Business markets and competitive landscapes are like sand—constantly shifting in ways both visible and obscure.
You can identify mirages, avoid getting lost in the desert, and find an oasis with timely, relevant intelligence on your markets and competitors from LAC Group.
LAC Group’s research and intelligence office in eastern Canada
We’ve been providing research and intelligence services for many years to law firms, corporations, non-profits, government agencies and other entities. Most of the people doing the CI (competitive intelligence) and MI (market intelligence) work are in Moncton, New Brunswick, including the following group. At the leading edge of North American time zones, our Moncton teams give clients throughout the US and Canada a jump-start on the business day.
The feedback we get from clients usually centers on:
- Our responsiveness and process for getting started and up-to-speed.
- How we make the most relevant information rise to the top and easily digestible.
- How we become a seamless extension and valuable resource to their teams.
And while stereotyping in general is a bad practice, this one we can’t resist—LAC Group’s Canadian employees truly are decent, polite people. This is not something clients require, but they greatly appreciate it none-the-less.
Connecting the dots for our clients
Intelligence is about separating the signal from the noise, which is a strong and unrelenting flow in most markets. It involves technology for a first cut, and then a sense of understanding through curiosity and analytical thinking.
The perspective of Senior Researcher Samantha Black says it well:
“I am a ‘connect the dots’ kind of person. I don’t just see a problem as linear or cut and dry. I see issues as dynamic, evolving, and cross-sectoral to spot trends and identify themes. Rather than looking at the puzzle pieces individually, I look for the entire picture to identify how they fit together.”
Because our market intelligence analysts conduct research across many industries, they can draw parallels that researchers working within a specific sector or company may not be able to see. And as part of a team, they call on each other for benchmarks and second opinions.
Meet some of LAC Group’s CI / MI researchers
As a senior researcher, Samantha leads complex, team-based research projects for clients in healthcare and life sciences, legal services, consumer goods, retail, media and advertising, natural resources and government. Her work usually involves research for market trends and other business analysis, legal and regulatory research, sustainability and lother substantive topics. Now and again she’ll get an offbeat request, like identifying all the different mascots for a junior hockey league in Canada.
Samantha also oversees content quality and gets involved in training and onboarding of team members. One of her tools for managing this variety of responsibilities is her mindfulness and meditation practice:
“While this may seem irrelevant to a client, these practices are highly applicable to research as they facilitate heightened focus, improved productivity, and analytical thinking.”
She knows how easy it is to veer off-course during the research process, and as an experienced researcher, she understands the value of taking a step back to consider how pertinent and important something is to the client.
Samantha holds a BA with Sociology Honours from St. Thomas University and MA in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University.
Adam researches topics and delivers insights to clients in search for specific or general market and competitive intelligence. His experience spans a wide range of industries including financial services, aerospace, defense, legal innovation, intellectual property laws and regulations and global trade. Growing and emerging sectors he covers include cannabis law and technology like cloud / desktop virtualization, mobility, cybersecurity and autonomous (self-driving) vehicles.
Sifting through information is enjoyable for Adam, who likes to figure out what information the client might need, before they realize they need it. As a market intelligence analyst, he scans huge volumes of news and information to help clients understand what’s going on in their industries:
“Most of our clients are doing interesting, innovative things and sifting through the information they need is a new learning experience.”
Adam holds a BA in English from the University of New Brunswick and his prior experience includes Newsroom Librarian and Column Writer for Times & Transcript, a Canadian newspaper serving eastern New Brunswick and News Analyst at Bowdens, now part of public relations and media services company Cision.
As a librarian by training and trade, Sophie has done a multitude of jobs in library settings, from directing a library, to developing collections, to leading story times. She has come up with one of the best descriptions for a librarian that we’ve seen:
“Being a librarian is more than holding any one position; it is a set of skills that I bring with me in whatever job I do, whether it’s client service, research, content curation or data collection. And in this job, I get to combine those skills with my other passions of reading and writing.”
Sophie enjoys the challenge of looking at situations from different perspectives and finding creative ways to solve problems. She has put that to work in industry-specific research and library collection development. Her ability to work well with others, to adapt to different situations, and to find common ground delivers additional value to clients.
Sophie earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University.
Before becoming a Research Manager at LAC Group, Mario worked as a senior editor and market intelligence analyst, serving mostly healthcare clients. His healthcare experience encompasses healthcare services and providers, health insurance, emergency medical services, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, US FDA regulations and Canadian provincial health councils.
