Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2015     Views: 2

One thing about researching marketing and advertising is that a lot of the most useful information is proprietary. Either it's kept completely secret as a competitive advantage, or it's sold at an extremely high price.

Two, start by thinking, "Who would know or care about this kind of information? The government? A professional association? An industry association?" The answer to that question may be where you should go to find your answers. Also try googling very general things. If you want to know about bauxite cost changes over time, try "historical bauxite prices," or "historical aluminum prices" or even "historical metal prices." You may find a source of information, or you may find a clue where to look.

A third thing is that there's a lot of detective work involved in working with the information that is available. You may want information by zip code, but it's only available by county. You may want information on tankini sales, but you can only get information on swimsuit sales in general. The best you can do is break your research topic down into separate, manageable questions. Then take each separate sub-question and figure out what level of detail you will be able to find (is it broken down to Dominican v. Puerto Rican v. Mexican? Or is it only broken down as far as Latino/a?) Finally, once you have all the pieces, put them together. 

Demographics and Populations

When you want to research demographics, you will be using a lot of resources that come from the government (or NGOs) and are available on the web. Most of them are free. 

  • American FactFinder (from the U.S. Census)  
    Search data from the Census including maps, tables, and reports. You can get information on population, housing, and fact sheets on towns, counties, zip codes, and states.

Consumer Trends

Many industry associations and for-profit marketing information groups provide information on the web.

Article research on advertising and markets

  • Advertising Age is a trade journal that publishes articles and reports about marketing, lists of top brands, advertisers and advertising agencies, etc. 

Scholarly Articles

Search these databases for your topic:

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