Many marketing decisions can be addressed by analyzing secondary sources of information, especially when time and budgets do not permit an immediate investment in primary research. Although there are an abundance of secondary sources available, not all of these sources are credible, objective or relevant. Our preference is to utilize original sources and avoid those that appear self-serving. By closely examining the methodology used to produce secondary data, we have identified a selected list of organizations that can be relied on to produce objective information, including the following:
- U.S. Census Bureau
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Department of Commerce
- State Data Centers
- Selig Center for Economic Growth
- Pew Hispanic Center
A common question asked by decision-makers is: Can the Census data be trusted for market planning decisions related to multicultural consumers? Although any measurement system is subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, we like to point out that in most cases, the Census Bureau data: (a) is the most objective, comprehensive source of population data, (b) reports sampling errors and undercounts that are available to the public, (c) provides detailed geographic coverage, (d) is a good source for comparing demographic information with independently collected survey data, and (e) is already paid by tax dollars. Indeed, few other secondary sources can meet these standards and most third-party organizations that sell demographic information rely on Census Bureau data for their population estimates and projections.