Given the large number of articles available it is very important that you employ a clear and consistent search strategy which gives due consideration to the use of appropriate keywords, phrases and alternative concepts.

In this final section we will have a look at some of the bibliographic database platforms you will have access to during your studies here. While not perfect, they do allow you to be more comprehensive and systematic in the way you search for relevant information. You can (and should) continue to use Library search and Google Scholar, but databases can help you to identify a list of results that are both relevant and manageable once you become familiar with how they work.

Business and management literature databases

The first step in using databases effectively is to ensure that you create an efficient and effective search strategy. This involves thinking carefully about your research topic and ensuring that you identify any relevant keywords and phrases that will help you to locate relevant articles.

For the study of marketing this means you will usually need to consider concepts such as “advertising” and “campaigns” alongside the general term of marketing. Acronyms are another thing to be aware of, so for “customer relationship management”, you would also want to consider “CRM”.

We explore this in more detail in our post which talks about Research strategies.

The example below (taken from Business Source Premier) shows a possible search strategy you could usefully employ using most of these databases. The search boxes allow you to input multiple concepts connected to a similar theme (e.g. “social media or social networking…”) which you can combine with other concepts (e.g. “advertising or advertisement…” to create a search that is both comprehensive and on target.

Activity: Business and Management literature databases

The following are databases which are useful sources of both academic and practitioner focused journal articles. You will find further details together with guidance on these interfaces within the Specialist Library Support section of our website.

Visit some of the links below and experiment with using some of the search strategies highlighted above.

Please embed relevant sections for further support and feedback




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