Tools for Success


Joint BRASS and GODORT program
June 18, 2001
San Francisco, California

Consumers into Customers:
Commercial Sources of
Demographic Information

Wendy Diamond
California State University, Chico

Marketing is...

  • Traditionally,
    The Four P's
    • Product
    • Price
    • Place
    • Promotion
  • Strategically,
    "... to continuously acquire, satisfy and retain customers."
    --- AMA Marketing Encyclopedia (1995)

Citizens, Consumers, Customers

  • Consumers drive the economy
  • Marketing drives consumers
  • Information drives marketing

Marketing & Demographics

  • Identifying by demographics
    • Population and household characteristics
  • Finding according to geography
    • Cities, counties, neighborhoods
  • Connecting by understanding
    • Lifestyles, hobbies, values

U.S. Census

  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Marital/Family
    • Income
    • Education
    • Housing characteristics
  • Geographics
    • Nation
    • Regions
    • States
    • Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
    • Tracts
    • Blocks
    • Public Use Microdata (PUMS)

Marketing & Geography

  • MSAs = Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Media Markets = reached by the same TV signal
    • DMA = "Designated Market Areas"
    • ADI = "Areas of Dominant Influence"
  • FIPS = cities & counties
    • "Federal Information Processing Standard"
  • Zip Codes = neighborhoods

Census 2000 Features

  • ZCTA = Zip Code Tabulation Area
  • American Community Survey (ACS)
    • Ongoing survey providing annual updates
    • Collects "long-form" data
    • Uses statistical sampling methodology
  • Census data by street address

Marketing Applications

  • New product development
  • Packaging design
  • Advertising and media planning
  • Retail location
  • Store stocking decisions
  • Sales territories & commissions
  • Locating & satisfying customers

Customer Segmentation = Target Marketing

  • Who?
  • Where?
  • Buying habits?
  • Lifestyles & Attitudes?
  • What shows & magazines?

Segmentation variables

  • Demographics - age, gender, race, income, education, etc.
  • Geographics - MSAs, DMAs, cities, counties, zip codes
  • Spending Habits - purchasing, retail sales, market size, expendituries
  • Lifestyles - activities, hobbies, psychographics, attitudes
  • Media Choice - TV, magazines, radio, Internet

Continuum from Macro (broad coverage), Historical Trends to Niche (narrow focus), Future forecasts

Commercial Sources (in general)

  • Sources are "conglomerates" of related books and database products
  • Custom research may be available
  • More specificity and original research are more expensive
  • Brief "trial" data may be available on the Web for free

Sources with Purchasing Data
(Organized by demographics and/or products)

  1. Consumer Expenditure Survey (BLS)
  2. American Marketplace etc. (New Strategist)
  3. TableBase (Gale)
  4. Consumer USA (Euromonitor)

1. Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES)

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Expenditure data by age & income
  • Regional & city breakdowns
  • Free federal database
  • Answers questions like:
    "What is the annual expenditure on footwear of single females with incomes over $30,000?"

[sample page]

2. New Strategist titles

  • American Money series
    • Household Spending: Who Spends How Much on What
    • Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand
  • American Consumer series
    • American Marketplace: Demographics and Spending Patterns
    • American Attitudes: Who Thinks What about the Issues
  • American Generations series
    • The Millennials: American Under Age 25
    • The Baby Boom: Americans Aged 35-54

[sample page]

3. TableBase

  • Consumer demographics & behavior
  • Product usage
  • Market size
  • Statistical tables
  • Online full-text; price varies
  • "What kinds of products do affluent consumers buy?"

4. Consumer USA

  • Detailed sales data on products
  • Not correlated with demographics of geographics
  • Manufacturer & brand market share
  • $900/ annual
  • "How many people bought software online?"

Basic Sources with Retail Sales Data
(by geographic areas)

  1. Editor & Publisher Market Guide
  2. Survey of Buying Power

1. Editor & Publisher Market Guide

  • Profiles of MSAs & Canadian cities
  • Retail sales volumes & forecasts
  • Quality of life factors
  • $145 print; $495 cdrom
  • "How many hardware stores are located there?"

2. Survey of Buying Power

  • MSAs, Counties, DMAs
  • Retail purchases
  • Buying power indicators (EBI, BPI)
  • $150/each or ($55 with subscription)
  • "Which areas rank high in book & music store sales?"

