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BUS 100, Introduction to Business: Marketing Strategy

This guide is your road map to completing your BUS 100 project. We can't possibly list every resource you might need, or anticipate every stumbling block, but we've included the ones that address most companies and situations. If in doubt, ask for help.

Section Overview

In this section, you will analyze and discuss your company's marketing strategy, focusing on all elements of the market mix (i.e., the 4Ps, or price, product, promotion, and place).

Information Provided by Your Company

You must reference the company's web site in your analysis. It's a good source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, company promotion & marketing tools, product information, and more. Corporate information may be buried on the main web site - look for an "About Us" or "Company" or "Investors" link on the home page.

But remember: the main purpose of a company's web and annual report site is to promote itself, so "trust but verify" - all of the information on the company's achievements and performance can (and should be) be verified in external sources.

The most recent report (and sometimes previous reports) is usually available on the company's web site. The annual report is a great source for vision, mission, & strategic statements, organization & structure, current financial information, recent achievements, strategic plans, and more. The annual report is a legal requirement for public companies, but it's also a vehicle for retaining and attracting investors - always "trust but verify" using external sources.

Annual reports are also available from these sources:

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Company Filings

Public companies around the world (and, in many countries, private companies, too) are legally required to file documents containing financial and other information with the government. These filings, as they're typically called, are then made publicly available.

To find filings related to your company, use the following resources:

For companies operating outside of the U.S. and Canada, you'll need to search the web for company filings [country]. Note that in many countries (including most of Europe), both private and public companies are required to file documents with the government. Documents from non-English speaking countries may not be available in English. 

SEDAR provides copies of all legally required filings for public companies trading on stock exchanges in Canada. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • Annual Information Form: information on corporate governance, financial information, capital structure, and strategic directions ("forward-looking statements")
  • Audited Annual Financial Statements: Independently audited financial statements; should be the same as what is reported in the annual report for the same period
  • Code of Conduct: describes the company's policies and practices related to ethical behaviours
  • Interim Financial Statements: quarterly financial reports (unaudited); useful for updating annual financial statements when part-way through the fiscal year
  • Management Information Circular: notice of AGM for shareholders; often contains information on executive compensation
  • MD&A (Management's Discussion & Analysis): companion document to the audited financial statements; narrative explanation, through the eyes of management, of how the company has performed in the past, its financial condition, and its future prospects
  • News Releases: information released to the media and public by the company
     

There are two ways to locate filings in SEDAR:

Search Database Company Profiles
  1. Search for Public Company documents.
  2. Fill in the search form:
    • Company Name: type in full company name
    • Date of Filing... choose your date range (at least one year, preferably three years)
    • Sort documents by... Date of Filing (useful for most recent filings) or Document Type
  3. Click Search.

  1. Browse for name of public company using A-Z list.
  2. From company profile, click to View this public company's documents.

APA Citation Format

References

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2014, December 17). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015a, May 7). MD&A. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

Big Rock Brewery Inc. (2015b, May 7). News release. Retrieved from http://www.sedar.com

In-Text Citation

(Big Rock Brewery Inc., 2015a)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

EDGAR is a database of all legally required public securities filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), including those of public companies. Some of the document types you'll find are:

  • 8-K: news release
  • 10-K: annual report; includes audited financial statements, management's discussion and analysis, corporate governance, executive structure and compensation, sources of capital
  • 10-Q: quarterly report; use the interactive format

To search for company filings:

  1. Click on Search for Company Filings.
  2. Click on Company or fund name...
  3. Enter the Company Name or Ticker Symbol (fastest method) in the relevant search box, and click Search.
              
  4. To view a specific document, click on the Documents (list of documents available) or Interactive Data (where available) button next to the document name.
  5. Try the new Search Results BETA View - it offers a more streamlined view of the available documents. Click on the Interactive Data button (where available), or on the document title to view the filing.

APA Citation Format

References

Netflix Inc. (2015, April 17). Form 10-Q. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov

In-Text Citation

(Netflix Inc., 2015)


Note: Provide the URL of the publisher's home page. Do not provide the direct URL to the report.

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Other Information Sources

Newspapers can be a good source of information about your company. Most newspapers have a business section that focuses on local business as well as business news in general.A good source of information for critical issues facing your company, product launches and reviews, key trends, personnel changes in the executive ranks, and industry news.

Not all product review sites are created equal, and it's good to treat product reviews with a healthy skepticism. There are essentially two types of review sites:

  • Consumer or customer reviews: these offer reviews based on individual experience with products, and may or may not compare products. Always seek customer reviews from multiple sources and reviewers, so that you get a fuller, more balanced picture.
  • Product testing reviews: these reviews focus on multiple brands in a product category and rate each brand tested using the same criteria and methodology. The best of these sites will explain their criteria or methodology and document any outside sources.

Both types of review sites are valuable. The best strategy is to read multiple reviews from both types of review sites, and look for patterns of agreement or disagreement. Here are a few that we can recommend:

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