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How to Write the Customer Analysis Section of Your Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

explaining customer demographics

What is a Customer Analysis?

The customer analysis section which incorporates the essential steps of writing a business plan step-by-step is a key component of your business plan and assesses the customer segments your company serves. The objective of the customer analysis is to justify your market choice, identify differentiators, and prioritize the segments you are targeting.

Components of a Customer Analysis

A complete customer analysis contains 3 primary sections:

  • Identify your target customers
  • Convey the needs of these customers
  • Show how your products and/or services satisfy these needs

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Why Conduct a Customer Analysis?

A thorough customer analysis provides the following benefits:

  • Supports your market choice and helps you avoid entering too broad a market
  • Helps you focus on serving current customers rather than trying to find new ones
  • Enables you to determine which segments to prioritize and how much effort to put into each one
  • Helps you craft a strategic marketing plan and platform to reach these customer segments

How to Write Your Customer Analysis

The first step of the customer analysis is to define exactly which customers the company is serving. This requires specificity. It is not adequate to say the company is targeting small businesses, for example, because there are several million of these types of customers. Rather, an expert business plan writer must identify precisely the customers it is serving, such as small businesses with 10 to 50 employees based in large metropolitan cities on the West Coast.

When defining your target market, be sure to identify the following:

  • The market segment you are choosing to serve (i.e., age range, annual income, etc.)
  • The geographic location of these customers (i.e., city, region, state)
  • What is the average revenues/income of these customers?

Once the plan has clearly identified and defined the company’s target customers and the customer demographics, it is necessary to determine the size of your target market: How many potential customers fit the given definition and is this customer base growing or decreasing?

Next, the business plan must detail these customers’ needs. Conveying customer needs could take the form of past actions (X% have purchased a similar product in the past), future projections (when interviewed, X% said that they would purchase product/service Y), and/or implications (because X% use a product/service which our product/service enhances/replaces, then X% need our product/service).

Prioritize the needs of your target customer according to how critical they are, and include a description of each in your customer analysis. Be sure to answer questions such as: 

  • What pain points do these customers have? How is their current situation lacking? 
  • What will your product/service do to help solve these problems?

The business plan customer analysis must also detail the drivers of customer decision-making. Sample questions to answer include:

  • Do the customers find price to be more important than the quality of the product or service?
  • Are customers looking for the highest level of reliability, or will they have their own support and just seek a basic level of service?
  • Why will customers purchase your product and/or service rather than look for cheaper alternatives?

Prioritize the benefits of your products and services according to how much difference they make for customers and include a description of each in your customer analysis. Be sure to answer questions such as:

  • What does your product do? How is it unique or better than other similar products?
  • What type of customer could benefit the most from this feature/benefit and why?

Be sure to also show an understanding of the actual decision-making process. Examples of questions to be answered here include:

  • Will the customer consult others in their organization/family before making a decision?
  • Will the customer seek multiple bids?
  • Will the product/service require significant operational changes (e.g., will the customer have to invest time to learn new technologies, and will the product/service cause other members within the organization to lose their jobs? etc.)

Finally, identify each segment you are targeting and how much effort you will put into reaching them. Be sure to answer questions such as:

  • How many customers are in each segment and how much revenue will they generate?
  • What percentage of total industry sales does this represent?
  • What market potential did we estimate for each segment and how does that compare with actual sales? Include the number of leads converted and average deal size.

Example Customer Analysis Template for a Candle Making Company

The needs of this customer segment are that they are looking for high-quality candles that are made with all-natural ingredients. The benefits of their product that are most important to them are that the candles are vegan, eco-friendly, and made with essential oils. Drivers of customer purchase decisions include quality, price, and unique offerings. The company’s target market size is 750,000 people which represent a significant portion of the candle industry. They will put effort into reaching these customers through online advertising, social media posts, and word-of-mouth.

It is essential to truly understand customers to develop a successful business and marketing plan. That’s why including a customer analysis in your business plan is so crucial. Likewise, sophisticated investors require comprehensive profiles of a company’s target customers. By spending the time researching and analyzing customers in your target market, you will develop both enhance your business strategy and funding success.

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Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan

How to Write a Great Business Plan Executive Summary How to Expertly Write the Company Description in Your Business Plan How to Write the Market Analysis Section of a Business Plan Completing the Competitive Analysis Section of Your Business Plan The Management Team Section of Your Business Plan Financial Assumptions and Your Business Plan How to Create Financial Projections for Your Business Plan Best Business Plan Software Everything You Need to Know about the Business Plan Appendix Business Plan Conclusion: Summary & Recap

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

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6 Real-Life Target Audience Examples to Help You Define Your Own (B2B and B2C)

Target audience research allows you to better understand your potential customer(s) and their underlying pain points.

The more you drill down into your high-value audience groups through strategic market segmentation, the closer you are to your next sale.

Learn the ins and outs of target marketing with plenty of examples to inform your strategy.

What Is a Target Audience?

How a target audience differs from a buyer persona, how psychographic and demographic data informs marketing campaigns.

  • How To Analyze and Define Your Target Audience

Do Target Audiences Vary by Channel?

3 b2b target audience examples.

  • 3 B2C Target Audience Examples

A target audience is a group of consumers within a predefined target market that has been identified as the best recipients for a particular marketing message. And a target market broadly describes B2C or B2B consumers who care about your product or service and, under the right conditions, are most likely to spend money with your company.

An audience is a segment within that market.

For example, the target market for an online bookkeeping tool might include businesses with over $500K in annual revenue.

So a target audience profile for our bookkeeping program might be technology stakeholders with influence on decision-makers at companies that haven’t reviewed their accounting software needs in over two years. It’s much more specific than our target market, which is important because we can craft content marketing collateral that speaks directly to the challenges and needs of this influential group.

To create effective messaging within your marketing campaigns, you first need to define your target audience.

When marketers try to appeal to the broadest possible audience for their products and services, they often end up feeling exhausted without much to show for their efforts. Their messaging seems inauthentic and doesn’t really resonate with anyone in particular.

To create effective messaging within your marketing campaigns, you first need to define your target audience. Doing so will help you engage key decision-makers and eventually convert them into loyal customers.

At this point, you might be asking, “Isn’t that just a buyer persona?” And while the two concepts are similar, they are distinct enough to warrant further discussion.

A buyer persona is a fictional character who represents one of your ideal customers . They have names, occupations, likes and dislikes, as well as challenges and ambitions.

While target audiences are valuable tools for many types of content marketing campaigns, buyer personas tend to be more useful in a B2B context, because they focus on challenges and business information. For example, a B2C company that sells protein bars would not need to create multiple personas, because people from many backgrounds and with varying job titles might purchase their products.

In a B2B context, targeting personas can be extremely valuable, especially when employing content marketing strategies. A SaaS company might create personas for each stakeholder involved in the buying process, for instance. An HR persona might be interested in blog content that addresses common pain points, while a CFO persona would be more interested in white papers with lots of data.

Personas aren’t entirely without value to B2C marketers, however. They can serve as useful guides when crafting messages to engage and inform consumers.

A persona typically includes:

  • Personal information: Name, age and geographic location.
  • Content preferences: Favorite channels, content formats, tone and style.
  • Business background information: Job title, level of influence in decision making processes.
  • Objectives: Measurable goals related to the persona’s job.
  • Challenges: Frustrations and pain points standing in the way of the persona’s goals.

Your target audiences should be informed by both demographic and psychographic information. The former category describes your intended audience on a superficial level, while the latter describes their motivations.

  • Demographics may include cursory information such as gender, age, income and marital status.
  • Psychographics include personal interests, attitudes, values, desires and specific behaviors.

When defining and targeting an audience, demographics will only get you so far. For example, if you’re promoting a B2B SaaS solution, your specific audience may be made up of men and women ages 35-49 who earn more than $100,000 annually. That’s all good information to have, but it applies to too broad of a cohort.

Psychographic data for this specific audience could include: worrying about lost resources throughout a supply chain, wanting to eliminate redundancies, or being skeptical of flashy new technology.

Combined, demographic and psychographic information can help you fine-tune your audience targeting goals.

Combined, demographic and psychographic information can help you fine-tune your audience targeting goals. The challenge is where to find this data. Psychographic research may include interviewing existing clients, conducting polls and analyzing your site traffic.

How to Analyze and Define Your Target Audience

Defining the target audience for a particular marketing campaign requires data. Unfortunately, there isn’t a crystal ball that can tell you how to adjust your messages to bring in the right audience. But that’s not to say you can’t trust your gut.

You know your business better than anyone, so combine that experience with hard data to generate a market segment and target audience that is characteristically human, and also strategically defined by scientifically gathered data.

example of target customers in business plan

A Three-Step Approach To Defining A Target Audience

1. Conduct target customer research

Your business plan, content marketing strategy, professional experience and prior knowledge of your target customers will lay the foundation for your research. Compile all of your existing intelligence on your target market, and look for opportunities to learn more about it. For example, you might know that most of your customers are senior-level business people, but you may not know if they all have the same job title, or if they all consume content through the same channels.

To uncover key audience insights, use Google Analytics to drill down into your site traffic and perform a deep audience analysis. Custom audience reports can show you demographic and psychographic data, geographic locations as well as the types of technology your site visitors use.

2. Analyze the market

Once you know a little more about your target customers and have compared that data with your business process or goals, it’s time to get some context. Not only are you attempting to place the right messages in front of the right people at the right time, but you’re also competing with potentially thousands of other messages.

Review your competitors’ marketing efforts and business plans to better understand what you’re up against. Likewise, you’ll want to be aware of any other campaigns your business is currently running, as you don’t want to cannibalize your share of audience attention.

3. Define the audience

With hard data in tow and a thorough understanding of your audience’s interests, challenges and needs, it’s time to create a concise target audience to which you can direct your content marketing efforts.

Ask yourself these questions as you work to define your target audience:

  • What problems does your product or service solve?
  • Which demographic characteristics influence the decision-making process?
  • Which psychographic traits impact content consumption?
  • How does your audience prefer to engage with brands similar to yours?
  • Is your audience segment large enough?

