Sources of published external secondary data include federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit organizations (e.g., Chambers of Commerce), trade associations and professional organizations. commercial publishers, investment brokerage firms. and professional marketing research firms. In fact, so much data are available that the researcher can be overwhelmed . Therefore, it is important to classify published sources. (See Figure 4.2.) Published external
sources may be broadly classified as general business data or government data. General business sources are comprised of guides, directories, indexes, and statistical data. Government sources may be broadly categorized as census data and other publications
General Business Data
Businesses publish a lot of information in the form of books, periodicals. journals, newspapers, magazines, reports, and trade literature. Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s provide information on U.S. and foreign companies. Another useful source for industrial brand and trade information is Thomas Net Valuable marketing and marketing research information may be obtained from A variety of business-related sites can provide sales leads, mailing lists, business profiles, and credit ratings for American businesses. Many sites supply information on businesses within a specific industry. For example, you can gain access to the full-text American Demographics and Marketing Tools publications at All of
American Marketing Association’s publications can be searched by using keywords at cyclopedia Britannica provides free online access to the entire 32 volumes Data on American manufacturers and key decision makers can be obtained from Harris Info Source Another good source is USA Data Guides, indexes, and directories can help in locating information available from general business sources. Sources are also available for identifying statistical data. A brief description of each of these resource categories follows.
DIREaORIES Directories are helpful for identifying individuals or organizations that collect specific data. Some of the important directories include Directories in Print, Consultants and Consulting Organizations Directory, Encyclopedia of Associations, FINDEX: The Directory of Market Research Reports, Fortune 500 Directory, Million Dollar Directory: Leading Public and Private Companies, Standard Directory of Advertisers, and Thomas Register of American Manufacturers. You can also find directories on the Internet, for example the Google directory at
tNDEXES It is possible to locate information on a particular topic in several different publications by using an index. Indexes can, therefore, increase the efficiency of the search process. You can also find indexes on the Internet, for example the Librarian’s Internet Index at Resource Index contains sites for competitive intelligence information. Several were used in the department store project
In addition to reviewing the theoretical literature, as discussed in Chapter 2. it was also necessary to identify the nonacademic sources of secondary data related to the factors considered in selecting department stores and other aspects of store patronage. The Business Periodical Index, the Wall Street Joumal Index, and the New York Times Index were used to generate a list of relevant articles that had appeared in the lasrfive years. The Business Periodical Index classifies articles by specific industries and firms. making ~t easy to locate articles of interest. Several articles obtained in this manner proved useful. One pointed to the tendency of people to combine shopping with eating out.Therefore, as discussed in Chapter 2. a specific research question was framed to investigate this behavior
Identify the sources of secondary data that will help Sears do the following
1. Increase penetration of the Hispanic population.
2. Project domestic retail sales growth to the year 2015.
3. Identify the impact of lifestyle changes on department store sales.
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of Sears’ advertising
As illustrated by this example, indexes greatly facilitate a directed search of the relevant literature. Several indexes are available for both academic and business sources. Some of the more useful business indexes are Business Periodical Index, Business Index, Predicasts F & S Index: United States, Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Wall Street Journal Index
American business information can be obtained by visiting various business-related sites that provide sales leads and mailing lists, business profiles/and credit ratings. You can find reports on different industries at research firms’ sites, such as and to name a few. However, other general publications also publish rese-rch results, such as and
The U.S. government also produces large amounts of secondary data. Its publications may be divided into census data and other publications.
