This is how Primary & Secondary Data improves business opportunities

Data is the new oil that helps in fueling a company’s revenue. So the collection of primary and secondary data becomes an integral part of today’s business research and strategy building.

Primary Data and Secondary Data

The datasets help you in deriving information about market and the ongoing trends. A good information of your audiences help you to leverage your opportunities through data monetization.

What is Primary data?

Primary data is the original data – from the first source. It is like raw material.

The primary data is an information that you collect directly on a personal level for particular research for your business. Primary data collection is a direct approach which meets specific company needs. 

What are the sources of Primary data?

The source of primary data is the sample from which you gather your data. You can select the sample using various methods and techniques of sampling. So, the most popular sources of primary data or the primary data examples are:

  • Interview (personal interview, telephone, email).
  • Self-made surveys and questionnaires.
  • Field observations.
  • Experiments.
  • Life histories.
  • Action research.
  • Case studies.
  • Diary entries, letters, and other correspondence.
  • Eyewitness accounts etc.

What are the advantages of Primary data?

There are many advantages you can derive when using primary data for your marketing and business research. Here’s a list of those below:

With primary data, you own the information –  Because you collect the information yourself and do not share it, so the information remains hidden from other potential competitors.

Survey reports, questionnaires, interview responses are few primary data examples that have the information that you collect for research.

Primary data gives better accuracy – Primary data is more accurate because it is your first-hand collection directly from the population.

You get more control over the data with primary data – As a marketer, you can control the research method easily. Also, you have more control over the gathering process of information.

Primary data provides up-to-date information – The primary data is a great source of latest information as you collect it directly from the field in real-time.

Resolving research and analytics issues – When you are performing your own research, you get to address and resolve your business-related issues which ultimately benefits your organization.

However, primary data possesses certain disadvantages too. You need to have a clear understanding of these so that you can figure out which data method you should adopt to perform your research and strategy making. Let’s have a look at the disadvantages now.

What are some of the disadvantages of Primary data?

What comes with pros has its own cons too. Similarly goes for these primary data. Primary data comes with a few disadvantages, that goes as follows below:

More expensive – It can be very expensive to collect primary data because you will have to start from the beginning. It means you have to follow the entire study procedure, organize the materials, follow the process etc.

Time-consuming – Collecting primary data from beginning to end can be very time taking. Often primary data collection takes longer time than secondary data research.

Primary data has limits – Primary data may be limited to the specific time, the number of participants in the sampling, the place etc. So, the limit factor somehow becomes its cons.

Not always possible– There can be many types of research that are just too large, and you won’t be able to perform them in your company.

What is Secondary data?

Secondary data is the already collected data. You may have collected it for another purpose but it does have some relevance to your research needs.

Also, unlike the primary data, secondary data is collected by someone else and not the one doing the research. So, secondary data is second-hand information.

What are the sources of Secondary data?

Secondary data gives you valuable analysis on the basis of primary data. So, the sources of secondary data is the primary data itself. 

The most popular sources of Secondary data or secondary data examples are:

  • Previous research
  • Mass media products
  • Government reports
  • Official statistics
  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Web information
  • Historical data
  • Encyclopedias
  • Journal articles
  • Biography
  • Research analysis etc.

primary and secondary data collection

What are the advantages of Secondary data?

There are many advantages you can derive when using secondary data for your marketing and business research. Here’s a list of those below:

The secondary data is easy to access: The secondary data sources are easy to access. With the internet revolution, it is impressive how secondary data sources are evolving. Now, you can have so much information at a mouse-click.

It is freely available or at a low cost: Most sources of secondary data are absolutely free for use or are available at very low costs. It is both money and effort saving. You can gather secondary data without investing any money.

Secondary data saves time: You can perform secondary research and derive secondary data examples without taking much time. In just a few Google searches, you will be able to find some credible sources of data.

It helps to generate new insights from a previous analysis: You can reanalyze your old data and bring an unexpected new point of views or even draw new conclusions from them.

Secondary data has a larger sample size: Because they use larger samples, so you can gather a better final conclusion. This makes your understanding of insights easier and helps to make decisions.

Anyone can collect the Secondary data: If you are not an expert, you can still perform secondary data analysis using qualitative research methods. So, absolutely anyone can go on with collecting these datasets.

What are some of the disadvantages of Secondary data?

Secondary data also comes with a few disadvantages. Knowing them will make you understand better if they work well for you or not. Let’s read them below:

Secondary data is not specific to your needs: Secondary data is the data that was previously collected data for another reason. So, it can be unreliable and not so useful in many marketing cases.

Low or no control over data quality: You will have no control of the secondary data quality. You need to examine the quality of secondary data since the source of information is not always true. You must know how reliable is your information by finding out on the source of information.

Secondary data is biased: The secondary data is collected by someone else and not you. So, it is biased favouring the person who collects it and not covers your requirements as a researcher or marketer.

Secondary data could be outdated: Secondary data is collected in the past, which means it might be out-of-date. And so, this limitation of it can be crucial in many different situations.