That last question is particularly important, because it will prevent you from sinking resources into ultra-niche campaigns with low ROI. Niche marketing is certainly a useful tactic, but your target audiences should represent a group large enough to reach through social and organic channels.

3-step approach to defining target audience

Knowing your intended audience is only one half of the equation. The next step in the target audience analysis process is to determine where this group consumes content so you can develop an actionable marketing strategy.

Depending on the demographic and psychographic data you’ve collected, some channels will be more effective at engaging your intended audience than others. For instance, some decision-makers in a market segment may be more likely to open an email than to click on a social media ad.

Within channels, a specific audience may prefer unique platforms. B2B buyers are more inclined to seek out information on LinkedIn than Instagram, for example.

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(Keep in mind the following custom audiences are meant to inform specific campaign messages! These companies may have different audience segments for other targeting efforts. Each example is based on a real client I’ve worked with.)

1. Bookkeeping SaaS Solution

Key demographics

  • Age range: 35-49.
  • Gender: 65% male, 35% female.
  • Common job titles: Head of Digital, Senior Accountant, Chief Financial Officer.

Key psychographics

  • Values job security.
  • Likes to review all the data before making a decision.
  • Striving for a better work-life balance.
  • Skeptical of solutions that promise to solve all their problems.
  • Their current digital solution is showing its age.
  • Current lack of third-party integration is slowing down internal processes.
  • Boss/shareholder demands are making work stressful.

Preferred channels

  • Email for first contact, then phone conversations.
  • Browses social media platforms like LinkedIn , mostly looking for news.

Preferred content types

  • Data-rich white papers.
  • Case studies.

target audience examples - example 1

2. Business Travel Company

  • Age range: 30-55.
  • Gender: 70% female, 30% male.
  • Common job titles: Procurement Officer, Travel Buyer, Supplier Relations Expert.
  • Values relationships when working with suppliers.
  • Dislikes working on repetitive, mundane tasks.
  • Is wary of handing off responsibilities to a third party.
  • Suppliers fail to deliver on promised rates.
  • Doesn’t have enough data to make informed decisions.
  • Not familiar with ground-level travel concerns.
  • Looks for answers via organic search.
  • Communicates with other procurement professionals on social media platforms.
  • Easily digestible blog posts.

target audience examples - example 2

3. Facility Security Services

  • Age range: 45-60.
  • Gender: 80% male, 20% female.
  • Common job titles: Facility Manager, Head of Security.
  • Doesn’t like drawn-out negotiations.
  • Likes to be prepared for everything; gets nervous when things are uncertain.
  • Prefers to get pitches from two or three companies before making a decision.
  • Needs to save costs, but isn’t willing to sacrifice quality of service.
  • Needs a third-party supplier with technology integrations.
  • Email for marketing materials.
  • Blogs and news sites for industry trends.
  • Data-rich infographics.
  • Email newsletters.

target audience examples - example 3

B2C Target Audience Examples

4. athletic shoes.

  • Age range: 18-29
  • Gender: 60% male, 40% female
  • Wants to look stylish, but doesn’t like to follow trends.
  • Looks up to sports figures.
  • Strongly values friendships and community.
  • Loyal to one or two athletic brands.
  • Finding athletic footwear that is both stylish and comfortable.
  • Loves the look of designer sneakers, but can’t afford them.
  • Follows athletes and influencers on social media.
  • Watches sponsored events on YouTube.
  • Looks for exercise tips on Google.
  • Social media posts.
  • Image-rich articles.

target audience examples -example 4

5. Organic Protein Bars

  • Age range: 18-35.
  • Gender: 50% female, 50% male.
  • Strives to eat food that is nutritious and sustainable, but isn’t always successful.
  • Loves to hang out with friends in nature.
  • Feels loyalty toward brands with values similar to their own.
  • Finds it difficult to eat healthy food when they’re busy.
  • Has a limited food budget.
  • Needs a protein source that is compact and easy to transport.
  • Follows nature photography accounts on Instagram.
  • Watches supplement reviews on YouTube.
  • Follows health gurus on Twitter.
  • Event marketing.

target audience examples - example 5

6. Credit Union Mortgage Products

  • Age range: 25-39.
  • Gender: 50% male, 50% female.
  • Enjoys spending time with friends and family at home.
  • Tries to spend their money wisely, but isn’t always sure how to do that.
  • Craves stability, but fears another economic recession.
  • Feels anxious every time they think about having a mortgage.
  • Is thinking about mortgages for the first time ever.
  • Unclear on the difference between a bank and a credit union.
  • Reads online news sites.
  • Downloads how-to guides online.
  • Watches home-hunting videos on YouTube.

target audience examples - example 6

When you have well-defined, custom audiences informed by strong research, you can stop waiting for buyers to stumble upon your brand and start actively pursuing them with precise messaging.

example of target customers in business plan

Editor’s note: Updated November 2021.

example of target customers in business plan

By Michael O'Neill

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A step-by-step guide to creating your target customer profile

example of target customers in business plan

Director of Product Marketing at 7shifts

Table of Contents

At some point, you’ll likely struggle with not understanding who your core target customer(s) are.

One powerful strategy that’ll help you on this journey is actually something you might be doing already: customer segmentation. This process involves dividing your customer base into distinct groups based on specific criteria, thus facilitating a clearer definition of your target customer profile.

However, creating target segments requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. 

In the comprehensive guide, I’ll take you through a step-by-step process to create effective target customer segments for your business. From gathering data and defining segments to leveraging insights, you’ll walk away with the knowledge and tools necessary to establish a deeper connection with your target customer profiles, ultimately driving meaningful results.

It's crucial to note that the successful implementation of this strategy hinges on having a product-market fit backed by sufficient data. 

Now, having covered the essential practice of customer segmentation for a comprehensive audience understanding, let's begin by exploring the key differences between a target consumer profile, an ideal customer profile, and a buyer persona. Understanding the nuances between these terms is vital for crafting effective go-to-market (GTM) strategies that cater to specific customer needs and preferences.

Target Customer Profile vs. Ideal Customer Profile vs. Buyer Persona

Target and ideal customer profiles are often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings. While a target consumer profile focuses on identifying several potential customers, an ideal customer profile represents one you're targeting. 

Buyer persona complements both types of customer profiles.  

example of target customers in business plan

Having clarified these terms, let's explore how each contributes to a robust GTM strategy.

Target Consumer Profile

Target customer profiling provides a foundational understanding of the audience your SaaS business aims to reach.

It's a broad classification that outlines various segments within the overall market. This profile focuses on identifying different types of potential customers based on demographics, geographic location, industry, company size, and other general factors. 

Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

In contrast, an ideal customer profile represents a more refined and specific subset within the target consumer profile. It goes beyond basic demographics to include criteria that make a customer an ideal fit for a company's offerings.

When developing an ICP, businesses use insights from their target consumer profile to identify a customer's most valuable and desirable characteristics. This helps concentrate efforts on customers who are not only part of the broader target but are also the most likely to derive significant value from the products or services.

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona complements both the target and ideal customer profiles. It is a detailed and semi-fictional representation of an individual within the broader audience.

This specific contact is the focus when prospecting, and the buyer persona helps understand customers better.

SaaS businesses can tailor their content, messaging, and product development to meet specific needs and interests by delving into the persona's demographics, behaviors, and concerns.

Buyer personas contribute depth and specificity to the target consumer profile, aiding in the creation of an ideal customer profile by identifying the attributes that make a customer an ideal fit.

The impact of defining your target customer

Defining a target customer provides a crystal-clear understanding of who your SaaS product is trying to serve. This, in turn, empowers your company to strategically tailor your marketing, product development, and customer service efforts. Doing so, ultimately, leads to stronger acquisition, retention, and monetization .

The impact of defining your target customer profile manifests in several key benefits, including: 

Improved marketing messaging

Craft a compelling value proposition that resonates with your core target customer. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can tailor your marketing messages to directly address their customer pain points, fostering a stronger connection and engagement.

A more focused product roadmap

Utilize target customer profiles to inform and prioritize your product development roadmap . By honing in on your core customer's specific pain points and requirements, you can ensure that your product enhancements are aligned with their expectations, resulting in a more focused and impactful customer experience.

Pricing undefined packaging

Develop a well-defined pricing strategy by building product tiers that bundle the most relevant features for your target customer. This approach ensures that your pricing and packaging align with the perceived value of your core audience, maximizing monetization opportunities while providing tailored solutions.

Understanding the impact of defining your target customer, let's now explore the practical methods to achieve this through customer segmentation and buyer personas.

Two methods that help define your target customer

The two methods that help define your target customers are:

  • Customer segmentation
  • Buyer personas

Let’s dive deeper into these concepts and how to choose when to use them.

1. Customer segmentation 

Through quantitative data analysis, customer segmentation divides the company's customer base into distinct groups or segments based on shared characteristics such as demographics, behavior, or purchasing habits.

The segmentation is like dividing your party guests into general categories, such as children, teenagers, adults, and seniors. Doing so helps you understand each group's different needs and preferences, allowing you to plan activities, select music, and arrange the party layout accordingly.

2. Buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of the company's ideal customer. 

They are based on qualitative insights from market/ customer research and are used to create a detailed profile of your target customer.

A buyer persona represents a fictional yet highly detailed profile.

Example of buyer personas

For instance, within the adult segment, you might have the following:

  • A buyer persona named "Adventurous Annie" loves outdoor activities, values sustainability, and enjoys trying new foods. 
  • Another persona, "Busy Bob," might be a professional seeking convenience and time-saving solutions.

The 5-step framework to create target customer segments

Let's break down this 5-step framework that will guide you from defining segmentation criteria to sharing impactful target customer profiles across your SaaS organization.

Step 1: Define segmentation criteria

Choosing the right profiling segmentation criteria is a bit of art and science based on the stage of your business. The goal should be finding a way to segment the base that creates differentiation between each customer profile.

The first step is to determine the criteria to segment your customers. It could include demographics, psychographic traits, or behavioral characteristics.

The goal is to define a set of criteria to segment your user base.

Depending on the size of the company, there are two methods you can use:

  • First Principles: Use a set of criteria to segment your base (e.g., business industry, annual revenue, # of employees).
  • Correlation analysis : see what characteristics have a strong connection.

