Low-Cost Market Research Sources
Many marketers mistakenly believe marketing research, while important in helping make marketing decisions, is something that is far too expensive to do on their own. While this is true for some marketing decisions, marketers should also know that not all marketing research must be expensive to be useful.
For the rest of this tutorial we discuss secondary research sources that are easily obtainable and relatively low cost (often free). Many of these inexpensive sources hold great potential to aid marketers in several ways. First, for marketers seeking information to help with marketing decisions, the material found through these sources can be extensive and, on many occasions, will meet the marketer’s needs. Second, even in situations where the available information is not sufficient quantity or quality to be used for marketing decision-making, the information could still be used to fill smaller needs, such as the need to enter a metric in a slide presentation. Third, the information located through these sources may suggest to the research seeker that conducting their own primary research is necessary in which case the secondary research could serve as a guide for how this can be done.
Despite these advantages, inexpensive research carries many disadvantages making it unsuitable for some situations. As we noted in the Planning for Market Research Tutorial , these problems include:
- The information lacks sufficient detail to address the marketer’s needs.
- The method in which the research is presented does not provide sufficient supporting material to allow the research seeker to judge the quality of the research.
- The amount of information presented represents only a “teaser” that requires the purchase of a full report to obtain full details.
Our coverage of low-cost market research looks at the following sources:
- Trade Associations
- Government Sources
- Company-Provided Information
- News and Media Sources
- Other Sources