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Marketing Research Guide (BADM 370): Demographic and Psychographic Research

This guide is intended to help you successfully complete marketing research projects in BADM 370, BADM 476 and other courses by providing specific paths to the kinds of information you will need to complete course assignments.

I. Introduction to demographic and psychographic research

Demographic vs. Psychographic research

 

DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

The purpose is to find your product's best and biggest customers based on demographic variables such as gender, income, age, etc.
 

PSYCHOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

The purpose is to learn about attitudes and behaviors of customers that might affect their spending on your product.


Use the following sections to find research tools for demographic and psychographic research:

1. What is your target market in terms of demographic variables? 

Find primary customers for a product based on demographic characteristics such as age group, gender, education, income, household type)

2. What is your target market in terms of psychographic characteristics?

Find articles on consumer attitudes and consumer behavior that reveal who will purchase your product based on their mind-set, attitudes, personality, activities, behaviors.

3. What is the size of the market for your product in a specific city (outside of South Dakota)?

Find a likely city and the size of its market for a product or product category.

 

II. Demographics - Find primary customers for a product or product category

Demographic research

 

A. U.S. Census Bureau. 

Collects all kinds of data and the website is THE major supplier of demographic information for the United States.

1. Access online: http://www.census.gov

2. INSTRUCTIONS:

a. Go to www.census.gov

b.  The Browse by topic feature on the top navigation bar lets you find information across a range of categories.

 

B. Consumer Expenditure Survey by U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Access online: http://www.bls.gov/cex/

2. Description: The federal government collects data on spending patterns based on demographics, and makes it available in charts and reports on this website. The Consumer Expenditure Survey provides "information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics." For example, find out which age groups spend the most on a particular product category.

3. INSTRUCTIONS

a. Go to the Consumer Expenditure Survey.

b. On the Consumer Expenditure Survey home page, scroll down to the QuickLinks section, and select "CE Tables." 

 

III. Psychographics - Find articles on consumer attitudes and consumer behavior

Get psychographic information

Search for consumer behaviors and/or consumer attitudes in articles in magazines/journals (especially in trade magazines). The instructions for using the research databases below provide examples. Note: depending on your focus, you can search for behaviors and attitudes related to:

1) the product in which you are interested or

2) a specific age group or ethnic group (or other demographic variable), or

3) combine 1) and 2).

HEADS-UP:

  • Added bonus! - Articles that mention psychographic characteristics of a product's market often will also include demographic characteristics of the people who buy a product, so you may learn more about the demographics for your product when doing the psychographic searches described below.
  • READ instructions for the research database below BEFORE clicking to link to them.
     

A. Business Source Premier (database) Lock symbol indicates that Library ID and password must be used to login when off the Madison campus.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Link to  Business Source Premier (Note: You can also find Business Source Premier in the "Database Quicklinks" dropdown menu at the top of the Library home page).

2. For consumer attitudes and behaviors related to products, combine the word "consumer" or the word "consumers" with specific products.  You may also search by combining the product name with the word "marketing."

a. For example, for behaviors and attitudes about cranberries:

1) enter the search:

cranberries AND consumer*
[NOTE: The asterisk (*) is used to get any word that begins with the letters c-o-n-s-u-m-e-r. So it will retrieve items that use the word "consumer" or the word "consumers"]

OR

cranberries AND marketing

b.  You then need to scout the results list for articles that might have information useful to you. This may take some digging as a single sentence or paragraph may give you some information about cranberry consumers attitudes. 

1) For example, a sentence might say "people who buy cranberries typically focus on living a healthy lifestyle."  [That's a consumer behavior that motivates their purchase, so you might consider making "people who live healthy lifestyles" a target market]. 

2) For example, a sentence might be, "most consumers buy cranberry consumption in the U.S. at Thanksgiving and Christmas. [That's consumer behavior related to holidays and displays an attitude that "cranberries are only for holidays"].

3) For example, a sentence might be, "Ocean Spray recently started a new marketing campaign targeting people with gym memberships." [Ocean Spray is not likely to do such a campaign unless their market research had identified this market].

3. For consumer attitudes and behaviors related to specific demographic variables,  combine the idea of consumers (or marketing) with specific variables.

a. For example, if you were interested in consumer behaviors of a particular ethnic group such as Asian Americans you might:

1) enter the search:

"asian american*" and consumer*

2). On the results screen, look for methods to refine your search on the left side of the screen. You might find that clicking on the "Subject" category will provide a subject such as "Asian Americans as Consumers". Click on that subject, and your results will be reduced to items focused on that topic.

b. For example, you have a product that is more likely to be purchased by teenagers so you want to know if there are specific teen attitudes or behaviors that might be relevant to how you market your product.

1) enter the search terms:

teen* and marketing

2) On the left side of the results screen, you might consider "Narrow Results By" the Subject category (where you might find a subject such as "Teens -- Attitudes")

4. For consumer attitudes and behaviors related to both product and demographic variable, combine the idea of consumers (or marketing) with a specific demographic variables and a product.

a. For example, to attempt to find out attitudes and behaviors toward a product based on age you might try a search like this.

1) enter the search terms:

consumer* AND cosmetics AND age

 

B. ABI INFORM (database) Lock symbol indicates that Library ID and password must be used to login when off the Madison campus.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Link to  ABI INFORM (Note: You can also find ABI INFORM in the "Database Quicklinks" dropdown menu at the top of the Library home page).

2. Use the same types of searches in this research database as were described for Business Source Premier above.

IV. Market size based on GEOGRAPHY

 

Find out how big the market is for a product in a specific city

To assess the market potential of a given city, county, or state, knowing that a particular demographic characteristic matters (such as total population, population within a certain age group, population with a certain income, etc.), you can get demographic information about a geographic area. The procedure for doing so is described below.

   Use:   U.S. Census Bureau tools.

a. STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Go to U.S. Census QuickFacts  

3) On the QuickFacts page, you can search for a specific geographic area with populations over 5000. In the search box, enter a geographic name like San Francisco, CA. 

a) For example, imagine that you've been researching a product and have concluded that San Francisco would be a good place to market the product.

b) To determine the size of your market, you need to know how many people of a certain age live there.

4) So you start typing San Francisco in the search box, which brings up possible San Francisco choice. You can select "San Francisco city, California" and then click "Go."

5) You will now have a list of tables with demographic data about San Francisco.

Karl E. Mundt Library, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota 57042
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