SaaS example

Say you’re a B2B SaaS company that targets SMBs. Based on past analysis and customer research, you have decided the best way to segment your customer base is by the business industry.

So, you define grouping customer segments by the following:

  • Field service businesses (e.g., landscaping, trades, etc.)
  • Knowledge-based businesses (e.g., consultants, marketing agencies)
  • Retail service businesses (e.g., hair undefined nail salons)
  • E-commerce businesses (e.g., Shopify store)
  • Retail product businesses (e.g. bakeries, restaurants)

This will then inform your data analysis by grouping your customers into these five categories.

With the criteria established, let's move on to the next step — conducting a segmentation analysis to derive meaningful insights from your customer base.

Step 2: Conduct segmentation analysis

This next step is conducting your analysis by segmenting your customer base into distinct groups based on how you defined your segmentation criteria (see step #1).

Doing so ensures you get the data you need by each segment and analyze for clear themes.

Data spreadsheet organization

To get started, you want to dump data into spreadsheets, each tab being a specific customer profile. Each tab should list specific behavioral data points and define how large the customer segment is within your user base.

The spreadsheet should include the following:

  • Clearly defined customer segments
  • The size of each segment within your customer base
  • Specific behavior data points for each customer segment

Let’s continue with our example.

SaaS example 

Picture you are a B2B invoicing SaaS company. Your customer profiles are based on business industries, and now you want to overlay your in-product data for each segment.

This would include data points such as:

  • Number of invoices sent
  • Number of customers they have
  • The size of the invoice amount
  • Number of methods they get paid by
  • Monthly revenue from invoices

Step 3: Overlay demographic data across customer segments

The next step in this segmentation process is to overlay the demographic data you collect on each user. 

Adding in demographic data makes these customer profiles more actionable for employees in the company to use because you can start to put a face to a name.

Collecting data in SaaS onboarding 

Much of the data collected by SaaS companies at onboarding is demographic-related and starts to put a face to your customer segments. This data might include their industry, annual revenue, number of employees, how many years they have been in business, etc.

To illustrate, consider Shopify’s use of a multi-step signup process. 

On the initial page, users are prompted to provide three essential pieces of information about their e-commerce business.

Shopify's example of segmentation in the onboarding process

Upon completion of these initial fields, the next page appears with ten additional questions related to the business - that offer great customer profile data.

Shopify's segmentation in the user onboarding experience

The strategic aim is to integrate this collected data into each previously defined customer segment. By doing so, each segment's impact is heightened by including behavioral and demographic insights.

The subsequent step involved adding demographic data (e.g., annual revenue, number of employees, business age, etc.) into the five customer segments we created.

Step 4: Build your target customer profiles

Now that you have finished your data exercise, the next step is to build out these customer profiles into an artifact.

The goal is to build an artifact so that anyone at your company can easily understand who your customer segments are.

Create a PDF or slide deck

The best way to do this is to create a PDF or slide deck that showcases each customer segment.

These customer segments should include the following:

  • Name of each customer segment
  • Photo of them
  • Description of who they are
  • Key demographic data points
  • Key behavior data points

example of target customers in business plan

Make your artifact 

Our next step is to create our five customer segments with a designer's help to create a visually appealing artifact that people can easily understand.

I have included a template you can use here .

Step 5: Share your target customer profiles

Our final step is to share the artifact across the company to get people to understand how to use it.

Getting teams to understand how to use this artifact is critical to driving internal adoption. The best way to do this is the following:

  • Present these customer segments at an all hands.
  • Include this artifact as part of new hiring/onboarding training.

Getting all teams to understand how to apply the insights from the customer segmentation artifact is essential.

The two ways to apply the customer segmentation artifact include: 

  • Marketing teams can use this to help target better, brainstorm new channels to acquire, and improve their positioning/messaging on their website.
  • Product teams can use this to help prioritize the most critical product features for each of their segments.

Regularly revisit and refine your target customer profiles

Your customer segments are constantly changing as the SaaS company scales, but completing this initiative will help the entire org make better decisions to drive more revenue for any PLG company. 

You should be revisiting your customer segments every six to 12 months.

Creating target customer segments is a strategic process that can significantly enhance your marketing efforts and customer engagement.

With a well-defined and data-driven approach to customer segmentation, you'll be better equipped to deliver personalized experiences, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately achieve your business goals. 

Start implementing my five-step framework today, and unlock the power of target customer profiles to elevate your business strategy. Then, continue on your journey of building your product-led business, be sure to check out the ProductLed GTM System™️ . This free framework shows you step-by-step how to drive predictable, profitable growth for 7-figure product-led businesses – without the chaos and overwhelm that most founders deal with.

Learn the nine components of the ProductLed System now!  

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How to Write a Customer Analysis Section for Your Business Plan

Customer Analysis Template

Free Customer Analysis Template

Ayush Jalan

  • February 12, 2024

Customer Analysis_ Step-by-step Guide Understanding Your Customer

A successful business idea equips customers with the tools necessary to help them reach their goals and fulfill their needs—professional or personal. To create such products and services that meet (and exceed) your customers’ expectations, you need to study their personas via customer analysis.

Customer analysis is a vital part of your business plan that helps you identify, define, and understand your customer base. Analyzing your customers is also crucial for creating a successful marketing plan as it helps you communicate better with your customers.

In this article, you will learn how to conduct a customer analysis section for your business plan paired with a customer analysis example to help you create customer personas to study their personality traits, goals, challenges they face, and more.

What Is Customer Analysis?

Customer analysis is a comprehensive understanding of your customer base. It helps identify and describe your ideal customer. Through this in-depth analysis, you determine their needs, challenges, goals, and other important considerations. Given this info, it then helps you understand how effectively your products cater to them.

It further helps you optimize your strategic marketing process to create targeted advertisements, customize and prioritize specific features during product development, and make adjustments in your current business plan to align with your customer’s ever-changing demands.

How to Write a Customer Analysis Section

Writing a customer analysis includes extensive research and collecting data from various sources. This data consists of qualitative and quantitative aspects which help you write an accurate customer analysis for your business plan.

Steps to create customer analysis for your business plan

Writing a customer analysis has four main steps:

Step 1: Identify your customers

The primary step is to identify your potential customers and define their specific characteristics about them. The attained factual information is segmented into the following categories:

  • Demographic: Age, gender, income
  • Geographic: Location, type of area (Rural, suburban, urban)
  • Psychographic: Values, interests, beliefs, personality, lifestyle, social class
  • Technographic: Type of technology the buyer is using; tech-savviness
  • Behavioral: Habits, frequent actions, buying patterns
  • Industry (For B2B): Based on the industry a company belongs to.
  • Business size (For B2B): Size of the company

To obtain the above data, a great place to start for established businesses is your customer database. If you aim to expand this information, you can use your existing communication channels to gather further details through surveys.

If you are a startup, conducting an audience analysis analysis might seem impossible as you don’t have an existing customer base. Fortunately, there are numerous ways through which you can study your potential customers. A few of them are:

  • Identifying who would benefit from your product/service
  • Analyzing your competitors to understand their target customers
  • Using social media to prompt potential buyers to answer questionnaires

example of target customers in business plan

Want to create a Customer Persona in Easy Steps?

Generate valuable customer insights in minutes with Free Customer Persona Generator .

Step 2: Define the needs of your Customers

Now that you have identified your customers, the next step is to understand and specify their needs and challenges. This is the step where you need to go hands-on with your research. Getting to know your customers’ needs helps you determine whether or not your product or service hits the mark.

To understand the needs of your customers, you can adopt the following approaches:

1. Engage directly with potential Customers

A very reliable way to get to know your customers is to simply ask them, either in person or on a call. You can reach out to your customers, conduct one-on-one interviews, create focus groups, and invite buyers to test your new products. You can collect an ample amount of data through these techniques.

However, we recommend prioritizing accuracy over the quantity of data.

A technique that can help you get a deeper insight into your customer’s needs and opinions is the five whys technique . While practicing so, be mindful of the way you conduct the interview. It is essential to keep the customers in a comfortable and conversational environment to attain accurate answers.

2. Collect data from your Customer support

Customer support is the place where you can find feedback and criticism given by your customers. Analyzing this data helps you understand the pain points of your customers. You can further elaborate on this data by interacting with the customers who had issues with your products.

3. Run surveys and mention statistics

Talking to your customers helps you get qualitative information that you can use to alter your product or services according to your customers. The next part is to attain quantitative information, in other words, presenting numbers to support the previous data.

Conducting surveys is one of the commonly used methods for quantifying information. You can conduct in-app surveys, post-purchase surveys, or link surveys in email and apps, etc.

The second method is by collecting statistical data to support your conclusions from the interviews. These include stating studies related to customer choices, results from popular surveys, etc.

Step 3: Create a Customer Persona

Now, it’s time you present the information using a customer persona. A customer persona is a representation of a segment of customers with similar traits. Creating customer personas helps you process the data more efficiently.

You can use customer persona templates that are available online. To help get you started, we have created a customer persona example.

Customer Persona Example

Customer profile example of an internet service provider:

customer persona example

  • About: A lot of customers remain at home and have a minimal and easy-going lifestyle. They need high-speed, interruption-free internet access.
  • Demographics: Age is between 30 and 40, has a laid-back lifestyle, lives in suburban areas, and the income range is between $10,000 to $40,000.
  • Professional role: Shop owners, employees, freelancers, etc.
  • Identifiers/Personality traits: Introverts, like routines, makes schedules prefer online shopping, and stick with the companies they trust.
  • Goals: Wants easily available service, and 24×7 customer support, prefers self-service technologies and chatbots over interacting with representatives.
  • Challenges: Fluctuating internet connection while working or consuming media. Not enough signal coverage.

Step 4: Explain the product alignment to the Customer’s Needs

You’ve gathered info and created customer personas. The final step is to explain how your product or service caters to the needs of your customers. Here, you specify the solution you offer to your customers to tackle the challenges they face.

Mention the USPs of your product and its features, and they benefit the customer. Here, you also mention how your offerings make your customers’ lives better.

