Types of Secondary & Syndicated Data Sources in Marketing Research

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  • 0:00 The Importance of Research
  • 2:20 Benefits of Syndicated…
  • 4:23 Syndicated Research Sources
  • 5:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Market research is essential to any business, but few organizations have the resources to commission a custom market research study. This lesson explores syndicated research and how it can help organizations without custom market research.

The Importance of Research

In the last decade, small towns in Northwest Colorado have benefited from the energy industry's need for mineral rights. Numerous energy products including oil shale, natural gas, and coal are produced in the area, and many companies have negotiated deals with governments that allow them to produce on federally owned lands. The final contract for the lease usually has terms requiring the payment of taxes at an agreed-upon rate. The resulting revenue was a veritable windfall for the towns whose revenue from these lease taxes far outpaced taxes paid by residents during the same time period.

Unfortunately, the energy industry is volatile under the best of conditions, but dropping crude oil prices coupled with increased environmental standards resulted in many companies ceasing production in the area and moving production to jurisdictions with better tax terms. As revenue streams from energy taxes began to decline, some towns realized they had made a critical error by not identifying the trends associated with the decline while there was still time to prepare for the problem. The end result was that many city and county governments were forced to lay off staff, postpone or eliminate capital projects, or cut services. This decline did not have to be so abrupt. Syndicated market research would have provided a wealth of information that could have been used in budget forecasting.

There are two major types of market research available. Custom market research is research conducted at the specific direction of an organization designed to answer very specific questions relevant to the business itself. While the data collected by custom research is very valuable, these made-to-order research studies are expensive to obtain and can rarely be done by in-house staff. An alternative to this is syndicated research, which is research conducted by a market research firm, but not for a specific client. The market research firm conducts the research and then sells its findings to interested companies. This type of report provides smaller organizations with high quality data at a reasonable cost.

This table shows a few examples of the contrasts between syndicated market research and custom market research:

Contrasting Models

Now that we know some of the differences between these two types of research, let's take a look at how utilizing syndicated research could have helped rural Colorado.

Benefits of Syndicated Research

The first way syndicated research could have helped is that it would have provided a high-level overview of the market in general. Syndicated research would have indicated that dropping energy prices were likely to trigger a decrease in production. This function of syndicated research is the identification of industry trends. Providing a wide view of public perception is a second benefit of syndicated research. Residents of rural Colorado may not understand how the energy industry and its practices are viewed outside of their small community. Such research would have indicated that many people outside of the community were opposed drilling or mining because of environmental concerns. Because the energy industry had brought so much good to the community, it was genuinely hard for many to understand why so many people opposed further energy product development. Syndicated research could have allowed officials to better understand the forces that were pushing against the energy companies in other areas of the country. In this case, officials were not able to identify why public opinion was so hostile toward companies like BP, responsible for uncontrolled crude oil release from the Deepwater Horizon rig, or Exxon, responsible for the Exxon Valdez tanker oil spill.

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