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professional publishers or contract researchers.
For general demographic data about a local area, if you have no easier source, ask the reference desk
at a local library. A local university library is even better, particularly a business library. Chambers of
Commerce usually have general information about a local market. In the United States, there is the
federal government’s U.S. Census Bureau. Nowadays the quickest route to the census bureau is their
Internet website at www.census.gov.
Before the Internet became so ubiquitous, I frequently turned to vendors of mailing lists for general
information about people and types of business. The mailing list vendors often have catalogs listing
total numbers of types of people and types of business. For example, to ﬁnd out how many attorneys
or CPA ofﬁces there are in the United States, I might look at the lists for sale at a list broker. CHAPTER 10: KNOW YOUR MARKET 10.3 Magazines provide another good source of demographics. If you’re selling to computer stores, for
example, call Computer Retail Week and Computer Reseller News and ask both publications for a media
kit. The media kit is intended to sell pages of advertising to potential advertisers. They are frequently
full of demographics on the readers. For information on any speciﬁc type of business, get the media
kits for the magazines that cater to those types of businesses as readers.
Just browsing the Census Bureau website while preparing this draft, it took me about 10 minutes
to discover that my home county has 378 general contractors, of which 360 have fewer than 20
employees and the remaining 18 have between 20 and 100. There are 238 legal businesses in my
county, of which only 12 have more than 20 employees. Also, following the shoe store example, there
are 32 shoe stores in the county, none of them having more than 20 employees. There are 111,000
households in the county, 61 percent of them owner occupied, and an average of 2.49 people per
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- Winter '09