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39 posts categorized "Market research"

24 September 2014

What’s new on… eMarketer

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One of the resources we provide here at the British Library Business & IP Centre is free access to a Computer imagenumber of business and intellectual property databases; helping entrepreneurs and businesses to research trends, markets and companies, and to utilise and protect their IP.

If you’ve ever wondered what the market trends are in a particular industry, how to write a business plan, or where to search for trademark registrations, then you can use our databases to find out. The databases are regularly updated and in a monthly blog series, we take a look at what’s new.

Emarketer-logo-primaryThis month, we take a look at the eMarketer database, which provides international market research and trend analysis on internet, e-business, online marketing, media, mobile, and emerging technologies. eMarketer is particularly useful for those in a digital/technology focused industry or start-up, however, as most businesses now incorporate some element of ‘digital’ - from selling online, to social media - it also provides useful insights for entrepreneurs and employees across a number of sectors.

The reports bring together information from approximately 2,800 sources, including research firms, trade associations, consultancies, government agencies and universities. All research is globally focused and information is compiled into reports, charts, articles, interviews, webinars and newsletters. eMarketer is easy to search, with a versatile interface allowing both simple and/or complex search strategies. It’s particularly strong on data and statistics, with most reports including tables, charts and graphs.

Readers can download up to 10 reports per day.

eMarketer update their reports on a very regular basis, so there are lots of new ones each month. Some selected recent highlights are:

UK Holiday Shopping Preview: A Merry Season Forecast for Ecommerce

A look at UK ecommerce sales forecasts for the Christmas period, including statistics and trends. 

Healthcare Marketing to Baby Boomers: Helping the 'Forever Young' Age on Their Own Terms 

Examining the 'Baby Boomer' consumer demographic, with trends, issues and statistics. 

Digital Usage in the UK: Midyear 2014 Complete eMarketer Forecast

Comprehensive set of key metrics for the UK digital participation, including internet, mobile phones and social media users. 

UK Content Markeeting: Meeting the Challenge of Being Seen and Shared

Report looking at content marketing attitude and options, with a particular focus on the increasingly important role social media is playing in both its distribution and dissemination. 

Worldwide B2C Ecommerce: Q3 2014 Complete Forecast 

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Comprehensive forecasts for business-to-customer ecommerce sales 

 

 

UK Cross-Channel Commerce: Keeping track of complex consumer journeys 

 

Report considering some of the current cross-channel behaviours UK shoppers and buyers display, their prevalence, and how retailers and marketers are trying - or failing - to keep up.

UK Social Networking Trends: Mobile is Becoming the New Normal 

Examining the size and composition of the social network user base in the UK, how these users are accessing the various platforms and what this means for marketers looking to reach them. 

22 September 2014

Book review - Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz

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LeanAnalytics-coverAs a start-up, you may ask yourself why data analysis is important your business. According to Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz, authors of Lean Analytics, taking a long, hard look at some statistics is for “anyone trying to make his or her organisation more effective”.

A useful resource for anyone using the Lean Startup approach, the book offers insight into the fundamentals of why you need data to succeed, and what data that should be to help you get your product to market in an efficient and cost effective manner.

The book starts with the basics, builds up a scenario and then demonstrates a real-life example using case studies, for example, explaining the differences between quantitative and qualitative data, suggesting you need both statistics and user feedback to get a real sense of what’s working and what’s not, then how this was applied to an actual business.

Lean Analytics helps you to grasp not just what a metric is, but what a valuable metric is, and what this can do for your business. You may have a product for a group, but what niche are you attracting? How do you utilise that information? This book will help you make more informed decisions will could potentially save you time and money – and steer you towards a breakthrough moment. For example, did you know photo-sharing site Flickr started life as a chat? Remember, the Lean Startup listens to what its customers want!

From looking at how much a customer spends on an e-commerce platform to website design to software as a service, Lean Analytics helps you to develop the right questions to ask and what to do with those answers without getting lost in jargon or losing sight on what data actually represents – actual people – your customers.

