Before conducting Blueprinting interviews, learn as much as you can—quickly and cheaply—by learning what others already know. A good sequence is to:

  1. Conduct Internet Searches to see what’s already been reported
  2. Purchase multi-client Market Studies for well-researched, organized information
  3. Interview Industry Experts for in-depth insights

Internet Searches

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Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org FREE

This is a good “first stop” when exploring a market. This user-edited encyclopedia helps you understand the fundamentals, issues, vocabulary, and structure of your target market. Economic data is often included. Most articles contain many related articles you can navigate to from your first article.

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Google www.google.com FREE

Uncover background information on your target market by using this or other web search engines. Use this to become familiar with market volume & revenue… growth rates… major suppliers and customers… terminology… key trends and issues… market structure (value chain)… and more.

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US Census www.census.gov/econ FREE

Explore market segments by 6-digit NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes and download their data tables. The Annual Survey of Manufactures contains the annual value of product shipments by NAICS codes. This takes some effort, but a great deal of other economic data is available here.

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D&B Hoovers www.hoovers.com/industry-analysis/industry-reports.html FEE

For a small fee (~$100), download reports on over 1000 industries. You can search for nearly 100 million companies by industry description or NAICS code and get basic information on them (including annual revenue, location and description)… or purchase a company report (for ~$30).

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Kompass Business Directory us.kompass.com/b/business-directory/ FREE

Search over 10 million companies in 70+ countries by product or service, company name, and geographic location. Free information includes company description, brands, key executives, contact information, number of employees, and products produced or distributed, and services offered.

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Thomas www.thomasnet.com FREE

This resource provides supplier profiles, articles and white papers. It’s particularly useful if you’d like to find producers of certain products (for which you could innovate). Enter the type of product you’re targeting, and you’ll see the producers… each with relatively detailed company profiles.

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Europages www.europages.com FREE

This database—available in 26 language—contains information on nearly 3 million European companies. You can search by product/service, business activity, or company. Company profiles describe business activity, personnel, commercial information, location… and include documents describing company offerings.

Market Studies

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MarketResearch/Profound www.marketresearch.com FEE

Their Knowledge Center contains a broad range of market studies from Freedonia, Simba and other formerly-independent research firms. Their Profound service is especially powerful: It aggregates nearly one million reports, slices them into sections and allows you to purchase only what you need.

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Euromonitor  www.euromonitor.com/solutions FEE

Their services include Passport (market research database), Research Monitor (daily news articles), and Market Reports. For the latter, they publish nearly 20,000 reports annually on a broad range of global industries and companies. You can search by industry, country, company, and economic/consumer research.

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Research and Markets www.researchandmarkets.com FEE

Their database includes over 1.5 million research reports in over 800 industry sectors (with research teams in ~80 countries). You search by industry or company and can refine your search by region, country, price and date of publication. (Their search function is intuitive, so you can quickly tell if they have what you need.)

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Frost & Sullivan ww2.frost.com/research FEE

Their 360° Research integrates seven perspectives into an overall industry viewpoint: Competitive Intensity, Customer Dynamics, Industry Convergence, Disruptive Technologies, Global Mega Trends, New Business Models, and Emerging Markets. You search for reports by industry.

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BCC Research www.bccresearch.com/market-research FEE

You search for research reports by industry (e.g Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Chemicals, etc.) You can purchase individual reports, or purchase an annual subscription… which allows unlimited research access within a category (for ~$10k).

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IBISWorld  www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/ FEE

They offer some global reports, but their strong suit is coverage of ~1300 US industries. In addition to purchasing reports, you can gather a good bit of free information, e.g. industry growth rates, employment, and number of companies. The individual report summaries also provide some good information.

Industry Experts

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GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group) glg.it/services FEE

They have a network of ~500,000 experts (“Council Members”) they can connect you with. You need to engage them (typically for one year at a time), and they help your company find the right experts for multiple projects. You normally have a one-hour phone consultation with each expert… and can expand this if you like.

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AlphaSights www.alphasights.com FEE

Like GLG, they set up phone consultations with industry experts (“Advisors”). The main difference is that they don’t maintain a network of experts; rather they do a fresh search for experts based on your specific project needs. Many of their experts are currently employed (and are required to avoid disclosing confidential info).

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Zintro zintro.com FEE

Zintro has a network of 130,000 industry experts (“Advisors”), and also conducts dedicated searches for specialized experts. They offer both self- and full-service expert searching, and do not require annual contracts. They claim to offer significant savings over competitors, with one-hour expert consultations averaging $500-1000 each.

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Guidepoint www.guidepoint.com FEE

Like GLG and AlphaSights, they set up phone consultations with industry experts (“Advisors”). In addition, they can support your market research by conducing surveys and setting up events, e.g. teleconferences, custom events, and breakfast or lunch meetings at industry conferences.

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The SearchLite thesearchlite.com FEE

The SearchLite identifies, interviews, and synthesizes insights from industry experts across multiple verticals. They can help if you are entering a new market, building your interview list, or need support with the Blueprinting interview process (with which they are familiar). The SearchLite will map an ecosystem of experts and connect you with your interviews.

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ORC Experts orcinternational.com/solution/expert-network/ FEE

ORC has a network of ~13,000 experts in ~30,000 areas of expertise. Their experts tend to be technically-oriented, although some have business experience. These experts are available for short phone consultations as well as longer engagements.

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YourEncore www.yourencore.com FEE

Their industry expert network is comprised of retired professionals. Industries covered include biopharma/biotech, medical, consumer goods, food, beverage & nutrition and consumer health. To get started, you submit a request stating your needs.

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Trade Associations www.directoryofassociations.com FREE

Contact the trade association(s) relevant for your target market and ask their office for independent consultants in their association. This database is free and contains ~35,000 associations… but only in the US. Google searches can lead you to other lists of associations, including one in Wikipedia.

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LinkedIn www.linkedin.com FREE

It’s considered bad form to promote yourself on this network of professionals. But if you’re a LinkedIn member, it’s perfectly fine to search for experts you’re going to pay. Go to Search > People and click “All Filters.” Then use the “Industries” field to search a pre-defined industry. From there make your connection.