Primary and Secondary Data in Marketing Research | Merits and Demerits

What is a Primary Data in Marketing Research?

Data collected originally by the researcher himself for the purpose of his study are known as primary data (datum is the singular form of data). The researcher gets firsthand information from the respondents.

Primary and Secondary data in Marketing Research - Meaning, Advantages, Disadvantages
Primary and Secondary data in Marketing Research – Meaning, Advantages, Disadvantages

Methods of Collecting Primary data for Marketing Research

The following are the different methods of collecting primary data:

1. Direct Personal Interview

The researcher contacts the respondents personally and obtains all the relevant information for his study.

2. Indirect Oral Interview

This approach is used when it is not possible to get the information directly from the parties concerned.

For example, if the study is on addiction to alcohol, the required information can be better secured by approaching those who are closely related to the addict.

3. Information from correspondents

In this case, the investigator will appoint agents or correspondents to collect the necessary information from the parties. Newspaper agencies follow this approach.

4. Mailed Questionnaire Method

Here, the investigator will prepare a questionnaire, containing the questions pertaining to the study, and send it to each respondent by post. The respondent will fill it and send it back to the investigator.

5. Schedules sent through enumerators

In this method, the researcher would send schedules through enumerators or interviewers. The interviewers would interview the respondents and record the details.

The main difference between a questionnaire and a schedule is that the former is filled up by the respondents in their own handwriting and sent back to the investigator by post while the latter is filled up by the interviewers in the presence of the respondents.

Advantages of Primary Data in Marketing Research

1. It is original and fresh.

2. It is possible to collect the information that is just relevant for the study.

3. The researcher can achieve maximum accuracy in the collection and analysis of data.

4. The researcher can be sure of the reliability of the data.

5. Primary data alone are necessary for certain studies, e.g., studying the effectiveness of advertising.

Disadvantages of Primary Data in Marketing Research

1. Collection of primary data is a time consuming affair.

2. It may be expensive too.

3. It is difficult to find sincere and honest interviewers or enumerators.

4. In the case of questionnaire method, the researcher might face the problem of non-response.

5. The respondents may not be prepared for an interview when the enumerator approaches them with the schedule.

What is a Secondary Data in Marketing Research?

Data which are not originally collected by the researcher but obtained from books, records, journals, dissertations, Government Orders, etc., are known as secondary data.

Merits of Secondary Market

The merits of secondary data are as follows:

1. It is easy to use information already gathered by someone.

2. It will not be expensive.

3. Collection of secondary data is not a time consuming affair.

4. The researcher need not depend on anyone for the necessary information.

5. There is no need for a questionnaire or schedule.

Demerits of Secondary Data

1. It is difficult to find data that would be just relevant for the study.

2. There is no guarantee that the available information will be reliable in most cases.

3. Analysis carried out on inaccurate data will render the study useless.

4. The market trend, consumer behavior etc., are not static. A study in marketing pertaining to these would not, therefore, warrant the use of secondary data.

5. The researcher, in certain cases, may not find access to certain records.

Choice between Primary and Secondary Data in Marketing Research

The decision as to whether to use primary or secondary data in a given situation would depend on the following considerations:

1. The nature and purpose of the research study.

2. Availability of time.

3. Availability of financial resources.

4. Degree of precision required.

5. The nature of the data collecting agency, i.e., an individual, an institution or a Government department.