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Secondary Market Research: Quicker & Cheaper Way to Answer a Question


This research technique encompasses any data collected by someone else for some other purpose that also happens to be useful to you. Secondary research can be composed of internal or external data. Common examples of external secondary research include data compiled by the Census Bureau and other government agencies, reports written by consulting firms and sold to interested parties, and publicly available information, such as articles in the trade press. Common examples of internal secondary research include sales records, customer databases, and past market research reports.


Secondary research has obvious relevance to the environmental scanning stage of the decision cycle. It is almost always quicker and cheaper to answer a question through secondary data than through conducting your own primary market research. In virtually every project your first step should be to amass whatever secondary research is available and glean whatever insights you can. Secondary research can be used to identify market opportunities, describe market structure, and monitor competitive activity.


Because secondary research comprises so many diverse activities, one or another kind of secondary research may also play a supporting role in both generating and selecting options. Thus, a market opportunity identified at an earlier point may be further defined through secondary research. Quite often you want to evaluate the outcome of a decision by measuring changes in market share for yourself and key competitors. Syndicated reports (regular studies, produced by independent consulting firms, to which you and other members of your industry subscribe) are often a source of market share data.


Reference: “The Market Research Toolbox” Edward F. McQuarrie



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