The U.S. Census collects data on persons living in the United States and five U.S. territories. This data is crucial to business owners, teachers, lawmakers, and others to provide support, services, and products to each community. The census also determines the number of seats the state will have in the House of Representatives. Each year, the government disburses funding towards schools, roads, hospitals, and more based on the data collected from the census. This article will look at how as a marketer or potential business owner, the census information can be utilized to develop business and marketing strategies. Three uses of census data in marketing strategies are:
- Locating potential business sites – The U.S. census data can allow marketers to find and compare potential business sites. For example, an entrepreneur decides to open up a food truck catering mainly Cuban food to young persons. The Census Business Builder (CBB) – Small Business Edition offers a barrage of services that allow you to access this demographic and economic data in a readily accessible and simplified format. This suite of services is primarily geared towards small or startup businesses so that they can better understand their potential market. The information available in the census data can allow marketers to segment the data by factors such as nationality (in this example, Cubans), race, age (using the example you may look at the younger demographic), marital status, housing status and more within various areas which you can then compare to see the best site for your business.
- Developing customer profile – The first step in marketing a business is to define the target and develop a customer profile. Census data can provide insights into how the site chosen, is made up, insights such as; population by age range, population by ethnicity, and total population. Marketers can gain insights into the customers’ socioeconomic and housing characteristics, such as their levels of education, average household size and rent, and average employment rate. Lastly, marketers can view data relating to the spending habits of the consumers within the market so they can see the types of products and services mainly consumed in that area, which can guide the business in terms of the types of goods and services provided. Using this information, as a business owner, changing needs can be identified and adapted to for the success of the business. For example, if an entrepreneur started a company specializing in luxury anti-aging skincare, they would target a location that has a more mature age demographic; however, they would also want to learn more about the people who live in that area. What are their spending habits? How many of them are on a fixed income? What is their socioeconomic standing? Once they have gathered all this data, they can develop a customer profile so that the business owner or marketer knows as much as possible about the potential customers so that they can reach them through targeted advertising or marketing campaigns.
- Identifying potential areas of opportunity – The Census Business Builder (CBB) – Regional Analyst Edition gives you a broad picture of the businesses and people in a specific area. Marketers and business owners can access demographic data specific to their industry, data regarding business patterns, and the number of establishments in that industry within that region. With that information, a business looking to expand in terms of size can locate areas with higher concentrations of their target. Another area of opportunity may be in the formulation of new products. Census data can be utilized by marketing researchers to study other broad demographics and formulating products in order to meet their demands and expand the offerings of the company. For example, a company that started in luxury anti-aging skincare may utilize census data to develop a new product line for younger working-class persons who may have issues such as tiredness affecting their skin and not necessarily in need of anti-aging formulas.
The U.S. Census data provides a wealth of free data at http://www.census.gov, thanks to the U.S. government. The U.S. Census tells businesses not only how many people live in a specific area but also a vast amount of demographic data such as ethnicity and income, which is of value to their business development. As a consumer, the census has an incredible impact on the offerings of the community. The census influences the types of stores located nearby, and how products and services are marketed in that area. As a marketer or business owner, take advantage of the information in the census with business-specific data to better target marketing efforts and to develop the business’ segment, thus increasing return on investment (ROI).