MKTG 489: Marketing Management and Strategy: Situation Analysis: Company Information
Company Web Sites & Annual Reports
- Publicly-traded companies have to file annual reports with the SEC. The previous year's annual report is due March 31.
- Annual report includes company background, current issues they are facing, what went well, what went wrong, and financial information.
- The 10K contains internal company information. If a current annual report is not available, look at the most recent 10K.
- The Presdient's Letter is where s/he explains the company's current situation to shareholders. Read this with a skeptical eye.
Where are annual reports located?
- Many companies will put their most recent annual report on their web site.
- Most post past annual reports, historical financial information, mission, values, etc. on their site.
- Look for a link on the company's home page labeled, "Company information," "Investor Information," etc.
What else is on the company's Web site?
- Mission, values, and vision
- Possibly a recent strategic plan
- Articles or press releases
Public Companies vs. Private Companies
- If a company has a ticker symbol, it is publicly traded. Find the ticker in a simple Google or Wikipedia search--but don't rely on this information for your entire assignment
- Some private companies will put a lot of information on their Web site. Some won't.
Can you trust information from the company?
- Yes. But read it with a skeptical eye and back up any of their own information with other sources.
How do I read some of these things?
- The Wall Street Journal has a useful guide on how to read a company's proxy statement.
What you need for this assignment:
- Internal environment of the firm
- Firm's overall strategy and performance
- Customer environment (current and potential customers, value propositions, etc.)
- Competitive environment, industry characteristics, and other environmental factors
Company Research Tips:
- Publicly-traded companies will be easier to research than private companies.
- You will use a mix of library resources (Mergent, Business Source Complete) and online resources.
- Some companies are easier to research than others. Companies and brands are merged and absorbed regularly, and this can make finding even recent information difficult.
- Just because you want a certain piece of information doesn't mean it is available.
- Sometimes you will have to make an educated guess.
- Always check the company's website for information, especially the 10Ks and proxy statements.
Remember: Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it!
Librarian Subject Team