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MGT 6499: Innovation Realization: Customers

Who and Where are They?

Customers can be individual consumers, another business or the government.  The key question is: who will use or benefit from the invention?  By determining who the target customer is, then you can take the first steps towards understanding who and where they are.  Knowing why they would buy your product or service and knowing who your competition is for those customers will help develop your marketing plan. 

Deciding who your customer is determines how you will proceed with your research:

  • B2B means finding who the companies are that can use your product; you may need to fully understand a production or consumption process to understand the types of companies; then you would use the business literature to find those target customers
  • B2C (business to consumer) means understanding the customer's characteristics such as demographics, behaviors, preferences, etc. wil help you better understand them

The library's business databases are generally organized by the type of information they contain: company research, articles or reports about customers & competitors.  Exceptions are two which give you company one-stop shopping by bringing together different kinds of information:

 

 

Library Databases for Customer & Company Research

Researching Small or Start-up Companies

These are other information sources for finding private or small company information.  Often smaller or start-ups who may be competitors to your idea are not well covered in the larger library databases. At times, the only source is local newspapers and  business magazines that cover local businesses.