Secondary Data in Marketing Research: Definition, Sources & Collection

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:14 Sources of Secondary Data
  • 1:45 Collecting Secondary Data
  • 2:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Marketing research requires data, and secondary data is often the most convenient and cost-effective option. In this lesson, you'll learn about secondary data, including its sources and how to collect it.


Secondary data is information that has been collected for a purpose other than your current research project but has some relevance and utility for your research.

Sources of Secondary Data

You can break the sources of secondary data into internal sources and external sources. Internal sources include data that exists and is stored inside your organization. External data is data that is collected by other people or organizations from your organization's external environment.

Let's dig a little deeper into each of these general categories. Examples of internal sources of data include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Profit and loss statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Sales figures
  • Inventory records
  • Previous marketing research studies

If the secondary data you have collected from internal sources will not be sufficient, you can turn to external sources of data. Some external sources include:

  • Government sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Corporate filings, such as annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Trade, business and professional associations
  • Media, including broadcast, print and Internet
  • Universities
  • Foundations
  • Think tanks, such as the Rand Corporation or Brookings Institute
  • Commercial data services, which are businesses that find the data for you

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