Market Research Program

Could your business use an analysis of how a future product will perform in the market?  Have you struggled with really reaching your customers?  Does your community really understand the needs and wants of the citizens?

The UNK Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development has an array of services available to Nebraska businesses and communities to help them not just survive but THRIVE!

Would you like the Center to visit your community or business for a personalized presentation? Shawn Kaskie, Center Director, recently presented a program on resources for the small town business and non-profit organization. Click here for a .pdf file of the presentation slides.

Professional Services

Professional Facilities

Our newly opened Global Market Research Lab includes a multi-purpose room equipped with a LARGE conference table for up to 14 people, teleconferencing equipment, a Smart board and projection system and internet connection. The adjoining room includes one-way observation windows, telephones and internet ready laptops to complete the infrastructure for nearly every type of research imaginable!

Smart Board TechnologyFocus GroupsPhone and Internet Surveys

With our regional partners, Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), Nebraska Economic Development Districts, NPPD (electric utility), Chambers of Commerce, and many others, we are committed to helping our residents start, improve and expand their businesses in rural Nebraska.
Market research and survey services are available for practically every industry and market sector. From private-owned companies (small and large) to governmental entities to non-profit organizations, if there’s something you need to know, chances are the Center can help you gather the data through either primary or secondary methods or BOTH!

Our newly opened Global Market Research Lab is a state-of-the-art facility with smart-board presentation technology. Uses include focus group sessions, phone and internet surveys and product sample testing. The Global Market Research Lab is available by appointment through the Center at UNK’s College of Business & Technology.


Our work is customized to meet the client’s specific needs. Before estimating the price of any particular service, we want to understand your needs in some detail. As a University Center, our motive is your success and results, rather than profit.
Whether by e-mail, by phone, or in person, an initial consultation (free of charge) will allow us to give you an estimate based on cost recovery. Often we are able to suggest alternative approaches to help you keep costs to a minimum.

The center provides many resources to help future students, current students, alumni, and industry including:

  • Market research projects that give students real-world training while helping industry solve real problems
  • Focus groups to determine needs of regional entrepreneurs
  • Market research speakers that teach new approaches to help advance the profession
  • Networking opportunities to help match students and alumni to career opportunities
  • Market Research Portal: vast array of market research information
  • Community Needs Assessments: New requests, selected completed community reports

We partner with Nebraska Economic Development Districts and Public Power Districts to bring a more complete menu of services. Please check back often for updates and more information. In the meantime, please call Shawn Kaskie at 308-865-8135 to discuss your current needs and questions.

The Nebraska Business Development Center is also housed in the West Center building at UNK and is a valuable source of information and services to Nebraska businesses.

Why is Market Research important to Nebraska?

The University of Nebraska of Kearney serves the Third Congressional District of Nebraska, an area encompassing eighty percent (80%) of western Nebraska, but where forty-percent (40%) of Nebraskans live. Even though the Agriculture Industry and the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities Industry account for most of the economic stability of the region, a recent study conducted by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development suggested that this region target the following industries for development: processed food, heavy machinery, transportation and logistics, information services, bioscience and medical technology, hospitality and tourism, and health services.

Unfortunately, the identification of the possibilities of the region and the knowledge and resources available to create new ventures with new jobs at higher salaries are at variance in Nebraska. Market Research, especially market research combined with Geographic Information System technology, is a valuable tool to use to identify economic potential when businesses flounder, large numbers of workers lose their jobs because of a plant closing, or recently graduated post-secondary students are looking for career jobs.

Free Market Research Resources

General Sites
Business, Demographics, and Economic Statistics
Export and Trade Information

Market Research-General
Market Research-Primary Research
Company and Industry Information

The following list was originally prepared by Christine Hamilton-Pennell, Business/Industry Affairs Department, City of Littleton, January 2005. Additions have been made since January 2005.

General Sites

The Gallup Organization, contains links to various polls, reports, trends and audits of public opinion conducted by The Gallup Organization. The main page and the "Gallup Poll" link contain the majority of the useful free information. The site contains a search function. You can subscribe to the full content of the site for $95 a year.

