Data, or facts, may be derived from several sources. Data can be classified as primary data and secondary data. Primary data is data gathered for the first time by the researcher; secondary data is data taken by the researcher from secondary sources, internal or external. The researcher must thoroughly search secondary data sources before commissioning any efforts for collecting primary data. There are many advantages in searching for and analyzing data before attempting the collection of primary data. In some cases, the secondary data itself may be sufficient to solve the problem. Usually the cost of gathering secondary data is much lower than the cost of organizing primary data. Moreover, secondary data has several supplementary uses. It also helps to plan the collection of primary data, in case, it becomes necessary. We shall therefore discuss secondary data first and then take up primary data.
Secondary data is of two kinds, internal and external. Secondary data – whether internal or external – is data already collected by others, for purposes other than the solution of the problem on hand.
Business firms always have as great deal of internal secondary data with them. Sales statistics constitute the most important component of secondary data in marketing and the researcher uses it extensively. All the output of the MIS of the firm generally constitutes internal secondary data. This data is readily available; the market researcher gets it without much effort, time and money.
Sources of External Secondary Data – Examples
The Internet is a great source of external secondary data. Many published, statistics and figures are available on the internet either free or for a fee.
The yellow pages of telephone directories/stand alone yellow pages have become an established source of elementary business information. Tata Press, which first launched a stand alone yellow pages directory for Mumbai City, and ‘GETIT’ yellow pages have been leading in this field. Today, yellow pages publications are available for all cities and major town a in the country. New Horizons, a joint venture between the Living Media group of publications and Singapore Telecom has been publishing stand alone directories for specific businesses. Business India data base of the Business India publications had been publishing the Delhi Pages directory.
The Thomas Register is the world’s most powerful industrial buying guide. It ensures a fast, frictionless flow of information between buyers and sellers of industrial goods and services. This purchasing tool is now available in India. The Thomas Register of Indian manufacturers or TRIM – is India’s first dedicated manufacture-to-manufacture register. It features 120,000 listing of 40,000 industrial manufacturers and industrial service categories. It is available in print, CD forms and on the internet.
The source Directory brought out by Mumbai based Source Publishers is another example. It covers contact information on advertising agencies and related services and products, music companies, market research agencies, marketing and sales promotion consultants, publication, radio stations and cable and satellite station telemarketing services, among others. It currently has editions for Metro cites.
The Industrial Product Finder (IPF): IPF details the many application of the new products and tells what is available and from whom. Most manufacturers of industrial products ensure that a description of their product is published in IPF before they hit the market.
Phone data service: Agencies providing phone data services have also come up in major cities in recent times Melior Communication for example, offers a tele-data service. Basic data on a number of subjects/products can be had through call to the agency. The service is termed Tell me Business through phone service. Its main aim, like that of yellow pages, is to bring buyers and sellers of products together. It also provides some elementary databank support to researchers.