There are lots of free and cheap ways to learn how to use all sorts of analysis programs. SAS and many others have university editions which are cheap or free for students. There are other programs where you can get trial licenses or even freeware versions. There are training programs or free videos on youtube that can get you started. You can take this beginner level knowledge, utilize the free or cheap versions with the multitude of free data sets out there and with some advice from forums teach yourself what you need to know.
None of that is true for syndicated data. Without a license to use Nielsen or IRI there is no way to get started. Sorry.
The analysis programs or software packages are in the business of selling a capability. More people knowing how to use their programs make their programs more valuable. (This is similar to the network effect you seen in social media) Their incentive is to help you learn. There are lots of programs out there that are quite good, and even more that are passably good. Competition makes for a better user environment.
Nielsen & IRI on the other hand only compete with each other. Their incentive is to keep companies signed up for their services, and to sell them ever more services. They will sell training for employees, or even throw them in as part of the licensing agreement. They’re happy to sell you custom analysis if you don’t want to hire your own analysts. They don’t compete on capabilities or quality, they compete on access. Do you want Kroger data? Then you need IRI, they don’t sell to Nielsen. The same goes for other retailers at Nielsen.
My company has licenses, how do I get started?
First, your company’s BI team should be able to get you started with some training from Nielsen or IRI on their setup. They make their money from the licenses, which are a TON of money, so they need to keep the company happy. Your company may have some custom databases or builds (once again, more money…custom is synonymous with expensive in the tech/data world) and this is the only way to learn about them.
Once you have done that, there is a fantastic website that walks you through tons of CPG data topics. That site is CPG Data Insights. Robin and Sally really know their stuff, and they explain things simply and effectively. I use them all the time and am on their mailing list. I recommend you do the same if you use syndicated data.
Have you found other resources for learning to use syndicated data? Please share them below if you know of others.