National Center for Health Statistics is the Federal Government's principal vital and health statistics agency. It includes healthcare industry trends as well as information about vital statistics and topics such as health insurance coverage.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) contains a searchable list of 2012 NAICS codes (with links to definitions), as well as tables showing changes between 2007 and 2012. NAICS was developed jointly by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to provide new comparability in statistics about business activity across North America and has replaces the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

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Business, Demographics and Economic Statistics

Statistical Resources on the Web from the University of Michigan Documents Center, is and annotated index to statistical websites and individual statistical publications arranged by broad subject category. Subjects covered include agriculture, business and industry, consumers, cost of living, demographics, economics, education, energy, environment, finance and currency, foreign economics, foreign governments, foreign trade, U.S. government finances, health, housing, labor, military, politics, science, sociology, transportation, and weather.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), offers information on such key issues as U.S. economic growth, regional economic development, and the position of the United States in the world economy. BEA's National Income and Product Accounts provides "an aggregated view of the final uses of the Nation's output and the income derived from it's production; two of it's most widely known measures are gross domestic product (GDP) and gross domestic income (GDI). BEA also prepares estimates of the Nation's stock of fixed assets and consumer durable goods."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data includes time-series data covering employment, prices and living conditions, compensation and living conditions, and productivity and technology.

U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs provides economic statistics by geography, sector (e.g. construction, retail trade, and transportation), and frequency. The site includes the Economic Census, which profiles American business every five years, from the national to the local level. You'll also find statistics on county business patterns, e-commerce, foreign trade, monthly wholesale and retail trade, and many other economics topics.

USA Today Money provides daily updates on domestic and world markets, treasury securities, commodities, currencies, key interest rates, and other economic indicators.

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Export and Trade Information Financing Resources

International Telecommunication Union offers free electronic copies of its reports and free statistics such as telephone lines by country, number of PCs per country, and telecommunications indicators. allows you to graphically compare economic and demographic statistics among nations. "NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, United Nations, World Health Organization, World Back, World Resources Institute, UNESCO, UNICEF and OECD. Using the form above, you can generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics with ease."

National Statistics "provides a broad and comprehensive range of foreign trade statistics that are available on a monthly, annual, and historical basis. This includes information on up to 18,000 import commodity codes, 9,000 export commodity codes, 240 U.S. trading partners, 400 U.S. ports, over 50 states and territories, and 45 districts. Some of the statistics include quantities, values, shipping weights, methods of transportation (air or vessel), duties collected, unit prices, and market share."

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Market Research - General Sources

Condensed Guide to Market Research from Informa Research Services, provides an overview of market research, including data collection techniques, available research methodologies, and when to conduct research. Market Research has a collection of articles about market research, including low-budget suggestions for conducting your own market research.

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Market Research - Primary Research

Focus Groups: A Facilitator's Guide is a PDF file form the University of Wisconsin-Madison that contains helpful information on setting up and facilitating focus groups.

Another useful resource on the site is the PDF file, Focus Groups: When and Why to Use.

UNESCO Internal Oversight Service- Evaluation Manual offers basic information about how to evaluate a program or services and includes questions to ask at each stage of an evaluation exercise, a guide to the preparation of questionnaires, a guide to the preparation and conduct of group interviews, and a glossary. Please note this link does not go directly to the manual, however the list of evaluations is quite helpful.

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Company and Industry Information "is the most complete and up to date listing of Annual Reports online. We are America's largest report service. Our directory is a free Internet service that will enable potential investors to review a company's annual report in an easy, convenient manner. This free service provides access to annual reports in their actual format." offers free brief information about companies, as well as news and industry information. For most companies, you can access a description of the company, sales revenues, and key personnel. To access the in-depth information (financials, executive profiles, competitors) you must purchase a subscription, which ranges in price depending on the type of organization and number of users. Business Filings Database is a helpful compendium of annotated links by state to corporate and business filings available online. "All 50 states make some level of corporate and business filings available online. In a few instances only limited information (such as name availability) is retrievable. The majority of the states, however, use their Web presence to disseminate a range of public business records -- and most of them offer access at no charge."

NFIB.comprovides "Small Business Sales: 6 Strategies for Prospecting," and Forbes has updated the Rules for Prospecting in the Age of the Customer.

SEC Filings and Forms (EDGAR) provides free access to U.S. corporate filings. All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. The website offers links to the complete list of filings available through EDGAR and provides instructions for searching the EDGAR database. is an industrial search engine that provides information on more than 650,000 manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. You can search for product information by category or name; for example, glass bottles or fence posts. You can also search for company information by region or for the entire United States and Canada, and for information by brand name. Other options include millions of CAD drawings, a radius search from a specific location, and company certification information. The website is free.