For research related to health insurance companies, he likes Competiscan as a resource for information that he cannot locate elsewhere, Axios for news in bite-size pieces, and industry reports from the Big Four consulting / accounting firms.
Mario describes his role as being part of a private newsroom and outsourced research firm to provide clients with the information they need to stay ahead of the game in their industry. In working with clients, he has a teamwork attitude:
“In taking an approach where I feel I have a vested interest in providing the client with the best information I can to support their strategies, I can take some pride in seeing them succeed.”
Mario is a member of what he calls the Moncton office guild of employees who either have twins or are themselves a twin, and he’s also an accomplished amateur musician with a passion for creating music with friends, some of which has been pressed on vinyl. He holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Moncton.
Frank starts every research project with a preliminary scan to find the best results and understand the scope of the research, then filter his findings into separate sections that speak to each other to create a coherent flow.
His research career started in media monitoring and now focuses on researching specific companies and industries in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, communications, retail trade, finance, insurance, real estate, healthcare, life sciences, private equity, legal services and government. Topical research experience includes labor law, taxes, IP, litigation, technology, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cross-border and other transactions and corporate finance.
In describing the value that he and his colleagues deliver to clients, he says:
“We’re efficient and low maintenance; we don’t get distracted with minutia and we understand the bigger picture.”
This music lover and aspiring script writer earned his BA in English Literature from the University of Moncton.
As Research Associate, Sharole’s industry experience includes legal services, communications, finance, retail trade, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, publishing, real estate and advertising. Her projects have encompassed research for business and market strategy, litigation history, transactions and investments and intellectual property.
While Sharole finds sources like Pitchbook and Monitor Suite to be very reliable for financial and litigation data, she also feels that the most telling records can be found in publicly available news or social media, which add context. She is also familiar with obscure resources like public archives. She once searched for waste management technology trends by scanning a series of city hall meeting minutes from different cities:
“Even the public entries and records can tell an extensive tale, painting a picture to guide a client’s strategic approaches. I often joke at parties that I work as a polite investigator.”
She may have a dozen open tabs at any one time, but it’s always part of a methodical approach to make sense of the data and narrow down the information to tell a story about where they’ve been and where they’re headed.
Sharole holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Calgary.
Eric’s industry and client experience includes technologies like AI and 3D printing, retail, banking and finance, legal services, entertainment and media, institutional investors, pension funds and alternative investments. He also developed immigration, labor migration and public policy expertise as a former analyst at Donald J. Savoie Institute and Research Coordinator at both Pathways to Prosperity and the Atlantic Metropolis Centre.
Describing how he gets to the most relevant information,
“Not all information has the same value or level of credibility depending on what a client is asking. To keep from getting lost in the sea of information, I always keep in mind what the client is trying to achieve. I try to identify the most credible sources or the top recurring trends and then organize from there. The goal is to provide quality intelligence, not drown them with information.”
Eric’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and BA in Political Science from the University of Moncton, along with graduate studies in political science at the University of Ottawa.
Caterina brings her experience and credentials to both financial and legal clients. She was called to the Law Society of New Brunswick in 2012 and worked for the provincial securities regulator in different capacities, including policy coordinator and legal counsel. Her research experience includes general business research, corporate finance and securities regulation. She holds degrees in both journalism and law from the University of Ottawa. Like many Canadians, Caterina is bi-lingual in French and English and she completed her law degree in French.
Merrell is responsible for LAC Group’s intelligence products and services and all the teams in Moncton. He has over 25 years of experience providing strategic planning and policy support to business leaders and senior government officials, having served as a senior advisor to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as deputy staff director for the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Finding the best market intelligence skills
You may have noticed that many of our researchers and analysts come with journalism degrees and experience, which we have discovered to be an excellent foundation for market intelligence and most other information needs. Trained journalists are:
- Superior at framing and asking the right questions to get the best answers.
- Accustomed to meeting deadlines and remaining on-topic.
- Skilled at finding and reporting on the most critical, relevant information.
- Innately curious, aware and objective.
The client they support may be a health insurance company or a healthcare provider, a law firm or a bank, a high tech company or an association. Whatever the industry or topic, our researchers are your personal team of focused, investigative reporters.
Learn more by clicking on the related links below, or contact us to answer your specific questions or discuss your needs.