Create Better Solutions with Customer Analysis

Understanding your customers inside out helps you assist them better in solving their problems while also achieving success. Analyze your customers as often as required to stay updated about their ever-changing needs.

This helps you create better offerings to consistently fulfill their expectations. As a result, this builds up loyalty over time with each success.

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About the Author

example of target customers in business plan

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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How to Write a Business Plan: Target Market Analysis

The Business Plan and the Importance of Defining Your Target Market

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

example of target customers in business plan

Conducting a Market Analysis

Polling your target market, writing the market analysis, online tools for market research, u.s. online market research sources, canadian online market research, local sources of market research, doing your own market research.

 Creative Commons CC0

The market analysis is basically the target market section of your business plan . It is a thorough examination of the ideal people to whom you intend to sell your products or services.  

Even if you intend on selling a product or service only in your community, you won't be selling that service to everyone who lives there. Knowing exactly what type(s) of people might be interested in buying your product or service and how many of them reside in your projected area or region is fundamental in creating your market analysis.

Once target market data has been established, you'll also work on sales projections within specific time frames, as well as how prospective sales might be affected by trends and policies.

Research is key and cornerstone of any solid  business plan .

Don't Skip This Step!

Don't skip market research; otherwise, you could end up starting a business that doesn't have a paying market.

Use these general terms as linchpins in research data for the market analysis section of your business plan, and to identify your target market:

But don't stop here. To succinctly define your target market, poll or survey members of your prospective clients or customers to ask specific questions directly related to your products or services. For instance, if you plan to sell computer-related services, ask questions relating to the number of computing devices your prospective customers own and how often they require servicing. If you plan on selling garden furniture and accessories, ask what kinds of garden furniture or accessories your potential customers have bought in the past, how often, and what they expect to buy within the next one, three, and five years.

Answers to these and other questions related to your market are to help you understand your market potential.

The goal of the information you collect is to help you project how much of your product or service you'll be able to sell. Review these important questions you need to try to answer using the data you collect:

  • What proportion of your target market has used a product similar to yours before?
  • How much of your product or service might your target market buy? (Estimate this in gross sales and/or in units of product/service sold.)
  • What proportion of your target market might be repeat customers?
  • How might your target market be affected by demographic shifts?
  • How might your target market be affected by economic events (e.g. a local mill closing or a big-box retailer opening locally)?
  • How might your target market be affected by larger socio-economic trends?
  • How might your target market be affected by government policies (e.g. new bylaws or changes in taxes)?

One purpose of the market analysis is to ensure you have a viable business idea.

Find Your Buying Market

Use your market research to make sure people don't just like your business idea, but they're also willing to pay for it.

If you have information suggesting that you have a large enough market to sustain your business goals, write the market analysis in the form of several short paragraphs using appropriate headings for each. If you have several target markets, you may want to number each. 

Sections of your market analysis should include:

  • Industry Description and Outlook
  • Target Market
  • Market Research Results
  • Competitive Analysis

Remember to properly cite your sources of information within the body of your market analysis as you write it. You and other readers of your business plan, such as potential investors, will need to know the sources of the statistics or opinions that you've gathered.

There are several online resources to learn if your business idea is something worth pursing, including:

  • Keyword searches can give you an overall sense of potential demand for your product or service based on the number of searches.
  • Google Trends analysis can tell you how the number of searches has changed over time.
  • Social media campaigns can give you an indication of the potential customer interest in your business idea.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has information on doing your market research and analysis , as well as a list of free small business data and trends resources you can use to conduct your research. Consider these sources for data collection:

  • SBA  Business Data and Statistics  
  • The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a huge database of demographic information that is searchable by state, county, city/town, or zip code using its census data tool . Community, housing, economic, and population surveys are also available.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has extensive statistics on the economy including consumer income/spending/consumption, business activity, GDP, and more, all of which are searchable by location.

The Government of Canada offers a guide on doing market research and tips for understanding the data you collect. Canadian data resources include:

  • Statistics Canada  offers demographic and economic data.
  • The  Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)  offers market research and consulting with industry experts.
  • The Canada Business Network provides business information to entrepreneurs by province/territory, including market research data.

There are also a great many local resources for building target market information to explore, including:

  • Local library
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Trade
  • Economic Development Centre
  • Local government agent's office
  • Provincial business ministry
  • Local phone book

All of these will have information helpful in defining your target market and providing insights into trends.

The above resources are secondary sources of information, in which others have collected and compiled the data. To get specific information about your business, consider conducting your own market research . For instance, you might want to design a questionnaire and survey your target market to learn more about their habits and preferences relating to your product or service.

Market research is time-consuming but is an important step in affording your business plan validity. If you don't have the time or the research skills to thoroughly define your target market yourself, hiring a person or firm to do the research for you can be a wise investment.​

Small Business Administration. " Market Research and Competitive Analysis. " Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

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How to Reach Your Target Customer

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Table of Contents

Knowing who will buy your product or service is critical to creating a thriving business. Businesses must specifically define their target audience early. If you want to improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and boost customer engagement, follow seven steps to create a marketing plan that reaches your ideal customer base.

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a consumer group likely to be interested in your product or service. Many companies base their target audience search on traits like gender, age, occupation, location, socioeconomic status and education level.

Identifying your customer base is essential to your marketing plan . When you know which groups to advertise to, you save money, time and resources that would be wasted marketing to consumers who aren’t interested in your offerings.

Why is it important to identify your target audience?

Getting the word out about your business is essential. However, each consumer wants something different, so advertising to certain groups could be a waste of time. Putting more time and resources into a region, demographic or class of buyers more likely to purchase your product will help you effectively allocate your marketing budget .

“At the beginning, most people have a pretty good idea of who will use their product,” explained Lindsey Myers, founder of Concrete Blonde Consulting. “The more specific you can get [with your strategy], the easier it is to reach those people for less money … and also to find new audiences and grow.”

Knowing who your product appeals to is crucial, allowing you to conduct a market analysis on your ideal customer. You can also research and study their needs and interests to improve your content strategy . Understanding your target audience helps you foster customer relationships , build customer loyalty and boost customer engagement .

Use demographic data to understand your target customers’ characteristics. When you understand their needs and interests, you can focus your marketing efforts on the right audience.

Tips for identifying and reaching your target audience

Understanding who your customers are is vital to your business’ survival. Myers suggests seven tips to uncover and connect to your target audience.

1. Have a concrete plan to identify and reach your target audience.

To reach your target customer, you must first create an effective marketing plan.

“The more specific you can be, the more bang for your buck you’re going to get in your conversion rate,” Myers advised.

To draw up a buyer persona (your target customer profile), consider the following: 

  • Where do your customers get their information?
  • What are your customers’ interests?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • Where do they live?

You can use Facebook Insights on your Facebook Business page or other business social media analytics as a guide. A clearly defined customer profile and marketing plan allow you to reach your target demographic as economically as possible. 

“The more specific you can get [with your strategy], the easier it is to reach those people for less money,” Myers explained. “Don’t spend money for 10 people to hear your message when only three people are going to buy it.”

2. Create benchmarks to evaluate your marketing strategy.

Myers recommends setting clear benchmarks to track your performance. When you know where qualified leads are coming from, you can better direct your marketing efforts. 

“Start with your goals,” Myers advised. “You need something to reach for and also something to benchmark against.”

Set benchmarks for:

  • How well your marketing strategy converts leads into customers
  • What you’re spending on your marketing campaign 
  • What revenue you earn as a result 

Track lead conversions in your overall marketing results as well as how specific strategies convert. For example, if you run an ad, include a discount code customers can use when they purchase. Otherwise, you won’t know whether they found your company through the ad or another source.

“Track where leads are coming from so you know what is and isn’t effective … so you can adjust your spend later,” Myers recommended. “Then, if something’s not working, you try something else.”

Direct mail may be old-school, but it’s still one of the best ways businesses can reach new and current customers. Incorporate quick response codes , coupons and other response mechanisms to gauge a direct mail campaign’s effectiveness.

3. Clarify your message to pinpoint your target audience.

Myers says businesses often make the mistake of sending unclear messages. “A lot of business owners … typically aren’t great at crafting a message because they’re so incredibly invested in [their business],” Myers explained. “[You should] communicate in one sentence or less what you are selling and why someone should care.”

Giving your audience a reason to care is essential to creating a marketing plan that reaches them. Use your target customer profile to identify their pain points, then create a concise, clear message focusing on how your business solves those problems.

4. Bring in an outsider to identify your target customer.

Business owners are incredibly invested in and knowledgeable about their products and services. For this reason, someone outside your company, such as a marketing or business consultant , should look at your marketing plan to ensure your strategy resonates with your intended audience.

“This is the biggest piece of advice I always give,” Myers noted. “You can’t do everything yourself. Consider a marketing consultant to help you put together a strategic plan or at least talk to an expert to help you come up with a strategy. If you can’t afford a marketing consultant, ask a friend. Bounce some ideas off someone on the outside.”

By sharing your plan with someone outside your business, you’ll get a clearer sense of how likely consumers will respond to your marketing positively.

5. Consider strategic partnerships to reach your target audience.

Part of your target customer profile should include where your audience can be found. You want to determine where your target customers will most likely see your marketing efforts. 

For example: 

  • What media do they consume? 
  • What social media platforms do they engage with? 
  • What activities do they enjoy? 
  • What locations do they visit? 

“Think about strategic partnerships,” Myers advised. “The best place to start in terms of marketing is to think about where these people are already gathered together in one place.”

To identify potential partnerships, consider businesses or media channels that have already attracted your customers.

“Look for businesses that aren’t competitors but already service those audiences,” Myers advised. Approach them with ideas for mutually beneficial partnerships, such as advertising, joint promotions or discounts.

6. Have a realistic timeline for reaching your target customers.

Though you want to start making sales quickly, a crucial part of reaching your target customers is having the patience to allow your marketing to work.

“The biggest mistake I see businesses make is … they don’t give something enough time to work,” Myers noted. “Marketing is like using a personal trainer … You’re not going to see results overnight.”

Your marketing plan should include a timeline, allowing each strategy enough time to succeed or fail before you move on to the next step. This includes being realistic about the time of year and how seasonal changes affect your customers’ needs and interests.

