Some of the Best, Free Market Research I’ve Found Anywhere

I’ll admit it. I’m a research wonk. I love finding great resources for thorough, thoughtful research on all kinds of topics, but especially social trends—current and historic.

If you want to understand your market, and you don’t have deep pockets for your own research, and—not to knock the value and immediacy of surveying your “tribe” on Facebook or Twitter, because they are a great, free source of feedback—you want more in-depth, balanced insight into the factors affecting your marketing decisions, here’s a terrific free resource to investigate:

Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends
Staffed by veteran journalists and researchers, this nonpartisan “fact tank,” an independent subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trusts, offers reports and data analysis on a wide range of social and demographic trends.

Current reports explore topics as varied as the impact of the Recession on U.S. birth rates (more women are postponing pregnancy until the economy brightens), the growing wealth gap between seniors and adults under 35 (seniors are more prosperous than their counterparts 25 years ago, while younger adults are doing worse), and how military injuries impact veterans as they try to adjust to civilian life (physical and emotional consequences of serious war wounds last a lifetime for many).

The Pew Social and Demographic Trends website also includes a comprehensive series on how the Recession has affected spending and borrowing patterns among Americans of all economic and ethnic backgrounds, a close look at the Millennial Generation (teens and twenties), and a series about social shifts over the past 50 years away from marriage toward new family forms.

Any one of those trends suggest a wealth of possibilities for developing new market niches to serve an emerging client base. The research is readable, insightful and balanced. Well worth a couple of hours of reading, whether you’re searching for specific information on a subject relevant to your existing market, or looking for inspiration for a new opportunity. Happy hunting!


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