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Market Research

An introduction to conducting Market Research and finding Market Share using Kettering's business databases.

What is Market Research?


Market research involves gathering data and statistics on the many aspects that affect (or have the potential to affect) a new or existing business.

This typically includes defining: Who will your customers be?  How will you recruit and retain them?  How does your business and your potential product or service fit into the local market and the industry at large?  Who is your competition? What makes your business, product, or service unique?  

Market research is an essential part to any business plan, and the soundness of your market research is something your potential investors will look at as they consider funding your business venture.


Market research can usually be divided into three areas:

  1. Understanding your target market (aka potential customers)
  2. Analyzing the current state of the market or industry you are in or wish to enter.  This includes identifying where your potential products or services would fit in with the local market.
  3. Viewing the competitive landscape of the industry you will be entering, including local competition.



The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are numerical classification systems created by the United States government.  These systems are used to group/classify similar companies into industries for the purposes of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The SIC system was originally developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1987. The NAICS system was first released in 2002, and is in current use. 

While NAICS has "officially" replaced SIC, many business directories and databases still use one or both of the systems.  Therefore, it is important to know about both SIC and NAICS.

  • The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) consists of four digit numbers that apply to a company based on the type of products or services it produces.
    • An example of an SIC Code is: 5812 = Eating Places
  • The newer North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) employs six digits to allow for a more detailed system of industry classification. 
    • An example of a NAICS Code is: 722110 = Full Service Restaurants

Some library databases, books, and web sites allow you to search using SIC and/or NAICS codes. It is very helpful to know what your industry code is before starting your research in Library and government resources. 

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