Nadia Kuftinoff on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

11 September 2014

Healthcare Industry Market Research in the Business & IP Centre

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With all of the great market research databases available in the Business & IP Centre there is a danger that the reports we have in printed format might get overlooked. This would be a mistake because there are some really useful publications to be found on the shelves.

If you are researching the healthcare industry, you may be interested to learn that we have quite a few reports from two of the major healthcare industry analysts, Laing Buisson and Espicom.

Laing Buisson is the UK’s foremost provider of market intelligence on the private healthcare sector.  They also cover the community care and childcare sectors.

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Among the reports you can find in the Centre is Laing’s Healthcare Market Review, which is widely regarded in the industry as the definitive analysis of the independent healthcare sector in the UK.  This is an invaluable reference for decision makers in both the private and public sectors.  We currently have the 2013/2014 edition in the Business & IP Centre at shelf reference (B)MKT 362.102541 Business.

Other recently published reports in the collection include: Children’s Nurseries 2013 – (B)MKT 338.47362712094105 Business; Health Cover UK Market Report 2013 – (B)MKT 338.473683820094105 Business; and Domiciliary Care 2013 – (B)MKT 338.47362140808460941 Business.

You can find full details of all the Laing Buisson reports we hold by entering the search terms (B)MKT Laing into our online catalogue.

Another highly respected analyst in the healthcare industry is Espicom.  Like Laing Buisson, Espicom is a UK-based publisher.  Their reports cover a wide range of healthcare related subjects such as the developments in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular drugs, drug delivery methods, pharmaceutical generics, medical imaging, orthopaedics, cardiovascular devices, in vitro diagnostics and diabetes.  They also publish country specific reports.

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We have over 150 Espicom reports in the Business & IP Centre.  Recently published titles include: Physician-based Point-of-care Diagnostics: Products, Players and Outlook to 2017 - (B)MKT 338.47616075 Business; Advances in Molecular Imaging 2013: a Market Coming of Age - (B)MKT 338.47681761 Business; and the regional volumes of the Medical Device Intelligence Report 2013 - (B)MKT 338.4761020943 Business.

You can find a full list of all of the Espicom reports held in the Business & IP Centre on our catalogue. Enter the search terms (B)MKT Espicom.

Michael Pattinson on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

10 September 2014

New database in the Business & IP Centre: Local Data Online

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Adding to the extensive list of databases that we currently have, we have also now introduced a new database at the Business & IP Centre: Local Data Online (LDO).

LDO complements our existing market research and company databases by providing insights into the ever-changing UK retail and leisure landscape, allowing users to instantly understand the health and make-up of high streets, retail parks and shopping centres. Field researchers from the company spend over 2,000 hours a week in the field collecting and aggregating information for the database.

The database’s functionality allows you to search and extract information in a number of helpful ways. You can examine the retail make-up of a particular location – for instance a city, town or region – with the results displayed on a map. Retail units are then broken down by industry classification, so users would be able to pinpoint, for instance, the number of coffee shops in a certain area - and see what percentage of the whole this number represents.

They can also download location summaries, and lists of companies along with addresses and contact details.  Key statistics include the number of vacant units, opening and closure rates, and the mix of independent and chain businesses.

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A second method of searching is by industry classification. Type in your industry sector – for instance ‘cafés & fast food’ - and your region, and the database will show you the top 20 companies in this industry/area, the growth or decline rates by units or net change, and distribution between high street, shopping centres, retail parks, and other.  

Finally, you can choose to look at the ‘retailer overview’, which gives location coverage details for specific companies, and percentage change over the last year. This feature allows you to compare up to 5 companies, so you could examine the retail presence across the country for Costa Coffee versus Starbucks, for example.

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Local Data Online is useful for a number of reasons – to examine geographical trends, research local opportunities or competition, assess the suitability of a particular location for your business, or to create marketing lists. For instance, an entrepreneur opening a new coffee shop may wish to examine the make-up of an area to see if there are already lots of similar businesses already operating, or look at the mix of independents and chains to see how their business would fit in.

They could also look at the number of vacant units and openings and closures to examine the general retail health of the area. Suppliers of coffee beans, on the other hand, may wish to use the map functions to create a list of coffee shops in their locality that they could then market their product to. Or, if they want to research a particular B2B customer, the retailer profile would illustrate the company’s coverage across the country and the growth/decline rates of their outlets.

