Free Research: 8 Resources Every Marketer Needs

Face it—Gut feel no longer cuts it for marketing decisions. While your organization may be great at doing on-going testing to determine what works best for your products and marketing, it helps to have solid data based on quality research as a benchmark.

Further, no matter what size your budget for purchasing third party research, large or small, you still need to stay ahead of the latest trends from reliable sources.

To this end, it’s useful to have the latest highlights curated for you. It’s like having a research department literally in the palm of your hand.

Here are eight of my favorite, free research resources I’d be lost without. (Translation: Useful data!)

  1. eMarketer provides, compiles and sells research. It’s an amazing source of information across the gamut of digital marketing topics. To attract buyers for their premium services, eMarketer offers a daily email newsletter and blog. eMarketer explains the research and clarifies the major points with easy-to-understand charts. For the press (including columnists and bloggers), their PR department is awesome.
  2. Marketing Charts is a targeted B2B enewsletter that’s a strong source of data from a variety of sources. Their emailings are well worth your time.
  3. Research Brief is part of the ever expanding set of MediaPost enewsletters. It offers an in-depth review of a different piece of research each business day. Its charts give new meaning to the word basic. That said, the selection can be delightfully unusual.
  4. Nielsen is one of the top media tracking companies. It consistently puts out high quality findings on the digital landscape through its blog and press releases. Of particular interest are its cross platform studies.
  5. comScore is Nielsen’s main competitor. Similarly, comScore provides useful media data. Their blog is a source of practical insights.
  6. Compete is a second tier media data provider. But like Nielsen and comScore it constantly produces new data. It’s blog is also a good source of insights and often covers different topics than Nielsen and comScore.
  7. Altimeter is a consulting firm headed by Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owang and Brian Solis (and is home to my former editor, Rebecca Lieb). As part of their business model, Altimeter does in-depth, original research that they make public via a variety of forums. It’s clear, well thought out and professionally presented. Each serving is worth your time and consideration.
  8. Pew Research describes itself as a nonpartisan, US fact tank. It regularly distributes its research findings, especially those related to overall digital trends. Its information tends to be objective and vendor neutral.

To use these resources, it’s important to understand that eMarketer, Marketing Charts and Research Brief often publish hand crafted articles based on research provided by third party organizations that  may have a non-neutral point of view. Both eMarketer and Marketing Charts create charts based on the data to aid their readers. As a reader, you should check the original sources for more information regarding the actual research.

By contrast, Nielsen, comScore and Compete, use their own data to provide insights while  Altimeter and Pew Research do original research.

At a minimum, these resources are worth reading as a good way to stay current with the latest marketing trends.

What other third party (i.e. not your own) resources do you use?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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