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The same market research companies that define marketing opportunities for large corporations can also provide significant assistance for public health programs. These data sets collected on consumers can provide buying habits, media preferences, and other demographics helpful for allocation of funds and health campaign targets. Though the cost of this data can be high, the value could greatly outweigh the investment.
Market research provides information including the number and types of individuals in a population, their buying and activity habits, media preferences, and other valuable data for creating profiles. Using this information, an agency can determine where a program should be implemented, what avenues to pursue for targeting, and help to measure the response rate.
As an example of this effort, a local health department may want to work toward a tobacco-free community. This data can provide the number and characteristics of tobacco users as well as their preferences in use. Additionally, common channels used by these users can be identified including magazine, radio, and television preferences for targeted advertising. In this way, health programs can ensure that their message is delivered to their target demographic affording the best chance of response.