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This is a more current list of free resources compiled by Gwen Moran and published on Entrepreneur website, Dec. 15, 2011.

Before Darlene Tenes, founder of CasaQ in San Jose, Calif., sinks a lot of money into new designs for Christmas ornaments, she sends sketches to retail and wholesale clients. They report back through questionnaires she creates on the online research service SurveyMonkey, and their reactions influence which designs become decorations.

"If you have four choices and there's a strong reaction [like] 'I love it. I would absolutely buy it,' then you know it's a seller," says Tenes, whose ornaments and other products reflect Hispanic culture.

SurveyMonkey is only one of a wealth of free tools and resources that can help you gather valuable market-research information. Here are eight you should consider:

Survey Monkey Basic,
Cost:Free. Enhanced plans with additional services run up to $65 per month.
What It Is: An online survey and opinion poll service.
How to Use It:You can creative surveys free of charge for your own audience. For a fee, you also can get feedback from your target audience via SurveyMonkey's own samples.
Get the Most Out of It: Beyond the answers to survey questions, respondents may provide additional insight in their open-ended comments.

Brandow Co.
Camp Hill, Pa.
Cost: Free.
What It Is:Free business statistics and financial data for various industries.
How to Use It: The various filters help you find financial information about other companies in your field that are of similar size. The site also provides calculators and others tools to help you understand profit-risk ratios, cost of goods sold and valuation factors for your business.
Get the Most Out of It: Use BizStats to see the revenue potential for your startup and to determine how much you should be spending on advertising. You also can compare your inventory turnover with that of your competitors.

Related: Five Affordable Consumer Research Tools

Securities and Exchange Commission Filings
Securities and Exchange Commission
Washington, D.C.
Cost: Free.
What It Is: Periodic filings by public companies to comply with SEC regulations.
How to Use It: The SEC's EDGAR tool can search annual reports and 10-K forms, which provide detailed financial information and market analyses.
Get the Most Out of It: Market research expert Marcy Phelps suggests zeroing in on the sections of 10-Ks that include the description of the business, the management discussion and market risks.

Zoom Prospector
GIS Planning
San Francisco
Cost: Free.
What It Is: This online tool helps companies choose the best locations for their facilities based on market data provided by a network of communities.
How to Use It: Answer questions about your market, type of business and real estate needs, and ZoomProspector will provide a list of locations it deems best for you.
Get the Most Out of It: Be sure you understand the demographic profile of your target customers so your business will be matched with areas that offer the most promising prospects.
Moody's Analytics
West Chester, Pa.
Cost: Free. Registration required.
What It Is: Economic, demographic and financial data.
How to Use It: The data, covering everything from consumer and labor markets to gross domestic product and inventory ratios, will give you insight into economic and population trends.
Get the Most Out of It: Check out the reports on 387 regions, including gross metropolitan product, migration flows, population and descriptions of the area's characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.

Related: A New Way to Crowdsource Customer Feedback

Hoover's Free Edition
Hoover's, a unit of Dun & Bradstreet
Austin, Texas
Cost: Basic profiles are free. Pay-as-you-go options are available for in-depth reports and lead generation.
What It Is: A searchable collection of business profiles, including financial data, key personnel and an overview of the company and its markets.
How to Use It: Search for key business-to-business prospects and competitors to get hard-to-find data, including information on privately held companies.
Get the Most Out of It: It isn't free, but Hoover's Lead Builder promises to deliver B2B leads matching your criteria for as little as 34 cents each.
U.S. Census Bureau
Washington, D.C.
Cost: Basic profiles are free. Pay-as-you-go options available for more in-depth information.
What It Is: Data from the U.S. Census.
How to Use It: Enter terms into the search box on the main page or head right to the page of the Small Business Ombudsman, where you can find demographic data, overviews of various industries, population statistics, regional economic data and much more. Also, check out American Fact Finder for hundreds of demographic, population and labor cost demographics.
Get the Most Out of It: If you have trouble finding what you need, the Small Business Ombudsman is available to help. Call 866-564-5431 or email

Kennesaw, Ga.
Cost: Free
What It Is: A scoring index of online influence and a tracker of social media topics.
How to Use It: Sign in with one of your social media accounts. Then you'll get a report that includes your online influence score -- a measure of your social media connections and how often your content is reposted -- as well as a list of influential social media users in your areas of interest. Topic searches reveal what people are saying online about your brand -- or just about anything else.
Get the Most Out of It: mPact provides tips on increasing your visibility and influence in the online world.