Collecting customer information
Collecting Information about customer needs.
So we recognise that customers and consumers have needs and wants. We are now going to look at how we gather information about customer needs and want, since by satisfying these needs and wants is how we make profit. There are internal and external sources of information, and we tend to categorise basic information or data as either primary or secondary. Let’s have a look at these terms more closely in the following paragraphs.
Secondary data could be out of date. An example might be that we are comparing the data on pensions in Central America. Each piece of research will be collected at a different time and have different ways of collecting the data, and you also should appreciate that the pension systems will be different in each country. Clikc here for more on marketing research.
So what’s the difference between information and data? Data can be any fact or statistic, which then becomes information once we add some intelligence to it. For example if we have an average of 7 whilst this is a piece of data, once it becomes 7°C or kilometres per hour, it now has contextual meaning and becomes a piece of information. Often the words are interchangeable.
Internal and External Sources
Internal data is any data which relates to the inside of your business. There are going to be many examples of internal data which might include the number of employees which you have, diferent products which you have in stock or the state of the cash flow budget. Can you think of other examples of internal data? External data is any data from outside of your business. Here we are into the realms of marketing research, which is research for the purposes of marketing. An example might be competitor price research or looking at the nature of your competitors’ promotional activities. You could also look at specific market segments for demographics (which is the study populations) and you could include the income of your target group, or the average age of your defined consumer.
Primary and Secondary Data.
Your information or data is divided into primary and secondary. Primary data is data which is collected for the first time. Secondary data, or desk research, is data which already exists. Primary data is collected for your purposes only, and focuses on a particular problem which you have to solve. This might be why are low income households buying less baked beans? It is specific to your question or problem, although it does have some negative points. Primary data is notoriously expensive, and it takes time and commitment on the part of the business to see it through. Secondary data on the other hand is much cheaper and can be undertaken far more quickly. The downside of course is that the data may have been collected for the reasons other than for your specific problem, and it is often difficult to compare datasets that have been collected at different times and for different reasons.