Sources with retail sales and demographic data
(by geographic areas)

  1. Demographics USA (Trade Dimensions)
  2. CACI Sourcebooks
    • Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics
    • Sourcebook of County Demographics
    • Sourcebook America
  3. MSA Profile (Woods & Poole)

1. Demographics USA

  • Counties or zipcodes
  • Print or cd-rom
  • Retail sales & demographics
  • Buying power indicators (BPI, EBI, & MQI)
  • PRIZM classifications
  • $500 each

2. CACI Sourcebooks

  • County & zipcode editions
  • Print or CD-ROM
  • Detailed demographics
  • Consumer expenditures & spending potential
  • Business firms & employees
  • ACORN classifications
  • Price range $400-$1000 cd-rom
    • Older editions available for $100

[sample page]

3. MSA Profile

  • Historical & forecast data (1970-2025)
  • $295 print/$395 cd-rom
  • "I need trends and projections of local retail sales and population"

Sources of Lifestyle data
(by demography and/or geography)

  1. Lifestyle Market Analyst (SRDS)
  3. PRIZM (Claritas)
"Lifestyle" examples:
  • Home Life
    • Avid book reading
  • Good Life
    • Gourmet food
  • Sports & fitness
    • Dieting
  • Hobbies
    • Automotive work

1. Lifestyle Market Analyst

  • Arranged by lifestyles, demographics, and geography
  • $390/annual
  • Custom research also available
  • "What type of person collects antiques and where do they live?"

[sample pages]

Lifestyle Segmentation Systems
"What demographic and psychographic traits describe consumers in this neighborhood?"

  1. Claritas PRIZM (price upon request)
  2. CACI ACORN (price upon request)

Claritas' free web site
[sample screen]

What's up with kids today?

  • Marketing to kids is big business:
  • Simmons Kid's Study
  • New Strategist publications ( Wise up to Teens, etc.)

Market Research Reports


  • American Demographics
    • "States with fastest growth rates foretell Boomer migration trends"
  • Target Marketing
    • "Market Focus: The family way (First-time parents make terrific prospects...)"
  • Journal of Consumer Marketing
    • "Credit Card Consumers: College students' knowledge and attitude"
  • Journal of Consumer Research
    • "Children, Advertising and Product Experiences: a multimethod inquiry"
[sample screens]

Sources with Media data
(by brandnames, TV shows, magazines)
"What magazines are read by purchasers of microbrew beers?"

  1. Simmons Choices II (cd-rom)
  2. MRI Media Mark Reporter (cd-rom)

Customers into consumers

"...Given how critical consumers are to the economy, forecasters are constantly looking for clues about their collective state of mind.

If they know how Americans feel -- are they anxious and hesitant, or full of vim and vigor? -- then they may be able to predict where their spending, and by exntension the whole economy, is headed..."

San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2001



"Area of Dominant Influence"; a term used by Arbitron Ratings to define a geographic area reached by the same broadcast transmittal; similar to Neilsen's Designated Market Areas (DMAs).


"Federal Information Processing Standard"; used by federal and private database produces to define states, counties and cities.


Zip Code Tabulation Area; a geographic designation appearing in the 2000 Census


IDS-on-the-Web (CACI Marketing Systems).

Enter a zip code and retrieve a basic version of lifestyle segmentation from CACI's ACORN system.

Demographics USA (Trade Dimensions). Annual.

Provides demographics, retail sales, occupational employment data, and effective buying indexes for zip codes or counties. Claritas Lifestyle segments are used and DMA, MSA, and state level data are also included. Print or cd-rom.

MSA Profile (Woods & Poole). Annual.

Contains population, employment, income, household and retail sales data for every MSA, state and region in the U.S., as well as national totals. The print publication covers historical time series and forecast data from 1970-2025. CD-ROM format is also available. Other Woods & Poole titles offer varying levels of geography and detail.

TableBase (Gale Group). Annual.

Full-text tables on companies, industries, demographics, and products, including consumption, use, sales, rankings and forecasts. Content is derived from the more than 1000 full-text including journal articles, statistical annuals, brokerage reports, trade association reports, and government documents. Available in online format. Tools for Success
Joint BRASS and GODORT Program, ALA Annual Conference, June 18, 2001

Disclaimer: This publication has been placed on the web for the convenience of BRASS members. Information and links will not be updated. Posted 30 August 2001.