CENSUS DATA The U.S. Bureau of the Census is the world’s largest source of statistical data. Its monthly catalog lists and describes its various publications.’? More convenient, however, is the Guide to Economic Census. Cen. us data are useful in a variety of marketing research projects. The demographic data collected by the Census Bureau includes information about household types, sex, age, marital status, and race. Consumption detail related to automobile ownership, housing characteristics, work status, and practices as well as occupations are just a few of the categories of information available. What makes this demographic information particularly valuable to marketers is that these data can be geographically categorized at various levels of detail. These data can be summarized at various levels: city block, block group, census tract, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), consolidated metropolitan statistical area (CMSA), region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West). or they can be aggregated for the nation as a whole. Census tracts have a population of more than 4,000 and we defined by local communities. In urban areas, the MSAs have a population of at least 50,000 and comprise counties containing a central city. In addition, census data are available by civil divisions, such as wards, cities, counties, and states.
The quality Of census data is high and the data are often extremely detailed. Furthermore, one can purchase computer tapes or diskettes from the Bureau of the Census for a nominal fee and recast this information in a desired tormat.’! Many private sources update the census data at a detailed geographic level for the between-census years.l” Important census data include Census of Housing, Census of Manufacturers, Census of Population, Census of Retail Trade, Census of Service Industries, and Census of Wholesale Trade
The Changing Color of the American Marketplace
According to Census 2000. there are 105.5 million households within the United States that included 281.4 million people. Census 2000 revealed a great deal on the makeup of our population, including that 3.6 percent is Asian American, 12.3 percent is African American, and 125 percent is Hispanic American, This means that there are more than 10.2 million Asian Americans, more than 34.7.million African Americans, and more than 35.3 million Hispanic Americans living within the United States. In 2009, in some areas the minorities indeed comprised the majority of the population. From 2000 to 2010, the minority groups are expected to grow at a much faster pace than the rest of the population
Such a dramatic difference in growth seriously changes the retailinglandscape. Marketing companies must embrace these trends and determine how to best configure their marketing mix to meet the needs of these varying cultures. Their inclusion in the research process and marketing plans will be crucial to the long-term success of many organizations
Extensive business statistics can be obtained from FedStats and Stat-USA from more than 100 agencies. The U.S. Department of Commerce can be reached at The Bureau of Census information can be reached via the Department of Commerce or directly at The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides useful information, especially Consumer Expenditure Surveys Awide range of economic statistics can be obtained from the Bureau of Economic Analysis information about public companies can be obtained from the EDGAR Database of Corporate Information that contains SEC filings .A Information about small businesses can be obtained at Two of the most useful sources for locating government organizations are the U.S. Government Manual and the Congressional Directory; both can be located at these government sites can provide valuable information to the marketing researcher
U.S. Census Bureau
The 2000 census of the United States provides insight into the demographic profile of not only the United States in full. but also smaller U.S. regions, such as states and MSAs. Go to the home page for the U.S. Census Bureau and do the following:
1. Find the populauon clocks on the U.S. Census Bureau’s home page. What is the current population estimate for the United States? For the world?
2. Find “state and county quick facts.” Compare your home state’s “population percentage change from 1990 10 2000” with that ufthe United States in full. Which grew faster?
3. Find out how many “singles without children living at home” were counted in your zip code in the 2000 census. Look on the left side of the home page, select “American FactFinder,” and follow the steps shown
Most published information is also available in the form of computerized databases
Computerized databases consist of information that has been made available in computer-readable form for electronic distribution. In the number of databases, as well as the vendors providing these services. has grown phenomenally.l? Thus, a classification of computerized databases is helpfull
Classification of Computerized Databases
Computerized databases may be classified as online, Internet, or offline, as shown in Figure 4.3. Online databases consist of a central data bank, which is accessed with a computer via
a telecommunications network. Internet databases can be accessed, searched, and analyzed on the Internet. It is also possible to download data from the Internet and store it in the computer or an auxiliary storage device.!? Offline databases make the information available on diskettes and CDROM disks. Thus, offline databases can be accessed at the user’s location without the use of an external telecommunications network. For example. the U.S. Bureau of the Census makes computer data files available on CD-ROM disks. These disks contain detailed information organized by census track or zip code. In the department store patronage project, this type of information was used in sample selecrion.P As indicated by the following example. several vendors are providing data in various forms.