Using Cross-Tabulation Reports in Marketing Research

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  • 0:03 Crunching the Numbers
  • 1:12 Tire Example in Excel
  • 2:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Cross-tabulation is a way of grouping two or more variables to see if there is a relationship. In this lesson, we'll examine how market researchers use cross-tabulation reports to find probabilities, patterns and trends in raw data.

Crunching the Numbers

Imagine you're a tire manufacturer, and you want to analyze sales data by region so you know where to effectively place inventory in your warehouses. You have your data set, so what's the next step?

Putting your data into a spreadsheet with rows and columns allows you to view the relationships, also known as correlations, between two or more variables; this grouping of data is known as cross-tabulation. You use cross-tabulation on categorical data, which is information that can be put into mutually exclusive groups. Age, height, and weight would be examples of categorical data.

Cross-tabulation can help market researchers gain insights, easily group raw data, and help make complex statistics less confusing. You can simply add columns to tables to bring additional variables into play. You can see if correlations change based on different groupings of the variables. Common software packages used to do cross-tabulation are SPSS, SAS, and Microsoft Excel.

Tire Example in Excel

Let's look at our hypothetical tire company. This Excel spreadsheet contains details about warehouse tire orders for different types of tires:

Pivot Tires

A relatively easy way to do cross-tabular calculations in Excel is to use a pivot table. A pivot table lets you summarize and reorganize rows and columns without actually changing them. The pivot table offers a view from a different perspective. Think of slicing and dicing when you cook; you're slicing the data down to get more flavor (i.e. a better look). Pivot tables work really well when you have large amounts of data.

In our example, you could insert a pivot table to show orders and sales of tire model by warehouse. You could select all of the data and then choose the fields you want to include. In our example, you would choose region, product, ordered, and sold. Choosing these fields would result in a worksheet that looks like this:

Pivot table results

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