5 sources of data to inform Consumer Affairs strategy

Every year or two or three you probably refresh your consumer care strategy and plans. More than just a list of projects, this is a chance to look at your current state, the needs and direction of the brands you support, and how the outside world is evolving. Bringing those together helps paint a picture for the choices you make and the capabilities you develop.

Sometimes that is easier said than done though. Your brand teams likely have tons of market research and external resources that help them analyze the market and consumer behavior. However that information (if you can get it!) is likely not sufficient to drive your consumer care strategy.

Having an informed perspective on consumer behavior, demographics, communication preferences, media habits, technology adoption and so on can be tremendously helpful when making choices or making a case for resources or support. As one of my former bosses used to say "with some passion and a little data it's amazing what you can make happen!"

Here are 5 great (free) resources for data and understanding of US consumer trends you can apply to consumer affairs, hopefully these will give you additional perspective to create and describe your plans!

  1. Pew Research Center http://www.pewresearch.org/ – Tons of great data on US demographics, media and more. From the health of consumer finances to how parents spend their time, this may be the best source of high quality, useful data out there.
  2. KPCB Internet Trends http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends – THE annual update on whats happening online. Spearheaded by famed internet analyst Mary Meeker the analysts at this VC firm tell a clear, data rich story of the evolution of the Internet that is available every summer.
  3. US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.census.gov/ + http://www.bls.gov/ – If you need to understand the population and consumer base of the United States these government agencies offer detailed data sets on income, ethnicity, population distribution, and more.
  4. Nielsen http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports.html – Terrific analysis and perspective on tons of topics from the worlds largest market research firm. From their annual 'Social Media Report' to deep dives into specific consumer groups, their site is worth bookmarking.
  5. Grocery Manufacturers Association http://www.gmaonline.org/resources/research-tools/research-and-reports/ – The GMA is the granddaddy of CPG industry associations. While it doesn't produce a huge number of research items the ones they do publish are very well researched and can be extremely useful.

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Topics: data, best practices, strategy