Each report contains standard “ingredients” -- though precisely the same ingredients and metrics are sometimes difficult to obtain about every industry. For example, some larger industries are thoroughly examined by several industry resources (trade publications, membership organizations, and private research groups), and a plethora of useful data is available. The data gathered about the retail grocery or furniture industries, for example, may include in-depth information about market share by type of retailer, but the same share of market breakdown may not be available with regard to the office supplies industry or the home health care industry.
What we do is called “secondary research” -- which is the gathering of facts and statistics that already exist from one or a number of sources. We rely on what is available from these sources and we cite these sources as the originator of the data, so we are limited in what we can include by what is available through industry resources. This is not to say that reports are not full and robust and reliable and valuable. It is only to say that one report may differ from another in the specific data that is included.
Standard report elements are listed below, applicable to both our 3-page Quick-Learn Reports and our 1-page Industry Snapshots.
Key industry information is presented in the introductory Industry Overview
section, including size of the industry, key segments, and other "lay
of the land" data. Reviewing this section provides an understanding of
the composition of the industry and the terminology used by participants
and analysts and allows readers to "walk the walk and talk the talk" of
the industries in which they are interested.
The Issue and Trend section includes data on industry revenue, trends
and forecasts, segment data,* growth drivers or reasons for declines,
opportunities and obstacles to growth, and commonly-used marketing tools
and techniques. Armed with insight about the industries into which they
sell, sales reps and managers are better able to make compelling presentations
and are more likely to be viewed as consultants or peers than they are
as mere "order takers." Likewise, readers who are considering entering
an industry find that decisions are easier to make once they have information
from inside the industry about the state of the industry.
Where average customer value and profit margin data is available from
industry sources, it is included in the Value of Products and Services
section. Where that data is unavailable, a sampling of the most commonly-offered
products and services in the industry (and their associated costs) is
provided to help sales reps make "return on investment" and "values and
benefits" sales calls.
The factors that are most crucial in the formula for success are provided
in the Critical Success Factors section to identify the tools to that
make successful companies successful. This information is helpful to sales
reps who sell into the industries profiled, as it allows them to be more
consultative in their sales presentations. Additionally, sales representatives
can better illustrate how their products and services might help ensure
their customers' success. Learning about success factors also provides
inspiration and motivation to businesses currently operating in the industry
by illustrating key characteristics that can help them succeed in the
To compile its reports,
Profile America conducts secondary research, gathering information from
a variety of sources -- including industry associations, trade publications
and newspapers, and governmental agencies. In addition, our reports include
anecdotal information and other observations collected during telephone
interviews that Profile America conducts among industry participants.
* When applicable and
“I used Quick-Learn Reports when I was in sales at Ameritech, and now I head up training for a direct marketing consultancy. The reports are instrumental in getting new sales reps up-to-speed on the dynamics of the businesses they’re designing programs for. Our customer-satisfaction surveys have revealed that customers are impressed with the professionalism of our reps and their recommendations for direct marketing campaigns. And our employee-satisfaction surveys show that reps appreciate these sales tools and use them to prepare for meetings with prospects – as well as to help create proposals.”
Vice President of Training and Development, direct marketing consulting firm