data collection

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A compilation of relevant information or informed observations and analysis. Collecting good and valid data is crucial to marketing since it drives strategic and tactical decisions. When gathering data, it is important to determine the source of the data as well as the context the data has come from. Not all sources of data are reliable, so it is necessary to understand how the data was gathered, where it was gathered from, what means and techniques were used, and what was included in the data set in order to draw correct conclusions. Data is usually the raw and untreated facts and opinions that have been gathered through the data gathering process. Hard data is the scientific collection of the latter; soft data is more a collection of emotions and opinions around the same subject that have been collected anecdotally. Also, in the context of market research there are primary and secondary data. Primary data is that which is collected directly from the target respondent group, for example by means of a structured interview or questionnaire. Secondary data is information that has been gathered for another purpose, neither directly by the user nor specifically for the user, often under conditions not known to the user. Secondary data, for example, may include government reports, economic information, industry analyst information, and trade associations' reports. Banks, stockbrokers, and market research reports are other potential sources of information. International secondary data can be collected in the home country or in the country to be researched. Non-governmental sources include consultants and international agencies. There is also internal data that is specific to and generated by the organization, for example, sales statistics (by customer, by product), financial data such as profitability (by product, by customer), customer complaints, inventory levels, or debtor information. Secondary and internal data are useful background and context settings for primary research. With the tools available today, it can be gathered very quickly, and is much lower-cost than primary data collection.

Subjects: Marketing.

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