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Market Research and Advertising

This guide is to assist you in researching topics related to Marketing, Advertising, Consumers and Marketing Research.

MRKT 3011 Group Project

This page provides research tips and links to resources for the use of students doing the Group Project for the MKRT-3011 Marketing Research Course.

Getting started: 

  • Databases : a list of databases is included in this guide (Click Articles on the navigation, then Databases). These are relevant to the topic of market research and include descriptions and links. 
  • Keywords : located on the Welcome page you will find a list of keywords related to market research. Use these as a jumping off spot in all your research.

1. Target Market

Determining the target market for a product or service involves two basic questions:

(1) What kind of people are likely to be interested in our product or service?

(2) How many of these people can we reach?

The sections below focus on different considerations that apply to both of these questions, with basic research tips and links to helpful resources.

The answer to the first question, or at least clues to an answer, are found in the personal characteristics of the potential customers -- demographic characteristics such as age, income and ethnicity and psychographic characteristics  such as personal preferences, desires and perceived needs.

The second question involves geography -- i.e., Place/Distribution in our Marketing Mix 

For example, if we have a product that can be sold over the internet, the target market that we can reach could be scattered around the world.

Conversely, if we are offering a product that has to be sold from a store (e.g., ice cream) or a service such as dog grooming, the target market that we can reach will be pretty much confined to our city or town or even to a particular neighbourhood.

These two opposing scenarios will influence our marketing strategy in very different ways.

2. Demographic Profile: (e.g., Age, Income, Ethnicity)

What is the demographic profile of the product’s target market?

Both web searches and journal article database searches can provide useful information about products/services and their customers.  The advantage of journal articles is that they are filtered (i.e., subject to editorial and quality controls) and databases are much smaller and more subject-focused than the web.

Databases good for this area include Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, and Canadian Reference Centre.

Once you are in the database, do searches of your own -- for example, on a specific product or service combined with other terms related to customers or consumers (e.g., ice cream customers).

Use keywords relating to "consumers" for general information about consumer demographics 

You can do the same for eBooks, Paper Books and/or Audio Visual items.

3. Psychographic Profile (Preferences, Desires, Perceived Needs)

What is the psychographic profile of the product’s target market?

Use the same strategy as for Demographic Profile -- Use the keywords related to "Consumers"

When you get the search results, modify the search by adding "psychographics".

Brainstorm other useful terms (e.g., "preferences", "needs", "desires").  Limit common terms to the Title field to focus search results.

4. Product class (Product Plus Substitutes / Alternatives)

Use the same strategy as for Demographic Profile -- do a search on a product or brand that you are interested in (e.g., Kellogg's frosted flakes).

Check the subject field for generic terms that you can search (e.g., Breakfast cereals) to find more general articles, or articles about other brands.

Add subject terms like "Advertising" or "Marketing" to your search to focus it.

Have a look at these databases

5. Brand Preferences

Use the same strategy as for Demographic Profile -- Use the keywords related to "Brand".

6. Marketing Mix Variables

How effective is one or more of the product’s marketing mix variables for the intended target market?

  • (A) Product (Product life cycle; competition)
  • (B) Price (Elasticity: how does change in price affect sales?) 
  • (C) Promotion (Advertising; PR)
  • (D) Place/Distribution (Store location; Telephone sales; Internet)

Start by using the same strategy as for Demographic Profile -- 

Then search each individual terms combined with the product or service in question.

You can also search "marketing mix" in the Title field for articles on the general application of the concept.

For demographics limited to Winnipeg, or to one or more Winnipeg neighbourhoods, see:

7. Brand Positioning

Use the same strategy as for Demographic Profile -- Use the keywords related to "Brand".

8. Sales Trends and Projections

See Marketline on the Databases page of this guide.

9. Product Enhancements

What product enhancements would the target market like to see?

  • EbscoHost: articles on products may cover need for enhancements; e.g., Breakfast cereals combined with nutrition.  Other products may have issues with quality or safety that have raised consumer concerns.

Make a recommendation

Do you have a title to recommend for our collection? Use the Suggest a Purchase form to suggest a book, video or journal.

Do you have suggestions or feedback that can help improve this guide? Please contact this guide's author on the "Getting Started" page.