InfoTech Marketing Newsletter
InfoTech Marketing Newsletter
June 11, 2009
In This Issue
Enliven Your Segment Personas
Why Outsource Secondary Research?
2007 Economic Census Data Becoming Available
InfoTech Marketing Named SAS Alliance Partner
 Enliven Your Segment Personas
Marketers often overlook secondary research to complete market segment personas.  Segment profiles and personas are used to describe typical segment members.  These profiles suffer as they are often limited to questions asked in primary research surveys and focus groups.  Secondary research can expand these profiles, or be used to substitute for more expensive primary research.
Let's say you're targeting beer drinkers who drink at home.  You've decided to segment based on usage, because heavy users account for a very high percentage of total sales.  You could actually begin by using the BLS' Consumer Expenditure Survey to identify high product category users.  Respondents report their spending on numerous product categories over a two week period.  Based on this data, you conclude that people spending $50 or more are your target.  These comprise 5% of the people buying beer for home consumption.
Using life-stage segmentation, you discover that very young people (18-24 years old) are disproportionally heavy users.  This comes as no surprise.  Somewhat surprising, however, is that the biggest life-stage group is 45-54 year old married people.  These account for over one-quarter of the heavy at home beer users.
Middle-Age Family 
What else can you find out about them using secondary research?  To start, research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project* in May, 2008 shows 81% use the Internet.  87% have a cell phone, but only 37% send or receive text messages.  In looking at Internet usage through handheld devices, 26% have accessed the Web from a cell phone, and 5% have accessed it from a PDA or Blackberry.  While 20% of the adults use social networking sites, only 10% of this group connects through social networks.  In general, you conclude that this group uses technology, but mainly for traditional communications.  This gives a more complete profile, has implications for communications media, and allows better quantification of expected response and ROI.
The General Social Survey can be used to uncover attitudinal and behavioral data for 45-54 year old married people.  This survey has been conducted for a number of years for social issue research.  The latest survey occurred in 2008, which you use for your analysis.  Some of the interesting beliefs and behaviors, especially where they differ from the overall public, are:
  • 35% are "Very Happy" and only 7% are "Not Too Happy";
  • 53% say life is "Exciting";
  • 42% consider their political views to be "Moderate", and 40% "Conservative";
  • 60% are Protestants;
  • Only 8% believe you get ahead because of luck or help;
  • 35% have a shotgun in their home;
  • 65% believe Federal income taxes are too high;
  • 75% voted in 2004.
Based on this information, you have a more complete picture of this group and adjust your communications strategy accordingly.
These are only some of the examples of the secondary research available.  The Pew organization produces lots of different studies, and the government also provides additional data.  While this has looked at a consumer group, data for occupations and industries also exists for business-to-business marketers.  In either case, the information makes your personas/profiles come alive.  If you're interested in enhancing your personas, give me a call or send me an email.
* The Project bears no responsibility for the interpretations presented or conclusions reached based on analysis of the data.

Dear Tim,

Welcome to the fourth  infrequent InfoTech Marketing newsletter.  Okay, I guess it's getting more frequent now.  Hope you're having a good summer.  If you have any ideas for future newsletter topics, please let me know.
Why Outsource Secondary Research?
With the ubiquity of the Internet and excellent search engines, why would anyone want to outsource secondary research?  After all, all you need to do is run a few Google searches, examine some trade association Web sites, perhaps consult a government report or two, and you're on your way.  In many cases, this is what passes as secondary research - even from some research providers.  But a good secondary research project encompasses much more, and you may want to use a professional research firms for the following reasons.

Subscription to proprietary databases.  A good research firm will access many databases outside the free, public realm.  Much of the data you need is from magazines, journals, and research sources not readily available to the public.  Lexis/Nexis, Hoovers, Mergent and other subscription databases contain valuable information that a research firm can access.

In-depth knowledge of government sources.  While the government publishes much useful information, key nuggets lie buried in raw microdata.  A good research firm can dig out these nuggets for you.  They can also combine data in ways that are not published.  For instance, the government often publishes one-dimensional demographic data, with tables by age, gender, income, ethnicity, etc.  But if you want life-stage data based on multiple dimensions, like a combination of age, gender, marital status, number of children, you need someone to create information from the microdata.

Digging data out of books.  Books contain much data and knowledge and are often neglected by in-house researchers.  Many think that if it's not on the Web, it doesn't exist or is unimportant.  Look for book references in any outsourced secondary research reports.

Information update and forecasting.  Most data on the Web reflects a snapshot at a distant point in time.  A good research firm should have the capabilities and knowledge to update the data to the current environment and make projections into the future.

Speed.  While an in-house researcher may spend hours frothing around on the Internet, a professional research firm should deliver results quickly and comprehensively.  The research firm's expertise relies on finding, synthesizing, analyzing, forecasting, and presenting information, so they should quickly deliver the results you need.

InfoTech Marketing specializes in secondary research.  Challenge us with your most difficult project, and you'll see the difference an excellent research firm can provide.  For more information, click here.
2007 Economic Census Data Becoming Available
The U.S. Census Bureau has started releasing 2007 Economic Census Data.  They are rolling out data for different sectors over the next year.  Current data availability includes establishments, payroll, employees, and revenue for limited NAICS codes.  There's also product line information for lawyers, beer distributors, and the like.  They are not publishing any data, but instead are releasing it over their data site:  Stay tuned for more information.
InfoTech Marketing Named SAS Alliance Partner
In recognition of our SAS System capabilities, we have been named a SAS Alliance Partner.  We have used SAS for a large number of customer applications, such as:
Detailed industry forecasting:  SAS powers our construction forecasting system by MSA.  Using SAS, we are able to merge numerous, disparate data together to produce reliable construction forecasts by type.

Customer profiling:  Cluster analysis, cross-tabulation, logistic regression, and predictive modeling all can be facilitated with SAS.  We have developed our own specific programs to ascertain gender, Hispanic ethnicity, and more profiling variables.  Starting as a statistics package, SAS remains would of the leading statistical analysis software packages.

Dashboards:  SAS allows rapid dashboard creation from your internal data.  We've also merged Excel with SAS to produce emailable Excel dashboard workbooks.

These are just some of the applications possible with SAS.  For more information about SAS, visit their Web site.  For specific examples of our SAS projects, click here.
SAS Alliance
If you'd like to rev up your marketing, give me a call.
Tim Walters
InfoTech Marketing
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