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How to Research Your Business's Market Cultural Demographic

Developing a marketing and sales strategy that’s both effective and profitable requires a good sense of your marketplace’s cultural makeup. You can gather data on the multicultural composition of a market through several sources.

  • Get free data from the Census Bureau. Why pay for data if you can get it for free? One easy (and cheap) place to obtain demographic data is the U.S. Census Bureau Web site.

    With a click of a computer mouse, you can check the populations of various groups, including Hispanics, Blacks (African Americans, as well as Kenyans, Nigerians, Haitians, and others), Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians. The Bureau also tracks the total number of immigrants from almost all the European and Middle Eastern countries.

  • Pay for professional reports. You can hire professional market research organizations to assist you in determining the cultural composition of your service area and its potential impact on your business. A custom report usually can provide information on any area of the country you specify.

  • Automate your analysis with market research software. Some market research companies not only gather and deliver demographic data to your doorstep, but also provide you with software that enables you to analyze that data in various ways (for a fee, of course). Here’s just some of the information and analyses such software can deliver:

    • Demographic estimates and forecasts: Outline characteristics of different populations and how they’re expected to change in the future.

    • Demographic software and mapping: Enable you to circle a street on a map to obtain detailed data on the people who live there.

    • Custom data development: Provides any information you want in any format you want; you supply the data.

    • Location analysis: Gives you any demographic information you want about a specific location.

    • Trend analysis: What tendencies are developing in your service area?

    • Market analysis: What's the current composition of your customers?

    • Sales potential analysis: What possible opportunities exist?

You may be able to save a considerable amount of money if a market research company already has generated a report for your industry and geographic area. Shop around to try to find a company that has already done the work for someone else, but make sure the report isn’t more than 6 to 12 months old; otherwise, the data may be too dated to be of value.

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