Info USA is a leading provider of sales and marketing support data. The company gathers data from multiple sources. including:
• 5,200 Yellow Page and Business White Page directories
• 17 million phone calls to verify information. Every business is called one to four times a year.
• County courthouse and Secretary of State data
• Leading business magazines and newspapers
• Annual reports
• IOKs and other SEe filings
• New business registrations and incorporation
• Postal service information, including National Change of Address, ZIP+4 carrier route. and Delivery Sequence file
Online, Internet, and offline databases may be further classified as bibliographic, numeric, full-text. directory, or special-purpose databases. Bibliographic databases are composed of citations to articles in journals, magazines, newspapers, marketing research studies, technical reports, government documents, and the like.20 They often provide summaries or abstracts of the material cited. Examples of bibliographic databases include ABlllnform and the Prcdicasts Terminal System.
Another bibliographic database, Management Contents, provided by the Dialog Corporation. was used to enhance the literature search in the department store patronage project
Numeric databases contain numerical and statistical information, such as survey and time-series data. Economic and industry data lend themselves to time-series presentations.which arc developed when the same variables are measured over time. Such data are particularly relevant for assessing market potential. making sales forecasts. or setting sales quotas. The American Statistics Index (ASI) provides abstracts and indexes of federal government statistical publications. Global Financial Data provides historical data on securities, dividends. and exchange rates.
Full-text databases contain the complete text of the source documents comprising the database. Text Information Systems, Inc., provides electronic full-text delivery and search capabilities for a number of newspapers (e.g., Washington Post, Boston Globe, Miami Herald). The LexisNexis service provides full-text access to hundreds of business databases, including selected newspapers, periodicals, company annual reports, and investment firm reports.
Directory databases provide information on individuals organizations and services. Economic Information Systems Inc through its database Non manufacturing Establishments, provides information on location, headquarters, name, percentage of industry sales, industry classification., and employment size class for about 200,000 non manufacturing establishments that employ 20 or more people. As another example, the national electronic Yellow Pages directories of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, professionals, and service organizations provide the names, addresses, and North American Industrial Classification codes of numerous organizations.
Directories of Databases
There are numerous sources of information on databases. Perhaps the best way to obtain information about databases is to consult a directory. The Gale Directory of Databases is published every six months. Volume I covers online databases and Volume 2 covers CD-ROMs and other offline databases. Some of the other useful directories that are periodically updated are
Syndicated Sources of Secondary Data
In addition to published data or data ‘available in the fonn of computerized databases, syndicated sources constitute the other major source of external secondary data. Syndicated services, also referred to as syndicated sources, are companies that collect and sell common pools of data of known commercial value, designed to serve information needs shared by a number of clients (see Chapter I). These data are not collected for the purpose of marketing research problems specific to individual clients, but the data and reports supplied to client companies can be personalized to fit particular needs. For example, reports could be organized on the basis of the clients’ sales territories or product lines. Using syndicated services is frequently less expensive than collecting primary data. Figure 4.4 presents a classification of syndicated services. Syndicated services can be classified based on the unit of measurement (households/ consumers or institutions). Household/consumer data may be obtained from surveys, purchase and media
panels, or electronic scanner services. Information obtained through surveys consists of values and lifestyles, advertising evaluation, or general information related to preferences. purchase, consumption, and other aspects of behavior. Panels emphasize information on purchases or media consumption. Electronic scanner services might provide scanner data only, scanner data linked to panels, or scanner data linked to panels and (cable) TV. When institutions are the unit of measurement, the data may be obtained from retailers, wholesalers, or industrial firms. An overview of the various syndicated sources is given in Table 4.3 on page 112. Each of these sources will be discussed.
Syndicated Data from Households
Various syndicated services regularly conduct surveys, which involve interviews with a large number of respondents using a predesigned questionnaire. Often these surveys are conducted on samples drawn from panels. Panels were discussed in Chapter 3 in the context of longitudinal research designs. Panels are samples of respondents who provide specified information at regular intervals over an extended period of time. These respondents may be organizations, households. or individuals, although household panels are most common. Comprehensive demographic, lifestyle, and product-ownership data are collected only once as each respondent is admitted into the panel. The panel is used as a respondent pool from which the research organization can draw either representative or targeted samples based on the relevant background characteristics of the panel members. Response rates to panel surveys, including mail panels. are substantially improved over the random sampling process because of the commitment panel members make to participate in surveys.
PSYCHO GRAPHICS AND LIFESTYLES Psycho graphics refer to the psychological profiles of individuals and to psychologically based measures of lifestyle. Lifestyles refer to the distinctive modes of living of a society or some of its segments. Together, these measures are generally referred to as Activities. Interests. and Opinions, or simply AI’s. The following example provides an application