“If you see that something is failing terribly, OK, scrap that, move the money somewhere else,” Myers advised. “But most people don’t read something about you once and then buy … there is a frequency of impressions you need to make on one person before they move to action.”

Lack of business planning is a problem that can kill a small business ― and identifying your target audience is a fundamental aspect of a solid business plan.

7. Focus on relationships with your target customers.

Think less about sales and marketing and more about customer relationships. Create a plan that builds their trust in your business and shows that you understand them.

Building consumer trust takes time ― another reason to be realistic about your marketing timeline. It also takes a community, including those strategic partnerships.

“Marketing is really about building relationships … not just taking, but something you can offer them too,” Myers explained.

According to Myers, many successful companies focus on getting involved in the community around them, from their customers to their colleagues.

“No one ever becomes successful on their own … if you watch the Oscars, people always have a lot of other people to thank,” Myers added. “Givers gain.”

Consider hiring a marketing company to take your marketing efforts to the next level and gain expert assistance seeking strategic partnerships and outside opinions.

Grow your business through targeted marketing

When it comes to creating a marketing plan, you want the most bang for your buck ― which means determining who your target customers are and how to reach them. A successful strategy doesn’t bombard audiences with ads everywhere. In contrast, it tries to understand and connect with the customers most likely to patronize your business to build relationships with them. 

Once you know your customers’ behaviors and needs, you can craft relevant messages and place them where they will be most impactful. Following these tips will help you identify and reach your target audience, increase engagement and conversions and lead your business to thrive.

Tom Anziano and Simone Johnson contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.


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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

A lot of preparation goes into starting a business before you can open your doors to the public or launch your online store. One of your first steps should be to write a business plan . A business plan will serve as your roadmap when building your business.

Within your business plan, there’s an important section you should pay careful attention to: your market analysis. Your market analysis helps you understand your target market and how you can thrive within it.

Simply put, your market analysis shows that you’ve done your research. It also contributes to your marketing strategy by defining your target customer and researching their buying habits. Overall, a market analysis will yield invaluable data if you have limited knowledge about your market, the market has fierce competition, and if you require a business loan. In this guide, we'll explore how to conduct your own market analysis.

How to conduct a market analysis: A step-by-step guide

In your market analysis, you can expect to cover the following:

Industry outlook

Target market

Market value


Barriers to entry

Let’s dive into an in-depth look into each section:

Step 1: Define your objective

Before you begin your market analysis, it’s important to define your objective for writing a market analysis. Are you writing it for internal purposes or for external purposes?

If you were doing a market analysis for internal purposes, you might be brainstorming new products to launch or adjusting your marketing tactics. An example of an external purpose might be that you need a market analysis to get approved for a business loan .

The comprehensiveness of your market analysis will depend on your objective. If you’re preparing for a new product launch, you might focus more heavily on researching the competition. A market analysis for a loan approval would require heavy data and research into market size and growth, share potential, and pricing.

Step 2: Provide an industry outlook

An industry outlook is a general direction of where your industry is heading. Lenders want to know whether you’re targeting a growing industry or declining industry. For example, if you’re looking to sell VCRs in 2020, it’s unlikely that your business will succeed.

Starting your market analysis with an industry outlook offers a preliminary view of the market and what to expect in your market analysis. When writing this section, you'll want to include:

Market size

Are you chasing big markets or are you targeting very niche markets? If you’re targeting a niche market, are there enough customers to support your business and buy your product?

Product life cycle

If you develop a product, what will its life cycle look like? Lenders want an overview of how your product will come into fruition after it’s developed and launched. In this section, you can discuss your product’s:

Research and development

Projected growth

How do you see your company performing over time? Calculating your year-over-year growth will help you and lenders see how your business has grown thus far. Calculating your projected growth shows how your business will fare in future projected market conditions.

Step 3: Determine your target market

This section of your market analysis is dedicated to your potential customer. Who is your ideal target customer? How can you cater your product to serve them specifically?

Don’t make the mistake of wanting to sell your product to everybody. Your target customer should be specific. For example, if you’re selling mittens, you wouldn’t want to market to warmer climates like Hawaii. You should target customers who live in colder regions. The more nuanced your target market is, the more information you’ll have to inform your business and marketing strategy.

With that in mind, your target market section should include the following points:


This is where you leave nothing to mystery about your ideal customer. You want to know every aspect of your customer so you can best serve them. Dedicate time to researching the following demographics:

Income level

Create a customer persona

Creating a customer persona can help you better understand your customer. It can be easier to market to a person than data on paper. You can give this persona a name, background, and job. Mold this persona into your target customer.

What are your customer’s pain points? How do these pain points influence how they buy products? What matters most to them? Why do they choose one brand over another?

Research and supporting material

Information without data are just claims. To add credibility to your market analysis, you need to include data. Some methods for collecting data include:

Target group surveys

Focus groups

Reading reviews

Feedback surveys

You can also consult resources online. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau can help you find demographics in calculating your market share. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration also offer general data that can help you research your target industry.

Step 4: Calculate market value

You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value.

A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the two. It requires for you to calculate the entire market and then estimate how much of a share you expect your business to get. For example, let’s assume your target market consists of 100,000 people. If you’re optimistic and manage to get 1% of that market, you can expect to make 1,000 sales.

A bottom-up analysis is more data-driven and requires more research. You calculate the individual factors of your business and then estimate how high you can scale them to arrive at a projected market share. Some factors to consider when doing a bottom-up analysis include:

Where products are sold

Who your competition is

The price per unit

How many consumers you expect to reach

The average amount a customer would buy over time

While a bottom-up analysis requires more data than a top-down analysis, you can usually arrive at a more accurate calculation.

Step 5: Get to know your competition

Before you start a business, you need to research the level of competition within your market. Are there certain companies getting the lion’s share of the market? How can you position yourself to stand out from the competition?

There are two types of competitors that you should be aware of: direct competitors and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are other businesses who sell the same product as you. If you and the company across town both sell apples, you are direct competitors.

An indirect competitor sells a different but similar product to yours. If that company across town sells oranges instead, they are an indirect competitor. Apples and oranges are different but they still target a similar market: people who eat fruits.

Also, here are some questions you want to answer when writing this section of your market analysis:

What are your competitor’s strengths?

What are your competitor’s weaknesses?

How can you cover your competitor’s weaknesses in your own business?

How can you solve the same problems better or differently than your competitors?

How can you leverage technology to better serve your customers?

How big of a threat are your competitors if you open your business?

Step 6: Identify your barriers

Writing a market analysis can help you identify some glaring barriers to starting your business. Researching these barriers will help you avoid any costly legal or business mistakes down the line. Some entry barriers to address in your marketing analysis include:

Technology: How rapid is technology advancing and can it render your product obsolete within the next five years?

Branding: You need to establish your brand identity to stand out in a saturated market.

Cost of entry: Startup costs, like renting a space and hiring employees, are expensive. Also, specialty equipment often comes with hefty price tags. (Consider researching equipment financing to help finance these purchases.)

Location: You need to secure a prime location if you’re opening a physical store.

Competition: A market with fierce competition can be a steep uphill battle (like attempting to go toe-to-toe with Apple or Amazon).

Step 7: Know the regulations

When starting a business, it’s your responsibility to research governmental and state business regulations within your market. Some regulations to keep in mind include (but aren’t limited to):

Employment and labor laws


Environmental regulations

If you’re a newer entrepreneur and this is your first business, this part can be daunting so you might want to consult with a business attorney. A legal professional will help you identify the legal requirements specific to your business. You can also check online legal help sites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.

Tips when writing your market analysis

We wouldn’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information needed in a market analysis. Keep in mind, though, this research is key to launching a successful business. You don’t want to cut corners, but here are a few tips to help you out when writing your market analysis:

Use visual aids

Nobody likes 30 pages of nothing but text. Using visual aids can break up those text blocks, making your market analysis more visually appealing. When discussing statistics and metrics, charts and graphs will help you better communicate your data.

Include a summary

If you’ve ever read an article from an academic journal, you’ll notice that writers include an abstract that offers the reader a preview.

Use this same tactic when writing your market analysis. It will prime the reader of your market highlights before they dive into the hard data.

Get to the point

It’s better to keep your market analysis concise than to stuff it with fluff and repetition. You’ll want to present your data, analyze it, and then tie it back into how your business can thrive within your target market.

Revisit your market analysis regularly

Markets are always changing and it's important that your business changes with your target market. Revisiting your market analysis ensures that your business operations align with changing market conditions. The best businesses are the ones that can adapt.

Why should you write a market analysis?

Your market analysis helps you look at factors within your market to determine if it’s a good fit for your business model. A market analysis will help you:

1. Learn how to analyze the market need

Markets are always shifting and it’s a good idea to identify current and projected market conditions. These trends will help you understand the size of your market and whether there are paying customers waiting for you. Doing a market analysis helps you confirm that your target market is a lucrative market.

2. Learn about your customers

The best way to serve your customer is to understand them. A market analysis will examine your customer’s buying habits, pain points, and desires. This information will aid you in developing a business that addresses those points.

3. Get approved for a business loan

Starting a business, especially if it’s your first one, requires startup funding. A good first step is to apply for a business loan with your bank or other financial institution.

A thorough market analysis shows that you’re professional, prepared, and worth the investment from lenders. This preparation inspires confidence within the lender that you can build a business and repay the loan.

4. Beat the competition

Your research will offer valuable insight and certain advantages that the competition might not have. For example, thoroughly understanding your customer’s pain points and desires will help you develop a superior product or service than your competitors. If your business is already up and running, an updated market analysis can upgrade your marketing strategy or help you launch a new product.

Final thoughts

There is a saying that the first step to cutting down a tree is to sharpen an axe. In other words, preparation is the key to success. In business, preparation increases the chances that your business will succeed, even in a competitive market.

The market analysis section of your business plan separates the entrepreneurs who have done their homework from those who haven’t. Now that you’ve learned how to write a market analysis, it’s time for you to sharpen your axe and grow a successful business. And keep in mind, if you need help crafting your business plan, you can always turn to business plan software or a free template to help you stay organized.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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Target Market: Examples, What it is & How to Define it

target market

What is a target market?

