Do you know who buys, or is likely to buy, your products, services, or information?
If not, you should be looking for demographic information that will help you make good marketing decisions.
You do not have to be a research guru in order to use demographic information. Just look for results of studies other people have done and then apply them to your business.
For example, my audience is mature market...people over 50. There is a lot of data on this group and more studies are being done daily. Some data I found indicated that older people are avid readers. They really like newspapers and magazines. If I was trying to find clients for estate planning services, I would know that I should advertise through newspapers and magazines, rather than spend money on television.
Since my business is internet-based, this information about reading tells me that I should provide a content- rich web site for my older customers, and that mailing a printed newsletter could be another way to develop my customer relationships.
How do you find demographic data? First, find out who might be keeping tabs on your audience. I know, for instance, that AARP surveys people over 50 constantly. AARP makes that information available on its website. I also know that Forrester Research (http://www.forrester.com) does studies on older people, along with many other groups. Yankelovich Partners (http://www.yankelovich.com/) has been a leader in market research on older consumers; and Age Wave (http://www.agewave.com/) collects tons of stats on this market for its website.
Although AARP data is free, research firms sell their information...often at prices that small business or entrepreneur cannot afford. But, by reading their news releases and snippets of data they make available to general public, you can glean quite a bit. To find firms that do research on your demographic, check out MarketResearch.com (http://www.marketresearch.com/).