Not proprietary information: You don’t collect secondary data specifically for your company. Instead, it is freely available to many companies and your competitors also have access to the data. So, this has no proprietary information

Let’s see the Key Differences Between Primary and Secondary Data


Primary Data

Secondary Data

Refers to the data that originates from the researcher for the first time

It is the already existing data collected by other researchers previously.

Being the first-hand data, it is more reliable

Being derived or existing data,it is less reliable

It is real-time data

It is the data that corresponds to the past

Most suitable to achieve the objective

May or may not be suitable

Consumes time, cost & manpower

It is cost and time-saving

Researchers have control over the data

Little or no control over the data

Not freely or easily accessible to everyone

It is easily available to everyone, including competitors

It is the ‘raw data’

It is in refined form

Data is collected through observations, surveys,questionnaires, personal interviews, etc

Data collection occurs through books & journals, websites,government publications, etc

How does primary data and secondary data benefit the marketers?

The entire marketing process involves data-related activities. You need adequate, reliable, relevant and timely data for marketing problems and decision making. As a result, data collection requires a significant part of the research budget, efforts, and time.

So, how does all this really help you? How does primary and secondary data collection help marketers in marketing optimization and commercialization?

To know more, let’s dive in:

Tapping opportunities:

One prime benefit you get by conducting primary and secondary data research is that it helps you to learn various market opportunities and suitable audiences. It will redirect you to tap into them effectively and run effective campaigns using a DMP.

Encouraging communication:

Market research through primary and secondary data collection helps to find out the best way of communicating with customers. Survey, questionnaires, interview responses etc are few primary data examples that enforce clear communication for your market research and henceforth.

As a result, you can know the nature of your audience, personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. and this makes, in turn, makes it easy for you to reach the right audience at the right time and convert more.

Knowing marketing trends:

Primary and secondary datasets helps to know the market trends or movements of a market in a given period. This makes it easier to draw conclusions from these trends and make business-related decisions in a better way.

Market segmentation:

Primary and secondary data gives an idea of various segmentation of the market by collecting data pertaining to demographics, choices, genders, and personalities, etc. In this way, you have a clear concept of whom to target and how. So, segmentation and targeting become easier and accurate with this.

SWOT analysis:

 SWOT analysis deals with the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a business or company. Primary and Secondary data collection brings in the knowledge of each of these. When marketers have a clear concept of these, they can make perfectly suited strategies to attain desired results and gain optimization.

Brings about effective marketing:

Marketing effectiveness includes risk analysis, customer analysis, product research, and competitor analysis, etc. Primary and secondary data collection enables learning and analysis of the same. 

Minimization of the risks:

By performing interviews, surveys, information finding etc., primary and secondary data gives you a good idea of what properties to add and what to remove from your products and services so that the customers respond well and there is a low chance of turn offs.

Predicting market problems and outcomes:

Since the market research results into customer choices and preferences, their reactions,your business can alter the product while it is still in the initial phases or process. As a result, It is easier to predict problems and then work on them if you have the resultant primary and secondary data examples.


Data collection has the most desired outcomes for a marketer in terms of revenues. The data that you collect helps you to analyze and predict businesses.

Also it helps you to target well. This and everything else sums up into drawing more revenues from your data and data-driven decisions. Thus, primary and secondary data can boost businesses through data monetization and help your business tremendously.

Avoid these mistakes during primary and secondary data collection?

While doing data collection, you need to take care of a few things. Take a note of these and go ahead with your market research:

Do not collect ‘only the primary data’ – Businesses often mistake of spending time on primary data collection and forget that using secondary data sources could also bring benefits.

Secondary data offers some freely available data and statistics and eliminates extra time and resource wastage. So, don’t miss on collecting secondary data as well.

You should not collect ‘only the secondary data’Like we said for the primary data, similar goes for the secondary data as well. Do not make the mistake of collecting only the secondary data and neglecting the primary data.

Secondary data is off course time saving but primary data has its own perks. You get a fresh perspective with those data and a detailed insight into customer preferences and behavioural changes. So, primary data is vital too.

Do not trust the ‘web only’ for research- Truly, the web is the greatest database for a wide variety of data but simply relying on it could prove to be a big mistake for your market research.

This is because the internet might not offer complete and reliable information. So, you should keep in mind that you use more credible sources to collect data.


The type of data you choose can depend on many factors, including- why are you collecting data? What is the goal of the research? How much budget you can allocate for the data collection and implementation? On a total, what is the time you can give to the study and analytics?  What market outputs and revenues do you expect from this?

Considering all the said factors, you can decide on which data you need and how to go further. Either you can go for primary data or secondary data, or both as recommended. So, go ahead and employ data-driven activities into your marketing strategies and soar high-income opportunities for you.

So, how did you collect data for effectiveness in your business?

Did you use primary data or secondary data or both?

Let us know how…

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Sonali is a technical content writer who loves to blend her creativity with rational ideas of business and technology. She intends to keep it up with the digital trends and accommodate within herself the upcoming trades. She writes expert resource materials related to the Martech and adtech world. Previously worked as a banker, she has been a student of Economics and Human Resources. An ardent believer of Universe and optimism, she writes poetry and quotes to satiate her soul. Always keen about nature, travelling, music and photography.

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