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Research Guides


Marketing Research

This guide has been prepared for researching marketing initiatives.

Please reach out to your Marketing Librarian, Jennifer Wilhelm, for help using the resources and any research questions. 

The resources below are starting points for marketing research.

General Data

Consumers and Media Use

Advertising Spending

Market Size

Additional Help

Definitions are taken from Rona Ostrow & Sweetman R. Smith's Dictionary of Marketing (New York: Fairchild Publications, 1988) and Scott G. Dacko's Advanced Marketing Dictionary (New York: Oxford University, 2008).

Demographics - vital statistics of a population, including the size of the group and the age, sex, birth and death rates, location, income, occupation, race/ethnicity, education, etc. of its members.

Direct marketing (or direct response marketing) - marketing that is aimed directly at a customer in a certain physical or virtual location and which intends to elicit and obtain a measurable response from the customer. Methods include postal mailings, email, telemarketing, and social media marketing.

Distribution channel (or channel of distribution) - route along which goods and services travel from producer/manufacturer through marketing intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to the final user.

Market share - the part of a total market controlled by one firm.

Market segmentation - process of aggregating customers into groups based on common characteristics and needs, where they are expected to respond similarly to marketing actions. Common types include geographic, demographic, psychographic (e.g. lifestyle, personality, values), and behavioral (e.g. level of product usage).

Marketing mix - those marketing variables (such as product planning, pricing, promotion, and distribution channel selection) which, when blended together, form a marketing strategy designed to satisfy the firm's customers.

Mass marketing - a marketing strategy in which a product or service having wide appeal among the consuming public is promoted under a single marketing program and sold through such outlets as chain stores, discount stores, and supermarkets. Mass marketers do not target "everyone" as their customers but do address large numbers of consumers over broad geographic areas.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (or MSA) - freestanding metropolitan area which: 1) contains a city of at least 50,000 inhabitants, or 2) encompasses an urbanized area of at least 50,000 and a total metro population of at least 100,000. An MSA may include multiple counties which have close economic and social ties to the central city.

Retailing - selling of goods and/or services to the ultimate consumer for personal or household use.

Target market (or target audience) - particular segment of a total potential market selected by a company as the target of its marketing efforts. Choice of a target market is usually based on some common characteristic possessed by the market segment, e.g., sex, education level, income, etc.