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2.5: Marketing Data Sources

  • Page ID
    16490
  • What you’ll learn to do: Identify major sources of available marketing data

    Marketing information and research are powerful tools to improve your understanding of your customers, competitors, and the industry and market in which you work. In today’s information-rich world, many great sources of marketing data are already available. Knowing what they are and how to find them is a great skill for any marketer.

    Marketing Information: Where the Data Are

    Photo of a woman's hands on a laptop keyboard; the word GOOGLE is on the screen.

    Earlier sections of this module alluded to excellent sources of marketing data, many of which are freely available or carry minimal cost. Others are well-respected commercial sources of marketing data and customer insights. This reading provides an overview of useful go-to data sources that marketers should know about, should the occasion arise to use them. The data sources recommended below are a representative sampling, rather than a complete list.

    It is also worth noting that the marketing information landscape is continually changing. Marketers would be well served to continually scan for new developments and information sources that may be beneficial to improve their understanding of customers and ways of serving them.

    Publicly Available Data Sources

    Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and non-governmental organizations often publish freely available data that may inform marketers’ understanding of consumers, customers, the geographies, and industry sectors where they operate. Great information sources include the following:

    Government and non-profit organization websites that provide data
    Data Source Website Description 
    Data.gov A centralized portal for open data available from the U.S. government on a wide variety of topics. Helpful for finding government data that you know exist somewhere, but you aren’t sure which agency maintains it.
    FedStats A U.S. government-maintained Web site that provides access to a wide variety of statistical data published by the federal government. Also helpful for finding data that you know exist somewhere, but you aren’t sure which agency maintains it.
    Google Public Data Directory A directory of publicly-available data sources from around the world.
    Google Trends A search tool for exploring search volume for any term used in a Google search.
    Pew Research Center Public opinion and research reports from a non-partisan, American think tank. Freely available research covers social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world
    U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Data published by the federal government about economic indicators for the economy as a whole, as well as specific industries and economic sectors.
    U.S. Census Bureau Data Demographic and geographic information about the population of the United States.
    U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) General Business Data and Statistics A collection of data about the U.S. economy, industries, businesses and the general population, developed with business users in mind.
    United Nations UNdata A data service of the United Nations that provides centralized access to a wide variety of U.N.-maintained data sets such as demographics, socioeconomic status and development indicators for nations around the world.
    World Bank Data Economic data and economic development indicators for 100+ countries around the world.
    World Trade Organization (WTO) Data Information about international trade and tariffs and the regulatory environment for 100+ WTO member countries.

    Syndicated Marketing Research Data

    A number of commercial companies provide syndicated marketing research that is well respected and often well used by organizations that subscribe to their services. A sampling of these services is provided below:

    Commercial companies that provide market research services
    Marketing Research Company Description
    Acxiom Extensive consumer datasets containing demographic, purchasing, credit, and other information companies can map to their own customer and prospect data for research, marketing analytics, and marketing campaign execution.
    Experian Extensive consumer datasets containing demographic, purchasing, credit, and other information that companies can map to their own consumer and prospect data for research, marketing analytics, and marketing campaign execution.
    Ipsos The Affluent Survey USA is an annual survey tracking media and consumer spending habits of U.S. households in the top 20% income level.
    IRI Point-of-sale data linked to household panel purchasing data, providing detail around sales, pricing, promotion and market share for a variety of consumer products.
    Media Audit Audience demographics and media consumption profiles for 100+ media markets in the U.S.
    MRI Simmons (formerly GfK MRI and MediaMark) Extensive datasets around multimedia audience research and measurement.
    Nielsen Point-of-sale data linked to household panel purchasing data, providing detail around sales, pricing, promotion and market share for a variety of consumer products. Datasets to support popular lifestyle and behavioral segmentation systems such as PRIZM.
    Roper Center for Public Opinion Research Database of public opinion and polling questions exploring many aspects of American life, including contemporary data as well as polling data dating back to the 1930s.
    Yankelovich MONITOR provides long-running syndicated research about consumer values, attitudes, and trends.

    Other Useful Sources for Marketing Data

    These additional sources for other types of marketing information are also warrant attention. Whether or not marketers use them, they should be aware of these tools and how they can be useful for a variety of marketing purposes.

    Miscellaneous sources for marketing data
    Marketing Information Source Description
    Google Analytics Detailed analytics, statistics and insights about Web site traffic, usability and sales effectiveness. Free and premium services available.
    LexisNexis Searchable source for full-text articles from regional, national and international newspapers, government documents, and many legal, medical and business publications.
    Statista A subscription-based statistics portal, providing searchable access to many original sources of market, industry, and business data.
    CC licensed content, Original
    • Marketing Information: Where the Data Are. Authored by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
    • Introduction to Marketing Data Sources. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
    CC licensed content, Shared previously