What is a target audience, why define your target market , how to define your target market: , target market examples, target marketing plan example, summary .

Every business that’s ever existed dreams of a huge customer base and constant sales with a bottom line that wows… But if you’re continuously falling short of your sales and growth targets, then it might be time to check if you’re selling and marketing your products or services to the right people. 

Rather than falling into the trap of thinking you can appeal to everyone all at once (spoiler alert: you can’t), having a narrow target market and audience ensures your products, services, and brand attract and maintain the customers who are going to be interested and (hopefully) make lots of purchases. 

In this article, we’re going to help you finally make those profits you’ve dreamed of by clarifying exactly what is meant by “target market” and “target audience.” With this information, you’ll be able to build the right buyer personas for your products and services, so you can build your small business into the empire you deserve. 

First things first, “target market” is a phrase you’ll hear almost daily in the business world. But what does it really mean? 

Well, your target market is the people who are going to be buying your products or services. By establishing your target market early on, you can tailor your products accordingly and ensure you’re only spending your precious advertising budget marketing to people who will actually benefit from what you’re selling. 

Target markets are usually defined by three aspects: 

  • Demographics: Things like the age, gender, income, marital status, ethnicity, employment status, etc., of your buyers. 
  • Geographics: Where your customers are located (this can be as wide as entire continents, or even just a single neighborhood or street). 
  • Psychographics: What drives your customers? What are their likes and dislikes? What problems do they face in their lives? 

By figuring out who your customers are, you’ll be in a better place to market your products… And you could even use this information during upgrades to ensure you’re continuously providing a valuable benefit. 

paper people

Target markets and target audiences can frequently get confused and overlap, but they relate to different people, and it’s essential to have a clear distinction between the two. 

While your target market is the end consumer, your target audience is who your brand should be focusing on when advertising.

A good example of this would be for a child-aged target market. Let’s use McDonald’s Happy Meals as an example…

While the Happy Meals are clearly made for kids, the target audience for this product would be the adults responsible for the children. These adults are the ones who choose what the kids eat and will usually be the ones buying the Happy Meals. 

You can do it too.

Because McDonald’s has clearly identified their target market vs. target audience, you’ll notice adverts for Happy Meals tend to focus on aspects that the target market (kids) wouldn’t be that interested in… Like the nutrition value of the meals, for example. 

Another brilliant example of a target market vs. a target audience is the 2010 Old Spice advert, The man your man could smell like . When trying to appeal to a younger audience, Proctor & Gamble (the advertising team behind this campaign along with Nike’s Just Do It ) discovered around 60% of men’s body washes and deodorants were purchased by women. 

Taking advantage of this information, P&G decided to aim subsequent Old Spice marketing efforts at women with the famous ad featuring Isaiah Mustafa. Like McDonald’s, they successfully identified a difference between their target market (men aged 18 – 35) and their target audience (the wives and girlfriends of these men). 

In other words, your target market is whom you’re selling to. Your target audience is whom you’re advertising to.

happy meals

So, now we know what the difference is between a target market and a target audience… But the question still remains, why bother? Surely, marketing to everyone is casting a wider net, and you’ve got more chances of gathering customers? 

Any angler will be able to tell you that a wide net isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when catching fish. Sure, you might get one or two valuable catches in a large net, but you’re more likely to end up with a barrel of fish nobody wants. 

To really catch fish, you need the right bait, the right equipment, and to be fishing in the right places. 

And suddenly, the metaphor of casting a large net continues to be 100% applicable to the world of marketing. 

In other words, if you aspire to make everyone a potential customer, you’re less likely to gain attention from people who will actually benefit from and buy your products and services. Instead, focus your marketing efforts on a clearly defined section of the market, and you’ll attract more valuable customers who will help your business grow. 

In addition to attracting the right people, defining your target market and audience early on will allow you to: 

  • Develop the product line by solving specific needs
  • Set the right prices
  • Determine the perfect marketing channels
  • Find the best features to highlight
  • Determine the right keywords and SEO criteria
  • And much more.

A narrow, specific target audience and market also ensures you’re not spending too much time/money casting a wide net… Enabling you to convert far greater numbers of potential customers with considerably lower overheads. 

fishing a boy and grandfather

When it’s time to define your target market, you might struggle to know where to start at first. But figuring out the right market segment to advertise to doesn’t need to be difficult if you break it down. 

Remember, by marketing to a specific group of people, you can focus on getting the language, tone of voice, and content just right. This enables your message to get across more clearly and will make your audience more likely to buy your product or service.  

In addition, having well-defined target customers enables you to start a more genuine and compelling conversation with that group of consumers. And once you’ve cultivated a genuine relationship, you’re more likely to benefit from loyal customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. 

meeting discussion  table

To get started building a definition of your target customers, think about the following: 

1. Identify the key benefits of your business

Once you’ve established the critical benefits of your business, you’ll probably find your target market becomes clear fairly quickly. 

As marketer Philip Kotler said, “authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions…” 

Theodore Levitt elaborates on this with… “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole.” 

As Kotler and Levitt identify, it’s not the features of your product or service that will sell… It’s the benefits these provide. For example, if you’re selling exercise equipment, the benefits might include improving customers’ self-image, physical health, mental wellbeing, confidence, and empowerment. These benefits will be more compelling to most target customers than a list of specs. 

To identify the key benefits of your product or service, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What problem(s) do you solve for people? 
  • What need(s) do you meet? 
  • What desire(s) are you fulfilling?

2. Identify who will benefit most from the above. 

Once you’ve identified the key benefits of your product or service, you can start thinking about who would benefit most from these features and who would be most likely to buy. This will help you narrow down the demographics for your target market. 

For example, if you’re selling at-home exercise equipment, the people who will benefit most from this could be middle-aged, overweight men who don’t have time to go to the gym or young women who don’t feel comfortable in a standard gym. 

Think about who your product or service helps the most, and start narrowing them down. 

Consider the age, location, gender, income, and any other critical demographics of the market segment you’ve identified and make a note of these. 

3. Refine your target market 

Once you’ve established the key demographics of the group of consumers who are most likely to benefit from your products or services, it’s time to define your target market even further by building user personas for your customers. 

These personas will include the demographics like age range, location, etc., that you defined in step 2 but adds in psychographics. 

Psychographics include more personal information about your market segment. These will include things like: 

  • The customer’s likes and dislikes
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Daily routines
  • Pain-points

You can collect this information through a variety of means. If you have established customers already, asking them to provide feedback can be invaluable to businesses. Otherwise, surveys, polls on social media, or any other market research will help you establish precisely who you’re selling to. 

4. Stay objective

It might surprise you to realize that this is probably the most challenging step in defining your target market and audience… But it’s also one of the most critical. 

When researching your potential customers, you must always stay objective and avoid assumptions, particularly when matching your product’s key benefits with a specific group of people. 

In fact, CBInsights discovered that approximately 35% of start-up businesses fail due to a lack of market need. 

Even if you think your product is fantastic, you’re likely to fail if you don’t accurately identify a need, want, or desire and address that. 

Segway is an excellent example of a business failing due to a poorly defined target market and a product that didn’t fulfill a need. 


5. Evaluate the segments 

It’s critical to remember that just because someone says they would buy your product or service doesn’t mean they actually will . 

You need to ensure the market segment you’ve identified is a viable customer group by asking the following questions: 

  • Is this group large enough to sustain the business? 
  • Does the market segment have sufficient income to afford the products and services being sold? 
  • Will these people make multiple purchases, or will you constantly need to be attracting new customers? 
  • Are other brands targeting the same market segment? Why/why not? 
  • What separates your brand from similar companies, products, and services? 
  • How accessible is the target market you’ve identified?

Following any research into this evaluation, it’s vital to create real-life tests to directly engage with your prospective market. 

6. Identify who influences the buying decision. 

Once you’ve defined your target market, it’s time to turn your attention to your target audience. Remember, your target market is the group of people who might want to buy your product. Your target audience relates to the people who will be making or influencing the purchase decision. 

The most obvious example of this is how products for children need to be marketed to parents or guardians, as kids don’t have any buying power themselves. But this can also take into account a far wider group of people as purchase decisions are rarely made in a vacuum. 

Consider the friends and family of your target customers. Would a good/bad word from a sibling change your potential customer’s mind about buying? If it’s a big-ticket item, would your customer want to check with their spouse or partner first? How can you convince these ‘influencers’ that your products and services are worth buying? 

If you’re providing products and services for B2B clients, this can be even more complicated as purchases may need to be approved by multiple people before they can go ahead. 

7. Check your competitors 

As part of your marketing strategy, you should have completed a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your business. Now, it’s time to ensure you’ve done the same for your competition, starting with the top stores on Shopify and working back to your closer competitors. 

Use social media, Google, and customer research to determine what target audiences your competitors are focusing on and whether those individuals align with your business. 

If you’re advertising to the same group of people, figure out what these people find great/bad about the competition and use this to guide your own marketing efforts. 

Now you know how to define your specific target market, it can be helpful to see how other companies have used targeting research to build a detailed target audience profile. These well-known brands offer a fantastic target marketing plan example that you can use to bring these concepts to life and translate them into your own marketing strategy. 


Nike provides an excellent target market demographics example. Once, Nike marketed to professional athletes only but changed its business model to accommodate a broader, more approachable audience with the Just Do It campaign. 

As part of the rebranding, Nike considered the benefits of its sports apparel, shoes, accessories, and equipment and who these benefits would most appeal to. 

Their targeting includes a young age range, people interested in getting fitter, individuals with some disposable income to spend on high-quality products. 

To further narrow down the target market, Nike specifically focuses on aspiring athletes and runners in most advertising campaigns and utilizes an inspiring, motivational, inclusive tone of voice that appeals to a younger audience who are ready to push beyond their limitations. 


We know what you’re thinking… “but Netflix targets everyone?!” While this may be partially true, have you ever taken a look at someone else’s Netflix account and noticed how different it looks from your own? 

With detailed algorithms and substantial customer research, Netflix intelligently targets individual preferences in its marketing strategy, ensuring each person receives a well-defined and highly tailored experience. 

