For core marketing activities such as design, pricing, promotion and distribution, data helps. Data tells you what do make, for whom, how much to charge, and where your audience can be found.
But data can be expensive to buy and even more expensive, in both time and money, to generate on your own. As a social and public sector marketer, you likely don’t have that time and money, or maybe even the tools and skills for generating data sets.
Government agencies generate a lot of data each year, and as a taxpayer you’re already paying for it. Finding that data, however, has been a challenge.
The executive branch of the U.S. government is now publishing free data sets on Data.gov. The site currently lists more than 180,000 publicly available data sets.
As the site’s About page states, “Under the terms of the 2013 Federal Open Data Policy, newly generated government data is required to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while continuing to ensure privacy and security.”
Categories of interest in marketing include
For instance, if you’re working on anti-poverty issues, you could check out the Qualified Census Tracts, which shows where at least 50% of households have an income less than 60% of the Area Median Gross Income.
In addition to being free, these data sets are also assembled by professionals and can be independently verified by anyone who wants to audit your work.
It’s not just columns of numbers, either. You can find some great images to use in designs. For instance, check out NASA visualizations, which can be found through Data.gov. Also find EarthExplorer, which lets you find and download satellite imagery.
With 180,000+ items available, you’ll need to spend some time searching for exactly what you want. But that’s easier than creating our own data or working even more to raise the money to buy data. Take some time today to browse Data.gov.