Online Data-Gathering Tools

By Brian Teasley | Posted May 12, 2005

It's an amazing world. With the press of a button, we can gain access to all sorts of interesting, useful information.

Take the satellite photos Google now offers. They're amazing. (To check them out, go to Google Maps, enter your street address, and click "Satellite.") You'll find any number of interesting tools on the Internet that could help SMBs in building marketing plans. Below, I list some of my favorites.

PRIZM Data Online
Claritas's PRIZM segmentation system divides the U.S. into geographic areas, then uses demographic information about the area to describe it. The result is easy-to-understand demographics of an area.

To try system out, go to the handy online tool and enter your Zip code. PRIZM will describe the mix of people residing in area. Drill down to find out more about each PRIZM cluster, including demographic, lifestyle and income information.

PRIZM was developed to describe geographic areas. Use has now expanded to describe online users and to place ads appropriately in magazines and on TV and Web sites.

B2C and B2B Data
USADATA offers a tool that provides information about consumer lists and businesses. The tool lets you quickly determine how many consumers or businesses match the characteristics you want in a chosen geographic area. Though you don't get information specific to the businesses (data providers charge money for that), you do get an idea of how many businesses or consumers of your chosen type are in the selected area.

The consumer list tool lets you chose any geographic region in the U.S. and make your selections by income, age and many other characteristics. The business tool allows you to select businesses in different geographic areas.

When using the business tool, it helps to know about industry classification codes. Be familiar with the older Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC Codes) and the newer North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), developed jointly by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Where Are You?
Marketers looking to understand where their customers are located might want a map showing their locations. TopoZone's tool makes it easy to acquire latitude and longitude coordinates. Simply obtain your desired map and click on the screen. The tool gives the location's latitude and longitude.

What's Up?
Looking for archived and current information relevant to your topic? Check out these tools.

A Microsoft tool mines Usenet groups, allowing users to see which newsgroups are the most active. You can put filters on searches to make results more relevant. The service also scans each newsgroup and tells you other newsgroups that are immediately relevant to your chosen newsgroup.

Intelliseek's BlogPulse lets you see trends in blog and Usenet posts. You can find current trends or trendy stories. For example, did you hear about the guy who was arrested after paying his bill in $2 bills?

Brian Teasley is the leader of Teasley, a consultancy that helps advertisers, marketers and advertising agencies use data and analysis to improve their marketing campaigns. Brian has over 14 years experience in engineering and marketing, and has worked for numerous Fortune 100 companies. Brian also teaches a marketing course at New York University. He holds a M.S. degree in Applied Statistics from Iowa State University and a BA in Mathematics and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from St. Olaf College.

Adapted from ClickZ Experts, part of the ClickZ Network.

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