It’s also worth noting that Netflix started as a DVD delivery service, mailing DVDs to rent to its customers. As online streaming took over, Netflix analyzed its customers’ needs and made the switch to provide an online service. Now offering apps and even downloadable, offline shows and movies, still highly tailored to individual preferences. 


This cool and quirky footwear brand is another excellent example of target marketing at work. The brand appeals to “misfits and rebels,” with a daredevil outlook that may not attract every shoe-wearing citizen but is sufficiently focused so that rebels worldwide can’t get enough. 

Like Netflix, Vans allowed the customers to guide their business decision and utilized highly targeted market research to ensure every product matched their audiences’ desires perfectly. 

markers notes targeting plan

Before we leave you, we thought it might be helpful to include a detailed target marketing plan example. This fictitious target market for a software company will give you an idea of the demographics you should include when analyzing your customer base, so you can see precisely how to define your target market in a B2B scenario: 

Key Demographics: 

  • Age range: 35-45 years old. 
  • Gender: 65% male, 35% female
  • Common job titles: Chief financial officer, head of digital, senior accountant

Key Psychographics: 

  • Values: Job security, affordability, financial growth
  • Likes to review all data and complete a full pros/cons analysis before making decisions
  • Strives for an improvement to their work/life balance
  • Skeptical of any brand that promises to solve all their problems or too-good-to-be-true offers. 

Challenges and pain points

  • Concerned that their current software can’t keep up with increasing demands and improvements to modern technology. 
  • Aware that a lack of third-party integration means internal processes cannot be performed efficiently. 
  • Demands from bosses and/or shareholders create a stressful work environment with little work/life balance. 

Preferred communication channels

  • Professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn
  • Regularly browse the internet for the latest industry news 

Preferred content

  • White papers with plenty of detail
  • Case studies
  • News articles

Now you know how to find your target markets, the difference between a target audience and a target market, and some real-life examples of how to write a target market strategy. You should be well on your way to attracting and maintaining a loyal, engaged customer base. 

But it’s important to remember that figuring out who your ideal customers are is only the first step. Once you’ve identified the age, location, gender, interests, pain points, and other aspects of your target market sample, it’s vital to focus on the communication channels markets can use to communicate with these segments. 

Google Analytics is one of the best tools for determining where your target market/audience hangs out online. Using this information, you can streamline your marketing efforts on relevant social media platforms, email campaigns, or even offline advertising. 

Be sure to focus on getting the tone of voice and language just right in any messaging, and have high-quality landing pages that reflect your audience’s interests to retain the best customers and keep them coming back for more. 

Once you’ve done this, you’re sure to experience market growth like never before.


How do you define a target market? 

A target market is a segment of people who are likely to benefit from the products or services your business is selling. You can narrow this group into as many smaller segments as you like to help your marketers find the perfect methods to get your messaging across.

Target markets are usually defined by key demographics, including age range, gender, income, geographic location, and more. They will be further narrowed down with psychographics, including likes and dislikes, key values, pain points, lifestyle, etc.

How do you define a target market vs. target audience? 

Target markets take into account the people you’re selling to at market. However, a target audience will be the person or people who make the purchase decision and are the ones you’re advertising to.

A good example of the difference between these two aspects is a product for children. While kids aged 3-4 might be the target market, the target audience would be the parents or guardians, as these are the ones who make the purchase decision.

Old Spice is another good target market vs. target audience profile example. Although the product is for men, the man your man could smell like campaign utilized messaging for the end-users’ wives, girlfriends, and partners. The market was men; the audience was the women buying the product on their behalf.

How do I identify my target market? 

Plenty of research is required to accurately identify the right target market for your products or services. Conversations with any customers you already have are invaluable. You can utilize things like social media polls, surveys, or even email research to help you determine your target market and existing customers.

Google Analytics is also an incredibly valuable tool when establishing your target market. This will help you see where your audience spends their time and what keywords they’re searching for that might be relevant to your messaging.

Suppose Facebook is an appropriate channel for your marketers to use. In that case, Facebook’s custom audience tools can also be handy for your market research and to aid you with narrowing down your market segments.

How do you write a target market statement?

Take a look at our target market statement examples above for an overview of the things you should include in a target marketing strategy. As a summary, you should be looking to include aspects such as:

  • Geographical location
  • Aspirations
  • Current challenges
  • Hobbies/interests

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What Is a Target Market?

  • Defining a Product's Target Market
  • 4 Target Markets

Why Are Target Markets Important?

What are market segments, target market and product sales.

  • Target Market FAQs

The Bottom Line

  • Marketing Essentials

Target Market: Definition, Purpose, Examples, Market Segments

example of target customers in business plan

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A target market is a group of people that have been identified as the most likely potential customers for a product because of their shared characteristics, such as age, income, and lifestyle.

Identifying the target market is a key part of the decision-making process when a company designs, packages, and advertises its product.

Key Takeaways

  • A target market is a group of customers with shared demographics who have been identified as the most likely buyers of a company's product or service.
  • Identifying the target market is important in the development and implementation of a successful marketing plan for any new product.
  • The target market also can inform a product's specifications, packaging, and distribution.

How Do I Define My Product's Target Market?

Part of creating a new product is envisioning the consumers who will want it.

A new product must satisfy a need or solve a problem, or both. That need or problem is probably not universal unless it reaches the level of indoor plumbing. More likely, it is needed by a subset of consumers, such as environmentally-conscious vegetarians, or science nerds, or outdoor enthusiasts. It may appeal to a teenager or a middle-aged professional, a bargain-hunter or a snob.

Envisioning your likely target market is part of the process of creating and refining a product, and informs decisions about its packaging, marketing, and placement.

What Are the 4 Target Markets?

Marketing professionals divide consumers into four major segments:

Demographic: These are the main characteristics that define your target market. Everyone can be identified as belonging to a specific age group, income level, gender, occupation, and education level.

Geographic: This segment is increasingly relevant in the era of globalization. Regional preferences need to be taken into account.

Psychographic: This segment goes beyond the basics of demographics to consider lifestyle, attitudes, interests, and values.

Behavioral: This is the one segment that relies on research into the decisions of a company's current customers. New products may be introduced based on research into the proven appeal of past products.

What Is an Example of a Target Market?

Each of the four target markets can be used to consider who the customer for a new product is.

For example, there are an estimated 100,000 Italian restaurants in the U.S. Clearly, they have enormous appeal.

But a corner pizza joint might appeal mostly, although by no means entirely, to a younger and more budget-conscious consumer, while an old-fashioned white tablecloth place might be dominated by older folks and families who live in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, a newer place down the street might cater to an upscale and trend-conscious crowd who will travel a good distance for the restaurant's innovative menu and fancy wine list.

In each successful case, a savvy business person has consciously considered the ideal target market for the restaurant and has tweaked the menu, decor, and advertising strategy to appeal to that market.

Few products today are designed to appeal to absolutely everyone. The Aveda Rosemary Mint Bath Bar, available for $26 a bar at Aveda beauty stores, is marketed to the upscale and eco-conscious woman who will pay extra for quality. Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Soap retails for $110 a bar and is marketed to wealthy, fashion-conscious women who are willing to pay a premium for a luxury product. An eight-pack of Dial soap costs $12 at CVS, and it is known to get the job done.

Part of the success of selling a good or service is knowing to whom it will appeal and who will ultimately buy it. Its user base can grow over time through additional marketing, advertising, and word of mouth.

That's why businesses spend a lot of time and money in defining their initial target markets, and why they follow through with special offers, social media campaigns , and specialized advertising.

Dividing a target market into segments means grouping the population according to the key characteristics that drive their spending decisions. Some of these are gender, age, income level, race, education level, religion, marital status, and geographic location.

Consumers with the same demographics tend to value the same products and services, which is why narrowing down the segments is one of the most important factors in determining target markets.

For example, people who fall into a higher income bracket may be more likely to buy specialty coffee from Starbucks instead of Dunkin' Donuts. The parent companies of both of these brands need to know that in order to decide where to locate their stores, where to stock their products, and where to advertise their brand.

A business may have more than one target market—a primary target market, which is the main focus, and a secondary target market, which is smaller but has growth potential. Toy commercials are targeted directly to children. Their parents are the secondary market.

Identifying the target market is an essential part of a product development plan, along with manufacturing, distribution, price, and promotion planning. The target market determines significant factors about the product itself. A company may tweak certain aspects of a product, such as the amount of sugar in a soft drink or the style of the packaging, so that it appeals more to consumers in its target group.

As a company’s product sales grow, it may expand its target market internationally. International expansion allows a company to reach a broader subset of its target market in other regions of the world.

In addition to international expansion, a company may find its domestic target market expands as its products gain more traction in the marketplace. Expanding a product's target market is a revenue opportunity worth pursuing.

How Detailed Should a Target Market Be?

It depends. Broadly speaking, a product may be designed for a mass market or a niche market, and a niche market can be a very small group indeed, especially in a product's early introductory phase.

Some carbonated beverages aim for a practically universal market. Coca-Cola had to branch out to 200 markets abroad to continue growing its customer base. Gatorade is owned by Pepsi Cola, but the brand is positioned as a drink for athletes. The soda brand Poppi, which is branded as a "Healthy, Sparkling, Prebiotic Soda with Real Fruit Juice, Gut Health, and Immunity Benefits," is clearly aimed at a younger, healthier, and more trend-conscious target market.

Consider a casual apparel company that is working to build its distribution channels abroad. In order to determine where its apparel will be most successful, it conducts some research to identify its primary target market. It discovers that the people most likely to buy their products are middle-class women between the ages of 35 and 55 who live in cold climates.

It's reasonable for the company to focus its advertising efforts on northern European websites that have a strong female audience.

But first, the company may consider how its apparel can be most attractive to that target market. It may revise its styles and colors and tweak its advertising strategy to optimize its appeal to this new prospective market.

What Is the Purpose of a Target Market?

A target market defines a product as well as vice versa.

Once a target market is identified, it can influence a product's design, packaging, price, promotion, and distribution.

A product aimed at men won't be packaged in pink plastic. A luxury cosmetic won't be sold in a pharmacy. An expensive pair of shoes comes with a branded cloth drawstring bag as well as a shoebox. All of those factors are signals to the target audience that they have found the right product.

