Last night I had the opportunity to speak briefly in a moderated panel about Marketing & Story Telling with a slant toward the businesses of the creative economy. It was a stellar group of fellow professionals – Jeff Bard, Bard Integrated Marketing; Julia C. Campbell, and Gordon Plutsky, VP Marketing at Digital Bungalow. Since there was a lot to cover, we divided & conquered across the marketing spectrum. I chose to speak about Market Research (both primary and secondary) because secondary research is least discussed tool that may be getting lost as “searching” becomes easier. But do we really want Google to figure it all out for us? As an English/History joint concentration in college, I had a long love affair with the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature . The Guide began in 1901. [in writing this article, I also found a Reader’s Guide Retrospective hosted by EBSCO going back to 1890] Not to mention, hours spent up and down the aisles of libraries, often picking up reading material and only tangentially related to my search, but opening my eyes to new learning and new directions. To use the Readers Guide or even the Enyclopedia Brittanica’s Macropedia, there was a certain discipline in thinking through the topics that might allow to achieve your research mission. I often chose obtuse topics such as Anti-Semitism in 20th Century American Black Literature (my English/History thesis in college) which challenged my research abilities. Today’s “free” literature online comes with a high price. Someone likely sponsored it or is advertising in it. It takes considerable thought to dig out unbiased studies and thought leadership. In my opinion, all research should begin with a map and a matrix to be sure you cover all your bases and can understand the gaps – sometimes what you don’t see is just as important as what you do see. And remember, there are still some fabulous resources available through university libraries and public libraries thanks to EBSCO and its peers. Primary Research can be very exciting, informative, and important, especially as an artist, but we will save that for a future post!