Kent Furst has written 50 industry studies on a wide variety of topics during the last 14 years at The Freedonia Group. He currently manages a group of analysts who focus on the chemicals industry. He holds a B.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.
Kent has been quoted in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to a number of trade journals. He has been a regular speaker at the International Silicones Conference over the last seven years, and he’s also spoken at the Plastic Caps & Closures conference.
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Kent and his approach to industry analysis.
What is your favorite part of the study writing process?
My favorite part of study writing is determining company market share and sales. It’s like detective work — digging through company financial reports and presentations, using bits and pieces of information from many different sources. It’s something Freedonia is really good at.
What is your favorite study that you’ve worked on?
I enjoyed researching 3D printing, and I wrote a few studies on bioplastics that were a lot of fun. With new, small, emerging industries such as 3D printing and bioplastics, there is a lot of hype and speculation out there about the potential for growth. I find it really enjoyable to take a deep dive into these emerging markets and cut through all of the hype. Is the growth potential for real? Why or why not?
What role do economists play in the research process?
The Economics Department is a crucial part of industry studies, and one of the things that makes Freedonia unique. The macroeconomic and industry-specific data that they produce forms the basis for the numbers in our studies and helps ensure that our forecasts are reasonable relative to key economic indicators.
What do you wish clients knew about the work you do?
I wish they could see all the steps that go into the production of an industry study: the extensive planning process, the complex spreadsheets and forecast models, the rigorous reviews, the multiple rounds of editing and quality control.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about market research?
The biggest misconception is that market research is easy. Some people think that all market research is the same, or that they could do a better job within their own company. If they understood all the work that goes into producing high-quality market research, they’d realize that it’s not easy at all.
I talked to a person at a conference once who had this exact experience. His company had a market research project that they thought would be simple to handle in-house, and soon realized that it was far more complicated and difficult than they expected. He had a great deal of appreciation for the type of work we do at Freedonia.
What studies have you worked on recently?
I'm currently managing projects on pressure sensitive tapes, membrane separation, and specialty films.
The Freedonia Group, a division of MarketResearch.com, is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985, Freedonia has provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning.