INTRODUCTION The design of the research project specifies both the data that are needed and how they are to be obtained. The first step in the data-collection process is to look for secondary data. These are data that were developed for some purpose other than for helping to solve the problem at hand. The data that are still needed after that search is completed will have to be developed specifically for the research project and are known as primary data. The secondary data that are available are relatively quick and inexpensive to obtain, especially now that computerized bibliographic search services and databases are available.
The various sources of the secondary data and how they can be obtained and used are described ahead. Most secondary data are generated by specialized firms and are sold to marketers to help them deal with a category of problems. Nielsen’s television ratings, which marketers use in making advertising decisions, are the best-known example. Many of these services, broadly categorized as audits, commercial surveys, and panels, allow some degree of customization and thus fall between secondary and primary data. These sources are treated in detail ahead.
An important source of primary data is survey research. The various types of surveys (personal, mail, computer, and telephone), are described ahead. Experiments are another important source of data for marketing research projects. The nature of experimentation, the types of experimental designs, and the uses and limitations of this method of obtaining data are also explained ahead. Experiments are conducted in either a laboratory setting (most advertising copy pretests) or in a field setting (test marketing).
Electronic and computer technologies have revolutionized both these environments, which are described later. SECONDARY DATA Secondary data is information gathered for purposes other than the completion of a research project. A variety of secondary information sources is available to the researcher gathering data on an industry, potential product applications and the market place. Secondary data is also used to gain initial insight into the research problem. The two major advantages of using secondary data in market research are time and cost savings. The secondary research process can be completed rapidly – generally in 2 to 3 week. Substantial useful secondary data can be collected in a matter of days by a skillful analyst. •When secondary data is available, the researcher need only locate the source of the data and extract the required information. •Secondary research is generally less expensive than primary research. The bulk of secondary research data gathering does not require the use of expensive, specialized, highly trained personnel. •Secondary research expenses are incurred by the originator of the information.
There are also a number of disadvantages of using secondary data. These include: •Secondary information pertinent to the research topic is either not available, or is only available in insufficient quantities. •Some secondary data may be of questionable accuracy and reliability. Even government publications and trade magazines statistics can be misleading. For example, many trade magazines survey their members to derive estimates of market size, market growth rate and purchasing patterns, then average out these results.
Often these statistics are merely average opinions based on less than 10% of their members. •Data may be in a different format or units than is required by the researcher. •Much secondary data is several years old and may not reflect the current market conditions. Trade journals and other publications often accept articles six months before appear in print. The research may have been done months or even years earlier. As a general rule, a thorough research of the secondary data should be undertaken prior to conducting primary research.
The secondary information will provide a useful background and will identify key questions and issues that will need to be addressed by the primary research. Secondary data is classified in terms of its source – either internal or external. Internal, or in-house data, is secondary information acquired within the organization where research is being carried out. External secondary data is obtained from outside sources. CLASSIFICATION OF SECONDARY DATA Internal Sources Of Secondary Data Internal sources can be classified into four broad categories: •accounting records •sales force reports miscellaneous records •internal experts Accounting Records The basis for accounting records concerned with sales is the sales invoice. The usual sales invoice has a sizable amount of information on it, which generally includes name of customer, location of customer, items ordered, quantities ordered, quantities shipped, dollar extensions, back orders, discounts allowed, date. The invoice often contains information on sales territory, sales representative, and warehouse of shipment. Sales Force Reports Sales force reports represent a rich and largely untapped potential source of marketing information.
Sales personnel do generally not report valuable marketing information. Sales personnel often lack the motivation and/or the means to communicate key information to marketing managers Miscellaneous Reports As a firm becomes more diversified, the more likely it is to conduct studies that may have relevance to problems in other areas of the firm. For example, P&G sells a variety of distinct products to identical or similar target markets. An analysis of the media habits conducted for one product could be very useful for a different product that appeals to the same target market.
Again, this requires an efficient marketing information system to ensure that those who need them can find the relevant reports. Internal Experts One of’ the most overlooked sources of internal secondary data is internal experts. An internal expert is anyone employed by the firm who has special knowledge. External Sources of Secondary Data Numerous sources external to the firm mav have data relevant to the firm’s requirements. Seven general categories of external secondary information are described in the sections that follow: •Computerized databases •Associations, •Government agencies, Syndicated services, •Directories, •Other published sources •External experts. Databases A computerized database is a collection of numeric data and/or information that is made computer-readable form for electronic distribution. There are than 3,500 databases available from over 550 on-line service enterprises. Those that are available that are useful in bibliographic search, site location, media planning, market planning, forecasting and for many other purposes of interest to marketing researchers. Associations An association means a group of people organized for a joint purpose.
