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Secondary Data
MKTG 3342
Fall 2008
Professor Edward Fox
Secondary Data - Overview
Secondary data are pieces of information
that have already been collected for a
different purpose, but may be relevant to
the research problems at hand. Primary
data, in contrast, are survey, observation,
or experimental data collected to address
the problem currently under
Secondary data are useful for addressing a
number of research questions, for example:
Estimating market potential
 Analyzing competitors
Hollywood stock exchange
 Sales forecasting
 Assessing industry trends
 Alerting the manager to potential problems
 Providing preliminary information to guide
subsequent primary data collection
Advantages of Secondary Data
Low Cost
 Less Effort
 More Timely
 Some info is available only from
secondary data sources; for example:
 Market
 Industry data from trade associations
Sources of Secondary Data
There are two key sources of secondary data:
The Company Itself
(Internal Databases)
Other Organizations or
(External Databases)
Internal Databases
Database Marketing
 Is
the creation of large computerized files of
customers’ and potential customers’ profiles
and/or purchase patterns.
 Is the fastest-growing use of internal
database technology.
External Sources of Secondary Data
Government publications – Census,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.
Trade Associations - Newsletters,
special reports, annual “state of the
industry” reports, etc.
Other publications - periodicals (e.g.,
WSJ, Fortune), annual reports,
Moody’s, Dun & Bradstreet
Computer retrievable databases
(syndicated) - Lexis/Nexis, scanner
Computer Retrievable
Sources of Secondary Data
Surfing the web –Search Engines
 Newsgroups on the Internet
 Internet
sites devoted to a specific topic
where people can read and post messages.
Cox Databases
number of companies offer database
packages on DVD for personal computers
or by subscription over the internet.
Other Sources of Secondary Data
Geographic Information Systems
 Computer-based
systems that use
secondary and/or primary data to generate
maps that visually display answers to
research questions.
Some Useful Numbering Systems –
SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) is an uniform
numbering system for classifying establishments
according to their economic activities. Total economy
is divided into 11 divisions (manufacturing/mining
etc...) which are further divided into major groups
and subgroups. Example:
57 = Home Furniture, Furnishings
571 = Home Furniture and Furnishing Stores
5715 = Furniture Stores
 Government and several non-govt. industrial data are
organized by SIC codes now being replaced by North
American Industrial Classification Codes (NAICS)
 UPC: Numbering system used in consumer goods
SIC System for Classifying
Limitations of Secondary Information
Lack of Availability
 For
some research questions there are
simply no available data. For example, if
Kraft General Foods wanted to evaluate the
taste, texture, and color of three new
gourmet brownie mixes, there are no
secondary data that would answer these
Limitations of Secondary Information
Lack of Relevance
 May
be measured in units that cannot be
used by the researcher.
 May relate to a sample other than the
intended target.
 May be outdated.
 Always
assess the accuracy of the data.
There are a number of potential sources of
error when a researcher gathers, codes,
analyzes, and presents data.
Summary of Key Points
Secondary data are information previously
gathered for a different purpose that may be
relevant to the problem at hand.
 Secondary data can come from sources
internal to the organization or external.
 The internet has, in many ways, enabled the
gathering of secondary data.
 Secondary data are generally useful, lowcost, rapidly available sources of information.
Always look for secondary data first