Primary and Secondary Research
Secondary data are pieces of information that have been collected prior to the start of the
focal research project.
It includes both external and internal data sources.
A marketing research project often begins with a review of the relevant secondary data.
Secondary data might come from free or very inexpensive external sources such as
census data, information from trade associations, the internet, books, journal articles, and
reports published in magazines and newspaper.
Although readily accessible, these inexpensive sources may not be specific or timely
enough to solve the marketer’s research needs and objectives.
Primary data, in contrast, are those data collected to address the specific research needs/
questions currently under investigation. Some primary data collection methods includes
focus groups, in-depth interviews, and surveys.
A marketing researcher project often begins with a review of the relevant internal and
external secondary data, such as the company’s own records and other published
Generally secondary data can be quickly accessed at a relatively low cost.
These patterns may be the only accurate sources available to a new small business that
wants to determine the size of its potential market. For such a firm, gathering accurate and
comprehensive data on its own would be quite difficult.
Researcher must ensure that the secondary data they use, especially from external
sources, are current, are relevant, and can share light on the research problem or
Sometimes, however, secondary data are not adequate to meet researchers’ needs.
Because the data initially were acquired for some purpose other than the research
question at hand, they may not be completely relevant.
Although the secondary data such as SCC is either free or inexpensive and can be quickly
accessed, they may not always be adequate to answer the research objectives.
Under these circumstances, marketers may find it useful to purchase external secondary
data called Syndicated data, which are data available for a fee from commercial research
For example the pertinent data available from these sources might include the prices of
various colognes, sales figures, growth or decline in the category, and advertising and
Some syndicated data providers also offer information about shifting brand preferences
and product usage in households, which they gather from consumer panels. Finally when it comes to secondary data, marketers must pay careful attention to how the
secondary data were collected.
Despite the great deal of data available on the internet and elsewhere, easy access does
not ensure that the data are trustworthy. Without knowing the research design,
researchers could make wrong or misleading inferences or conclusions.
Internet is a huge repository of all sorts of information about consumers. Marketers are
increasingly relying on technology to mine this data to help them lear