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How to Conduct Industry Research: An Introductory Writing Guide

Industry research outlines the key internal and external factors that influence an industry. This is essential information for companies that operate in dynamic ever changing industries. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, analyst, consultant, or marketer, industry research is an extremely valuable tool. But with so much information available, where do you begin? In this article, we’ll explore the importance of industry research, how to compile a typical industry research report and how to use genei for an efficient research and write-up experience.

What is Industry Research?

Industry research (or analysis) is the process of collecting information related to a specific industry, and the factors that influence it, such as economic, market, political or financial factors. In particular, industry research is a tool for companies to see where they stand within their current industry or niche in relation to their competitors. 

This provides insight into what's happening within industry, such as supply and demand, degree and extent of the competition both inside and outside of the industry, and the future threats or opportunities that might exist. Through industry research, companies can develop an understanding of the internal and external factors influencing their industry and in turn, this presents an overview of how the industry operates at present and will operate in the future. 

Why is Industry Research Important?

The dynamics of any industry is ever changing which means companies need to adjust accordingly. Industry research is an important and valuable tool that provides a framework for making informed business or market decisions. Although industry research reports can become outdated within days or weeks, they provide key summaries of the industry that have a number of benefits for companies. For example, industry research can support strategic business planning for sales and marketing, and determine performance benchmarks to see whether a company is performing above or below competitors. 

Additionally, industry research can highlight current or past trends within an industry, which outlines the potential opportunities or threats that can arise for the company. This information can forecast supply and demand, and consequently, the potential financial returns. All of which are important for stakeholders, who would be interested in knowing how they benefit from investing in a company, and the likelihood of a return of their investment. Likewise, understanding the current state of an industry can indicate whether it is still growing or has reached a point of saturation. Finally, this research could present new market opportunities, which is beneficial if a current industry sub-section begins to seem oversaturated. 

How to Structure Industry Research Reports

Industry research findings are often compiled into a written report that provides a clear and concise summary of your findings and their indications. A typical report would include the following sections: 

  • Introduction: This begins with a concise overview of the industry, followed by trends, such as the industries growth potential, or historical data. In this section, other information would include the key influencing factors, competitors, competitive strategy, and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. The purpose is to introduce the key trends based on current and historical data, followed by competitors and how they operate. You might include similar products or services here. 

  • Aim: This indicates the purpose of your industry research or analysis. This would include the questions you asked, and the context in which you were researching.  Not only will this help when writing the report by ensuring you stay on track, but also make this clear to those who read your report. 

  • Data and Analytical Presentation: In this section, you’re sharing the data you collected in words and aiding this with graphs, charts and the key reference points used. Here, you’ll make use of financial and industry data to forecast growth, or fluctuations and highlight projections. For example, you might predict an industry's growth potential, or income projections based on your competitors. 

  • Analysis: The data and information from the introduction can be used to answer the questions and context outlined in your aims. This is essentially your findings section that brings everything together. 

  • Future: In this section, you can outline the long and short term impact indicated by the findings, and address future challenges that may arise. A good and popular framework to implement here is Porter’s Five Forces Model which highlights industry competition and the effects this will have.  

  • Summary: The report should end strong with a 3-4 sentence summary of the entire report, 

How to Conduct and Compile Industry Research with genei

First, it’s important to determine the goal behind your research. As with any type of research, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the range of information available, which is why having clear goals to guide the process is essential. This stage can be considered preliminary research and might consist of identifying which category or subcategory of the industry you will focus on. You can review available documentation for a general overview and to guide your goals. For goals, you might decide to focus on demand and supply metrics, analysing competitors, industry trends or forecasting future trends.  At this stage, you can begin thinking about what information is out there, what questions you want to ask, and the outcomes you hope to achieve. 

After outlining clear goals, you can begin to collect your data. This will depend on the type of information you need but your material could include journal articles, industry news in leading magazines, or newspapers and industry overviews, research or analysis reports. These might be slightly outdated but can provide a good overview of the industry so far. For competitor focused research, you might examine public financial data, alongside company websites, promotional materials and advertisements. Additionally, you can make use of marketing reports, and public statistics. 

Now, with your goals outlined and materials gathered, it’s time to begin reading and organising the information to compile a report. From research to write-up, genei - an AI-powered summarisation and note-taking tool - can make this process more efficient. In genei, you can organise and store your reading material, make it through your sources 70% faster and begin your write-up with a few clicks. Here’s some steps to get you started: 

  • Organise reading material into projects and folders. This makes storing and organising reading material easy, and you can track your progress by marking items as ‘read’. 

  • Import web page URLs or PDF files into your newly assigned projects and folders. Alternatively, you can search for new material using keywords and topics with genei’s search feature. 

  • Use AI-powered summarisation to read through the document. In the overview section, you can see an overview of the content, AI-generated summaries, and frequently used keywords. In addition, you’ll be able to see any graphs, tables, figures and images from the document, alongside a list of links and references that you can further explore. This makes it easy to begin identifying relevant information for your report, key ideas, and any trends. 

  • Create notes across single documents or an entire project folder. The AI-generated summaries and keywords can be added to genei’s notepad with the click of a button. This allows you to quickly begin compiling notes relevant to your industry research needs. You can also highlight sections and add them directly to your notepad, or have them summarised before adding. By clicking on the notes, you can view where the information originated from and read further, so you never have to worry about losing track of your sources. 

  • Organise your material and write-up in the notepad. The notepad screen can be expanded for a minimal yet functional writing experience. Here, you can begin to add headers, and organise your summarised notes accordingly. Moreover, you can add your own notes and thoughts into the notepad, and link them to text in your documents. You can then copy and paste this into a word document to continue refining your report. 

  • For an improved writing and research experience, genei pro members have access to GPT-3 powered note-taking features that will rephrase, summarise and expand text in your notepad. Another useful feature for pro members is ‘multi document summarisation’ which produces a summary of a range of documents based on the specified topic or keyword. 

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