To access Local Data Online you need to visit the Business & IP Centre reading room. Find out more

Sally Jennings on behalf of Business & IP Centre 

09 September 2014

Using Netmums to find local business listings

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Netmums-logo-1339067868Recently I found myself talking to a reader who was intending to set up a small business in Orpington. One of the questions she asked me was: How can I do some basic market research? Well, there are plenty of sources that can give an overview of how the market in her particular business is doing in the UK as a whole, but she was chiefly interested in her local area.

One obvious question she needed to research was: What similar businesses are already operating in my area? Looking in the Yellow Pages  would be helpful, but I found another source that slightly surprised me, but nonetheless I can highly recommend: Netmums. (Not to be confused with Mumsnet, which is similar, but different.)

Founded in 2000, Netmums is the UK's fastest-growing online parenting organisation with over 1.7 million members and 8 million unique users each month. It is a family of local sites that cover the UK, each site offering information to mothers on everything from where to find playgroups and how to eat healthily to where to meet other mothers.  

Among many other things, Netmums gives local listings of small businesses that they could find useful  – and that means a very broad range of businesses, indeed.

Under four broad headings:  
1.    Household Help
2.    Other Local Services
3.    Women and Holistic
4.    Business Help

It has some three dozen categories, ranging all the way from Garden Services to Website Design and PC Repairs, by way of Hair, Nails, Beauty and Tanning, Food Banks, Driving Instructors, and much more.

What I particularly like is how it lists businesses not only in the town I ask for (when I typed in Orpington, it suggested Bromley to me, so I went with that), but also ranged further afield into neighbouring towns, within I estimated about 20 minutes’ driving time. This is just the sort of information that a hopeful start-up will need: if I want to start up in business as, say, a kitchen-fitter in Harpenden, I will want to know what other kitchen- fitters are already operating in nearby towns such as Luton or Welwyn Garden City – and Netmums will give me a list.

However, it may be fair to say that Netmums is not the clearest of websites to navigate.

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Here are quick instructions on how to get to the local business listings:

  • Starting at the home page, click on Choose Location (at the top of the page), which leads you to a page with an interactive map and a Search box – you can use either.
  • If you type the name of your town in the Search-box, it gives you the regions that this name maps onto.
  • Click on one, and you will be given the options Join (wherever) or Log In as a guest.
  • Once you have chosen one of these, you get to your region’s local page. Now click on Local Services – a rather inconspicuous link near the top of the page, towards the right-hand side.

I don’t know how many hard-pressed parents find this slightly hidden corner of the Netmums site, but for a would-be start-up it is well worth exploring.

Rupert Lee on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

29 July 2014

Book review - The Directory of Grant Making Trusts

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Directory-of-grant-making-trusts-2014-2015bThis is the 23rd edition of a book that is invaluable to fundraisers, charities, social entrepreneurs, community groups and anyone seeking funding for their project. The directory is annual and lists details of all the grant making bodies in the UK.

The organisations listed range from the small trusts set up for good causes to large funding organisations such as Children in Need.

Each entry outlines what is funded and not funded, ranges of grant available, sample grants within the last few years, names of trustees and the finances of the organisation. Guidance is also given on how to apply.

The directory in very comprehensive as it also includes organisations who say they don’t want to be contacted on spec. The compliers leave them as it is a good indication of which organisations not to contact.

There are indexes of areas of funding (e.g. educational, special needs, arts, housing, health, recreation etc.). Also types of support (e.g. building, salaries, vehicles, equipment, project finance) and organisations that cover certain geographical regions within the UK and overseas.



28 July 2014

Review - Luxury Briefing - the quarterly bulletin for the luxury industry

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Luxury briefingLuxury Briefing is a quarterly bulletin for the luxury industry. It includes articles on trends in the industry, news of new luxury products and services, interviews and company profiles and the ‘TAG Luxury Stock Index’.

Although the Business & IP Centre has some market research from for example Verdict, on luxury goods, this makes an excellent edition in background reading for anyone researching this industry.

