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Introduction: scope and purpose of this guide
The potential topics for a demand estimation project can range from aluminum foil to antiperspirants, and the markets could be anywhere from Saskatchewan to South Africa. The range of possibly-relevant resources is equally broad: there is no single perfect source or even group of sources that will cover every topic. Think of this guide as a starting point in your quest for information resources. It won't answer all of your questions, but it will lead you to many of the key tools and sources that you will need to use. No marketing research guide, no matter how large and general, will cover every possible resource or tool that you might need, so we've included details on ways to get help. Do so early! Good luck with your projects!
Other SFU Library guides
As mentioned in the Introduction, there are a great many potentially-useful resources for your assignment. The following guides list some of the key resources that are likely to help with whatever topic you choose.
Commodities Research Resources
This SFU Library guide to commodities research resources will help answer the following questions:
- Where is the commodity found?
- What are the environmental considerations associated with the extraction or production of the commodity?
- How is the commodity extracted (produced) and by whom?
- How much of the commodity is left?
- Who uses the commodity (industries, individual consumers)?
- How is the commodity used?
- In what form is the commodity used?
- What is the price of the commodity (current, historical, and trends) and on what exchanges does it trade?
SFU Library guide: lists resources for Market Overviews, Competitors, Business Conditions, and Demographics - a great starting point for your research.
REM 100: Life Cycle Analysis - Library Guide
REM 100 does an assignment that involves tracking a product from the gathering of its constituent ingredients to its eventual consumption and/or disposal. Many of the resources in the library guide cover product components that may give you clues as to potential demand for your chosen product.
Tracking the details of the relevant industry as well as of companies in the field (competitors as well as possible customers) can play an important role in estimating demand. The following SFU Library guides list some key resources in these areas.
- Mining/Materials (Natural Resources Canada - free site)
- Mining/ Materials (Natural Resources Canada - free site)
- CANSIM (Statistics Canada data - online for SFU students/faculty)
- Exports (BC Origin) (online for SFU students/faculty)
- Trade Data Online (Industry Canada - free site)
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service: Industy Market Reports (focusing on Canada's export markets)
- CNNFN Commodities (free site)
- CRB Commodity Year Book [print or online]
- FAO (agricultural products and fisheries information - includes FAOSTAT, Globefish and other databases)
- International trade by commodities statistics (OECD - online for SFU students/faculty)
- International Trade Statistics Yearbook [print]
- Monthly statistics of international trade (OECD - online for SFU students/faculty)
- OECD iLibrary: Online statistical databases including National Accounts Database; periodicals such as the OECD Economic Surveys, Quarterly Labor Force Statistics, Quarterly National Accounts, Main Economic Indicators, Monthly Statistics of International Trade; electronic books on trade/markets, and much more.
- TradeStats Express (US merchandise trade statistics - free site)
- UNCTADstat: Data Center (UN - free site - includes long term commodity price trends)
- UNCTAD Commodity Yearbook [print]
- UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics (includes some commodity price indices, import/export data by origin & destination, and more)
- USGS Minerals Statistics and Information (US Geological Survey - free site)
- World Bank - Commodity Markets Outlook and Commodity Price Data (the "pink sheets") (free site)
- World Trade Analyser (online database for SFU students/faculty) - This database includes tables for world trade, and separate extensive tables for Cana dian imports and exports.
- BtoB Marketing Magazine: Key industry publication available via LexisNexis.
- For books: try the subject heading Industrial Marketing. You might also find some good resources with a search for b2b together with general marketing terms such as brand* (will find brand, brands, branding...), market*, consumer*, strateg*, new products. Try this as an Advanced Keyword search in which you focus on the format "Electronic Resource" to get ebooks that you can read from off campus.
- For material that is more focused on Canada, try CBCA Fulltext Business. The subject "Business to business marketing" will get you some good material, but you may be better off doing some keyword (citation) searching and including the term 'b2b'.
The SFU Library has many books and ebooks on marketing plans/planning, some of which have samples that you may want to look at as you begin to put together your own plan. Start with such subjects as Marketing - Planning and Marketing - Management to find titles such as The Marketing Plan: A Handbook. You might also want to look at our many books on Business - Planning in general, including our 29 online editions of the Business Plans Handbook.
Academic journal articles
Start with Business Source Complete (BSC) A few good subjects to start with in BSC:
- Industrial marketing
- Industrial goods
- Industrial procurement
- New products
- Product differentiation
- Marketing strategy
Once you have run your BSC search, click on the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals link above the result set to limit your results. Note, however, that many industry/practitioner magazines will still slip through the filter. Watch for longer articles with bibliographies and academics as authors when you are trying to spot the more scholarly resources. Also use our What is a scholarly journal? guide.
A few specific academic journals
Browsing some core B2B journals can be a great way to spot a topic that you are interested in exploring in a paper. Start with the titles below.
- Industrial Marketing Management
- Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing
This journal often has special "theme" issues (e.g., Business Marketing in the Decade Ahead (2002)). Many of these issues are also available as ebooks via the SFU Library catalogue.
- European Journal of Marketing
Note: one of the issues from 2006 (v40n3/4) was a "special issue on business-to-business marketing in the twenty-first century"). As with the journal above, many theme issues of this journal are also available as ebooks via the SFU Library catalogue.
- Supply Chain Management
- The Journal of Supply Chain Management
- Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing
Look for an online guide: Many of the databases that you will use have built-in 'help' sections (e.g., Business Source Complete and Academic Search Complete). In addition, for general help using our catalogue or moving from citation to journal, we have some online tutorials. Try contacting our reference librarians via telephone, online chat, or email using our Ask a Librarian services. Stop by the Help Desk in one of the SFU Libraries and discuss your research with any of my colleagues. You are also welcome to email me email@example.com with your questions. It makes things much more efficient if you start your email by explaining...
- what class you are in (so I have an idea of your assignment and background);
- when the assignment is due;
- what exactly you are after (saying that you need "everything about the aluminum market" is far too broad - saying that you need to know where to find "information about importing and exporting regulations for aluminum in Australia" is better (though not necessarily simpler!));
- where you have you looked so far (have you tried the catalogue and Business Source Complete?);
- and what search terms you tried when you searched.
Research is only half the battle! You also need to communicate your findings in a clear, well-structured paper, Check the SFU Library guides to Business Writing and Writing for University for resources to help with paper structures, grammar, spelling, and more.
The SFU Library has many books on creating effective business presentations and on public speaking in general, including several recent titles that are available online for SFU researchers. We also have many ebooks with tips on using Powerpoint, and one of our databases, Lynda.com, includes short video introductions to effectively using presentation software.
You also need to correctly cite all of the books, journal articles, and sites that you used in your research. Start with the SFU Library style guide to Citing Business Sources using APA as well as our guide to APA style in general. Note also that many of our article indexes (e.g., Business Source Complete) will allow you to email article citations to yourself with the citation automatically in APA format.
Learning how to properly credit others when you use their ideas is a difficult, but important part of research. Start with the SFU Library's interactive tutorial Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism to test yourself and to learn more about plagiarism. Also read the SFU Library Guide on Plagiarism for further discussion of this critical topic and for links to other plagiarism guides.