Marketing Research

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c hapter

4

Strategic Information
Management:
Secondary Data Sources

Learning Objectives
After reading this chapter, you will be able to

1
Understand how
secondary data fit into
the marketing research
process.

2

3

4

5

Understand how
secondary data fit into
the customer relationship
management (CRM)
process.

Demonstrate how
secondary data can be
used in problem
solving.

List sources of
traditional internal
secondary data.

Demonstrate how to
obtain external sources
of secondary data.

6

7

8

List sources of external
secondary data.

Understand the
availability and use of
syndicated sources of
secondary data.

Understand the changing
focus of secondary data
usage.

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“In today’s competitive environment,
the key word is fast.
Faster in obtaining results,
faster in disseminating results.
Therefore, we now conduct marketing
research with priority given to
secondary data.
Why? It’s faster.”
—ROBERT BENGEN
Director of Marketing and Research
Samsonite Corporation

Know Your Customer: Making the Most
of an Information-Rich Environment

ell Computer Corp. recently responded to a
disgruntled customer by building a better
box—shipping box, that is. The customer was
one of many who had been invited to the
company’s usability lab to test the length of time
needed to get a new PC up and running. While
unpacking a Dell Dimension tower, the customer
struggled and struggled with the shipping box. He
finally became so frustrated that he picked it up
and turned it upside down. The tower fell to the
floor and crashed. Although the purpose of the test
was to learn how long it took a customer to install a
computer, seeing someone destroy a tower was so
startling that executives quickly decided to
redesign the box and its packing material.
Cisco Systems, Inc., a global leader in the
networking market, recognized, long before its
competitors, the potential of information and its
impact on building customer relationships. After
realizing that it could not hire enough engineers to

support its growing customer base, Cisco began
looking at information solutions. “Our strategy is
to empower customers and let them provide us
with information they believe is important for
maintaining a relationship,” says Peter Solvik,
senior VP of information systems. Known as Cisco
Connect On-line, the Web-driven information
connection allows customers to provide and access
information to and from Cisco for the purposes of
helping in the buying process, facts about the
company’s products, customer training programs,
and so on. Customers also use site features to
configure and price their purchases, track order
status, manage service contracts, and submit
returns. Uniquely, this customer connect system
also incorporates an electronic customer council
which allows Cisco to conduct online focus groups,
collect customer comments via e-mail, and hold
chat sessions between customers and corporate
officials.1

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Marketing Research Information and Technology

The Value of Secondary Data
At first glance, the examples in the opening vignette may not appear to fully illustrate the traditional notion of secondary data. Yet these examples do in fact illustrate an emerging form of secondary data, many times referred to as customer-volunteered information or customer knowledge information. Given new levels of information technology available, many companies are now using a variety of techniques, such as those illustrated, to collect, store, and categorize customer data for future marketing decisions. Information gathered from electronic customer councils, customer usability labs, e-mail comments, and chat sessions is increasingly being used in many companies’ attempts to exploit this data-rich...
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