Published data from outside the organization are external secondary data. The U.S. Census Bureau publishes a variety of useful reports. Best known is the Census 2000, which is a decennial count of the U.S. population containing detailed information on American households, such as the number of people per household and their age, sex, race/ethnic background, income, occupation, and education. Marketers use these data to identify characteristics and trends of ultimate consumers.
The Census Bureau also publishes other reports that are vital to business firms selling products and services to organizations. The Economic Census, which now encompasses the former U.S. Census of Manufacturers, U.S. Census of Retail Trade, and others, is conducted every five years. The 2002 Economic Census contains data on the number and size of establishments in the United States that produce a good or service on the basis of its North American Industry Classification (NAICS) and the new North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). The Current Industrial Reports are periodic studies that provide data on the production quantity and shipment value of selected products. Finally, trade associations, universities, and business periodicals provide detailed data of value to market researchers and planners. These data are now available online via the Internet, which can be identified and located using a search engine like Google. The Web Link provides examples.
Online Databases and Internet Resources Useful for Marketers
Information contained in online databases available via the Internet consists of indexes to articles in periodicals and statistical or financial data on markets, products, and organizations that are accessed either directly or via Internet search engines or portals through key word searches.
Online databases of indexes, abstracts, and full-text information from periodicals include:
• LexisNexis™ Academic (www.lexisnexis.com), which provides full-text documents from over 5,600 news, business, legal, and reference publications.
• ProQuest databases (www.proquest.com), which provide summaries of management, marketing, and other business articles from over 8,500 publishers.
Statistical and financial data on markets, products, and organizations include:
• Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com), Investor’s Business Daily (www.investors.com), and The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com), all providing up-to-the-minute business news and security prices plus research reports on companies, industries, and countries.
• FISonline (www.fisonline.com), which has created a database that contains information on over 28,000 companies worldwide (15,000 U.S. public companies and 20,000 non-U.S. public companies).
• STAT-USA (www.stat-usa.aov) from the Department of Commerce, which provides information on U.S. business, economic, and trade activity collected by the federal government.
Portals and search engines include:
• Firstgov.gov (www.firstgov.aov), a portal to all U.S. government websites. Users click on links to browse by topic or enter keywords for specific searches.
Some of these websites are accessible only if your educational institution has paid a subscription fee. To see if you can access these sites for free, check with your institution’s website.
A variety of marketing research organizations serves the needs of marketers. Specialized syndicated services provide a standard set of data on a regular basis, such as the Nielsen Media Research’s TV ratings or J. D. Powers with its automotive quality and customer satisfaction research. Other market research suppliers contract with clients to conduct complete marketing research projects.
Several data services provide comprehensive information on household demographics and lifestyle, product purchases, TV viewing behavior, and responses to coupon and free-sample promotions. Their principal advantage is the ability of one service to collect, analyze, interrelate, and present all this information. For consumer product firms like Procter & Gamble, sales data from various channels are critical to allocate scarce marketing resources. As a result, they use firms such as Information Resources’ Info-Scan and AC Nielsen’s ScanTrack to collect product sales and coupon/free-sample redemptions that have been scanned at the checkout counters of supermarket, drug, convenience, and mass merchandise retailers in the United States and other international markets. Campbell Soup, maker of Swanson frozen dinners, used the information from one of these single-source data providers to shift a TV ad campaign from a serious to a light theme, which increased sales of Swanson dinners by 14 percent.