Associations frequently publish or maintain detailed information on industry sales, operating characteristics, growth patterns, and the like. Furthermore, they may conduct special studies of factors relevant to their industry. These materials may be published in the form of annual reports, as part of a regular trade journal, or as special reports. In some cases, they are available only on request from the association Government Agencies Federal, state, and local government agencies produce a massive amount of data that are of relevance to marketers.
In this section, the nature of the data produced by the federal government is briefly described. However, the researcher should not overlook state and local government data These sources produce five broad types of data of interest to marketers. There are data on (1) population, housing, and income; (2) agricultural, industrial, and commercial product sales of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and service organisations; (3) financial and other characteristics of firms; (4) employment; and (5) miscellaneous reports. Syndicated Services A syndicate is a group of people or firms combining to achieve a common interest.
A wide array of data on both consumer and industrial markets is collected and sold by commercial organizations. Directories A directory is a book listing names, addresses and telephone numbers. Hence It provides the company name, address, telephone number, and an estimate of its asset size. It also contains an extensive trademark listing and samples of company catalogs. Other Published Sources There is a virtually endless array of periodicals, books, dissertations, special reports, newspapers, and the like that contain information relevant to marketing decisions. External Experts
External experts are individuals outside your organization whose job provides them with expertise on your industry or activity. State and government officials associated with the industry, trade association officials, editors and writers for trade and publications, financial analysts focusing on the industry, government and university researchers, and distributors often have expert knowledge relevant to marketing problems. MODERN WAYS OF DATA COLLECTION Brain Pickings Brain Pickings is for the idea people, those of us who believe that in order to improve or even fully understand a concept, we have to first understand ll the little pieces that surround it. Pieces across anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, religion, politics, philanthropy, art, physics, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, biology, you-name-itology. Pieces that make your original concept stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful. It’s a modest exercise in vision- and mind- expansion that will, at the very least, introduce you to new ideas and perspectives and, at its very best, help you think more, laugh more, do more. Be a better person.
Because a better person conceives of better, stronger, smarter, richer, deep, more impactful ideas — culturally, commercially and socially. And, on a very human level, isn’t that all there is? Use Of Internet Technology The Internet is the greatest tool in helping children and adults understand the why’s to almost anything in the world known to man as results usually come with pictures so people can understand far better by seeing something rather than reading about it. Students using the Internet and the World Wide Web will: Develop the technical skills required to use the Internet for communication and information gathering. * Acquire geographic awareness based on understanding the global nature of Internet connections and communications. * Improve their ability to learn and understand new and changing information technologies. * Learn to evaluate the validity of information acquired through Internet resources. * Learn to synthesize data acquired through the Internet into a meaningful whole. * Develop the skills required to rate information for relevence in meeting a specified need. Understand and know how to use at least one Web Browser. * Understand differences and similarities among search engines. * Understand how to use a variety of search engines. * Develop strategies for finding and evaluating new Internet growth and use. Observation Data can be collected in many ways. The simplest way is direct observation. Example: you might want to find out how many cars pass by a certain point on a road in a 10-minute interval. Then you simply stand at that point on the road, and count the cars that pass by in that interval. Survey One of the most common ways of collecting data is surveying.
A survey is often in the form of a questionnaire or a census; the data collected may be a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data. Another method of data collection is sampling. In this method, information about a large group is studied by gathering data about selected individual members of the group. Interviews Survey research is the systematic gathering of information from respondents for the purpose of understanding and/or predicting some aspect of the behavior of the population of interest. As the term is typically used, it implies that the information has been gathered with some version of a questionnaire.
The administration of a questionnaire to an individual or group of individuals is called interview. Types Of Interviews Interviews are classified according to their degree of structure and directness Structured And Unstructured Interviews Structure refers to the amount of freedom the interviewer has in altering the questionnaire to meet the, unique situation posed by each interview Direct and Indirect Interviews Directness involves the extent to which the respondent is aware of (or is likely to be aware of) the nature and purpose of the survey.