"Luxury Briefing is always a pleasure to read. It is well edited and filled only with interesting and relevant information and comment. Whilst primarily aimed at the luxury market, it is also relevant to the wider world outside." Sir Terence Conran

The website includes a sample issue and a complete index.

 

25 July 2014

Book review - The Name of The Beast by Neil Taylor

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Name of the beastNaming your business, brand, product, company etc should be an easy and simple process but getting it right seldom is.

Neil Taylor was a senior naming consultant at global brand consultancy Interbrand - the company behind such household names as Prozac, Expedia, Hobnobs and Viagra - and states that the name is the one part of the brand that you hope will never change as it is the primary means of identification for a brand.

Brands change logos, straplines, headquarters, people – some of them even dramatically change what they do (Nokia started off making forestry products and rubber boots). But often the name is the one common thread that runs throughout the entire history of a company or product. So getting the name right is imperative and most hope never to change the name.

That means that when brands do change name, it’s a big and often costly deal. Remember when Opal Fruits became Starburst? When Marathon became Snickers? Oil of Ulay became Olay? Jif became Cif? All names that are still around today.

But what about Consignia – the new name that The Post Office-Royal Mail opted for? There was such a public fuss about the name – “Doesn’t sound like the national institution that Royal Mail does”, “Sounds like a brand of anti-perspirant (Insignia)”, “Consignia means (appropriately) lost luggage in Spanish”, “Unfortunately they forgot that a more common use of “consign” is to consign to the rubbish bin” - that the name Consignia has now been consigned to history as a massive failure.

The Name of the Beast (The perilous process of naming products, companies and brands) looks at the practical aspects of naming. How do you come up with names in the first place – what sort of name should you go for, what makes a good name etc? How do you make sure it doesn’t mean something awful in another language? How do you make sure that you don’t steal someone else’s name by accident (and then get taken to court)? How do you convince cynical colleagues, customers and journalists that your name isn’t worthy of the usual frenzy of devilish derision?

Within this humorous and easily readable book are tales of big brands, naming disasters, a smattering of insider knowledge and how 21st century super-brands like Google and Starbucks have built their empires on names with strong stories behind them.

Ziaad Khan on behalf of Business & IP Centre

15 July 2014

What’s new on... Keynote

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One of the resources we provide here at the  Business & IP Centre is free access to a number of business and intellectual property databases; helping entrepreneurs and businesses to research trends, markets and companies, and to utilise and protect their IP.

If you’ve ever wondered what the market trends are in a particular industry, how to write a business plan, or where to search for trademark registrations, then you can use our databases to find out. The databases are regularly updated and in a monthly blog series, we take a look at what’s new.

This month, we’re looking at the Keynote database. Keynote is a renowned provider of market intelligence, supplying businesses, libraries and academia with market analysis reports for more than 30 years. The database contains more than 1,000 reports covering a variety of industry sectors from IT and computing to food and drink, and is a very useful market research tool for business start-ups and SMEs.

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Combining secondary and exclusive primary research gathered from industry analysts and data from nationally recognised sources, Keynote reports are designed to help users examine markets, assess customer needs, forecast future market demand and trends, identify new growth opportunities or keep a close eye on competitors and industry leaders.

They usually have a UK focus, but many also contain a global perspective chapter. Reports often include PEST (Political, Economical, Social and Technological) or SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

Keynote is very easy to search and navigate, and readers can download up to 10% from up to 2 reports per day (limited to once a week from the same report, and no more than 30% of a report in total.)

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There are a number of new reports available on Keynote this July, including benchmarking reports, which profile the main competitors in a specific industry, and market reports, assessments, and updates, which provide detailed analysis of issues and trends within markets.

Those disappointed with England’s recent World Cup fortunes may want to console themselves with a benchmarking report on Championship Football Clubs, whilst food or drink entrepreneurs can research the current state of the coffee shop or beer industries using the market reports and updates.

