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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

Business Information Triangle

This guide is a great place to start for learning about the types of business information that is available to you and where to go to find it.

Business & Economics Librarian

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Jennilyn Wiley
RBD Library
231 Mell Street
Auburn University, AL 36849-5606
Subjects: Business, Economics

Industry & Market Information Ecosystem




To begin, the industry can be thought of the external environment in which a company operates - think regulatory concerns, macro-economic cycles, and availability of raw materials.  The market consists largely of the other players involved - customers, competitors, substitutes, etc.  When researching the industry and/or market a company is operating in, it can be helpful to go from broad to narrow.  

It can be useful to define the industry as clearly as possible and this is often done by locating the appropriate North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) number for the industry.  The NAICS code is a 2- to 6-digit number that identifies the core activity associated with the product or service and can help you identify relevant competitors, suppliers, and customers for a given industry.  You can also use the SIC code, although the NAICS is becoming more common as time goes on.

Once you have defined your industry, starting with broad industry and market overviews, then moving to more and more narrow components and aspects of the industry or market, can be an efficient strategy for your research.  

Classification Systems

Industry Overviews

Market Research Reports

In addition to the databases listed here, I recommend you also check out the Richard K. Miller Market Research Handbooks (if your focal market or industry is represented).  These are eBooks available through the library and the titles include:

International Markets

Consumer Information

Trade Associations

You can use Google to find relevant trade/professional organizations for you industry.  Try searching

[industry ("trade organization" OR "trade association" OR "professional organization" OR "professional association")]