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New on Keynote this July:

  • Chemical Distributors Benchmarking Report
  • Cash & Carry Benchmarking Report
  • Refrigeration Equipment Industry Benchmarking report
  • Championship Football Clubs Benchmarking Report
  • Rugby Clubs Benchmarking Report
  • Stationery Manufacturers Benchmarking Report
  • Defence Equipment Market Report
  • Trends in Leisure Activities Market Assessment
  • Jewellery & Watches Market Report
  • Coffee & Sandwich Shops Market Report
  • Breweries & the Beer Market Market Update

Sally Jennings on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

Photo Credit: Joel Olives via Compfight cc Photo Credit: marcp_dmoz via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Linh H. Nguyen via Compfight cc

11 July 2014

How to avoid business failure

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The statistics for small business failure make for grim reading. It’s a fact that fewer than four in ten businesses survive past the first critical three years of trading to become sustainable. That’s a lot of time, money and ruined dreams that could so easily have been avoided.

I’ve worked with many businesses here at the Business & IP Centre from early stage to high growth and have found that there are some key things to do at the early stage that will significantly reduce the odds of failure and even grow to real success. In fact our research has shown that using our resources and networks will reduce the chance of business failure to less than one in ten.

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Firstly, one should remember when starting that the most important asset in the business is you. So it’s vital that you’re realistic with yourself and have your feet firmly on the ground. No matter what type of business you start or invention you want to exploit, it goes without saying that just because it’s your idea, it doesn’t mean it’s a commercial idea and will make you money.

So you need to be vigilant and do everything you possibly can to minimise risk, but how?

There’s no shame in knowing what you don’t know.  As a business owner you will need to wear so many hats and have a wide skill set that it can feel daunting. But being an all-rounder doesn’t mean you have to be brilliant at everything either (not everybody with sales skills makes a good marketer) but you sure need to understand some basic principles and practice for a lot areas.

A keen desire to pick up as much information and advice along the way is crucial. Thankfully you aren’t alone. Many at the Business & IP Centre have benefitted from accessible, down to earth workshops that tell you the most important things you need to know, be it marketing or finance.

You can Get Cashflow Confident or grow your business online with our Marketing Masterclass Perfect for anyone exploring the possibility of a new business is our Start-up Saturday workshop  too.

Workshops are great opportunities to share experience and meet others too. You can start to create your own network of contacts to help you in all the areas you need to know. It may well become your lifeline.

Secondly one should find out as much as you can about the market you’re moving into. Proper research is your gateway to better opportunities. To have a serious business someone needs to buy your dazzling new product or life enhancing service and it sure helps to know whom. Market research does just this by identifying consumer profiles, average spend, size of the market place, threats, opportunities and forecasts. All this is information gold-dust at an early stage that will save you so much time and money in the long run, even if it’s as simple as helping to guide you on the right marketing strategy.

Published content by some of the larger researchers out there is beyond the budget for most early Individual Male Laptop stage businesses. The Business & IP Centre has taken this problem out of the equation by making freely available to its walk in users over £5 million worth of quality research on all major sectors and a good many small ones too.  What’s more our Information Specialists in the Centre will point you in the right direction and show you what you need to know.

And thirdly one should ensure your new venture will need to be as safe from risk as possible. Getting the right legal structure and necessary insurance in place at an early stage will save you huge bills and endless stress later. Understanding what you need to do doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. A database in the Centre called COBRA (Complete Business Reference Advisor) tells you in plain English many of the legalities and insurance issues you’ll need to address among other topics.

One should always consider what Intellectual Property there may be in the business too. Our Intellectual Property workshops and advice help to break down and explain how you can address this important asset in any business.

Group 7So addressing these issues will ensure your first step is a sure one. Of course there’s much more to build on from here but these issues are absolutely fundamental to the viability of any venture.

Finally, I would suggest not throwing all your eggs in one basket. Don’t quit your job just yet especially if you haven’t even had a single sale! It’s good practice to test and refine your proposition with a few customers that helps to prove the concept.

Remember, there’s never a shortage of help and advice to guide you, so help yourself to reduce the odds of failure.

 

Jeremy O’Hare is a Relationship Manager for the British Library’s Innovating for Growth programme, which provides £10,000 of fully-funded and tailored advice for businesses looking to grow programme.

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