Identifying the target market is part of the process of creating and refining a new product.

A target market can be translated into a profile of the consumer to whom a product is most likely to appeal. The profile considers four main characteristics of that person: demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral.

National Geographic. " How Italian Cuisine Became as American as Apple Pie ."

Aveda. " Rosemary Mint Bath Bar ."

Cle de Peau. " Synactif Soap ."

CVS. " Dial Antibacterial Deodorant Bar Soap, White ."

Coca-Cola Australia. " Coca-Cola: From Start-Up to Global Enterprise ."

Pepsico Partners. " Gatorade ."

DrinkPoppi. " Home ."

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How to Define Your Target Market

Male entrepreneur in his barber shop giving a customer a haircut. This customer is part of the entrepreneur's target market.

4 min. read

Updated October 27, 2023

One of the most powerful tools of small business marketing strategy is defining and addressing your target market—the audience that you think is most likely to buy your product or service. The key to identifying this customer base is market segmentation, or figuring out the demographics of your specific market.

Common sense makes it seem obvious from afar. You can’t (and shouldn’t) try to sell your product to everyone in the world. You’d waste a lot of money and resources very quickly.

But how do you figure out who your target audience is? Who or what should it be? How would you know? Here are five tips to help you figure it out.

1. Don’t try to please everybody

Strategy is focus. Say you’re planning to start a restaurant ; which of these three options is easier?

  • Pleasing customers 40 to 75 years old, wealthy, much more concerned with healthy eating than cheap eating, appreciating seafood and poultry, liking a quiet atmosphere.
  • Pleasing customers 15 to 30 years old, with limited budgets, who like a loud place with low prices and fast food.
  • Pleasing everybody.

I really hope you chose one of the first two, and not the third. This is the essence of target marketing—divide and conquer. Different groups of people have different pain points and different desires. Most of the time, efforts to please everyone end up pleasing no one.

  • 2. Learn market segmentation

It’s about segments, like pie segments or orange segments—except that in this case, it’s segments of a total market, or TAM .

In my “divide and conquer” example above in the first point, the specific age ranges, wealth, and atmosphere preferences describe particular market segments.

In the illustration here below, U.S. census data divides the population into demographic segments. Demographics are the old standards like age, gender, and so on.


You’ve seen market segmentations referred to frequently in business articles, interviews, and discussions. People will appeal to certain age groups, genders, income levels, and so forth. Divide and conquer is a simple concept; market segmentation is how you make it practical for your business.

Let’s say you think your target market is age 40 to 75 years old, wealthy, and interested in healthy eating. How do you validate your assumption that that demographic will be your ideal target customers? That’s where market research comes it. Talking to customers and potential customers is one of the best ways to do this kind of research, but there are many approaches.

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  • 3. Use segmentation creatively

Don’t limit your target market strategy for market segmentation by age, gender, and economic level.

For example, when I was consulting for Apple Computer, we divided the market into user groups:

  • Small business
  • Large business

I also liked a shopping center segmentation that divided its market into so-called psychographic market segmentation:

  • Kids and cul-de-sacs were affluent upscale suburban families, “a noisy medley of bikes, dogs, carpools, rock music, and sports.”
  • Winner’s circle were wealthy suburban executives, “well-educated, mobile executives and professionals with teen-aged families. Big producers, prolific spenders, and global travelers.”
  • Gen X and babies were upper-middle income, young, white-collar suburbanites.
  • Country squires were wealthy elite ex-urbanites, “where the wealthy have escaped urban stress to live in rustic luxury. Affluence, big bucks in the boondocks.”

I knew a business that segmented its business customers into decision-process types as well:

  • Decision by committee
  • Decision by functional manager
  • Decision by owner

And I call this final example, for lack of a formal definition, strategic intersection.

In the diagram here, the social media services that Have Presence offers are targeted to small business owners who:

  • Want outside help with their social media; and
  • Value business social media; and
  • Have a budget to pay for the service.

Any of these creative segmentations can help you set a target market, and can also be a jumping off point for putting together a user or buyer persona —another useful tool for understanding your target audience and developing better marketing messaging.

  • 4. Consider your own unique identity too

Your business probably reflects who you are and what you like to do, as well as what you do best. Marketing to people you like as the target market is an advantage. If you like the feel of small business better than the big corporate giants, then you’re probably better off setting the small business as a target market.

As Palo Alto Software, the host of Bplans, grew up and grew our business plan software, its founder (that would be me) was more comfortable with the do-it-yourself entrepreneur and business owner than the high-end consultants, so we ended up targeting the do-it-yourselfers in business.

So, somebody who loves fine food, tastefully prepared and served, is probably more comfortable with an upscale target market than with price-sensitive young families.

  • 5. Define your target market early and revise as needed

Do it well as soon as you can, and keep reviewing and refreshing as you go along. You shouldn’t think of your target market as set in stone. As you learn more about your customers, how you define your target market will probably change.

The right target market increases your chances of success because you can communicate better with a well-defined group, and that holds expenses down and makes results better.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.

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Home > Business Plan > Target Market in a Business Plan

Market Size in a Business Plan

Target Market in a Business Plan

… we are targeting this part of the market …

What is the Target Market?

Target Market in a Business Plan

Target Market Segments

Your product will not be of equal interest to all potential customers, as they do not all have the same needs and characteristics. This section of the business plan deals with the analysis of the target market into different groups of customers (customer or target market segments) each having distinct characteristics and needs from the product.

The target market segmentation strategy depends on the business and the product, but generally segmentation falls into the following customer characteristics groups.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation splits up a sales market of a business based on such things as the social class, lifestyle choices, personality traits, tastes, attitudes, and the opinions of its customers.

Psychographic market segmentation examples include the promotion of products such as cars as these often reflect a customers lifestyle, and leisure activities. For example, a car business might identify customers who are interested in keeping the environment green and promote hybrid cars to them, or a business involved in activity holidays will seek to market to customers who show a preference for an active lifestyle.

Demographic segmentation

  • Social class
  • Size of family
  • Nationality

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation is the process of splitting up a sales market of a business based on the geographical location of the customers. It is a particularly important marketing tool when the business is a multinational, worldwide business, but is also used by businesses to split their markets into region, county, state, city, neighborhood, or postal code.

A geographic segmentation example would be seasonal clothing items such as coats and swimwear. In contrast, in a colder climate coats would be marketed and sold all year round whereas swimwear would be highly seasonal during the holiday period. In a hot climate swimwear would be the all year round product and winter coats might not be sold at all.

Behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation is the process of splitting up the sales market based on brand loyalty, usage, benefits required.

Target Market Presentation in the Business Plan

The business plan target market section can be presented in a number of formats, but a listing of the major customer segments together with a pie chart will show the investor where the main potential for the product lies. In the example below, the market is split into four main segments both in terms of number of customers and percentage of the total target market.

target market 1.0

The average customer spend is also included, to reconcile the total target market back to the served available market (SAM) in monetary terms. Finally, a brief statement about the growth prospects for the market is included to show the investor the potential for growth in your chosen customer segments.

When identifying the target-market segments, it is important to be as specific as possible about the customer characteristics which make up each segment. In choosing which segments to concentrate on, take into account the size and potential for growth of each segment, and identify clearly what benefits, both emotional and financial, the product provides for the customer.

This is part of the financial projections and Contents of a Business Plan Guide , a series of posts on what each section of a simple business plan should include. The next post in this series is about the analysis of the competition for the target-market.

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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Products & Services Section in a Business Plan (+ Examples)

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  • March 21, 2024
  • Business Plan , How to Write

products & services

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through writing the products and services section of your business plan. We’ll cover how to describe what you’re selling and why it’s important in your business plan.

Whether you’re launching a new startup or creating a business plan for an existing business, this section is crucial for showing the value you bring to customers. Let’s get started!

Why do we include them in a business plan?

The products and services section of a business plan is more than just a list of what a company sells; it’s a vital narrative that tells the story of the business’s core offerings and their significance to the market.

This section is paramount for readers (especially potential investors) to grasp the essence of what the business is about, the unique problems it solves, or the specific needs it addresses.

A meticulously crafted products and services segment does much more than describe offerings. Indeed, it lays the groundwork for comprehensive marketing strategies , informs operational planning, and financial projections.

Moreover, understanding the business’s offerings in depth enables stakeholders to envision the company’s value proposition and competitive edge.

Where should you include them?

In a business plan, the Products and Services section is typically included within the business overview section.

This allows you to first introduce the business model and what it offers to customers. Only after this you can provide more details of the products and services.

The Products and Services section should clearly detail what you are selling, highlight the unique value proposition . It should also ideally explain how it meets the needs of your target market if it isn’t obvious. T

What to include: 2 Examples

Begin with a clear, engaging description of each product or service you offer. For services, describe the process, customer experience, and outcome. For products, discuss the materials, technology, and any unique features.

Services example: a Cryotherapy business plan

example of target customers in business plan

Products example: a Brewery business plan

example of target customers in business plan

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How to Write a Marketing Plan

Marketing starts with your customers.

Your marketing plan details how you intend to meet your customers’ needs and communicate the benefits of your products or services to them. When deciding about market positioning, pricing, promotions, and sales, your customers should be top of mind.

The Four Key Components of Your Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan should describe how you will segment your target market, how you will position your products or services compared to your competition, what your pricing strategy will be, and how you will effectively reach and influence your customers.

The Target Market

Your target market is a group of customers that has a similar need for a product or service, money to purchase the product or service, and willingness and ability to buy it.

To identify your target market and best serve your market, you need to:

  • Know your customers
  • Understand what your customers need
  • Why they buy

Because you have limited time, resources, and budget, you cannot be everything to everyone. To effectively reach customers, you need to segment your target market into one primary market on which you focus most of your energy, and at most three secondary markets.

You can segment your target market along four key characteristics:

Demographic:  Who are your customers? Include information such as:

  • Family size
  • Family life cycle (single, married with or without kids, divorced)
  • Nationality

Geographic:  Where do they live? Include information such as:

  • Their country
  • Region (e.g. Pacific, Prairies, Eastern seaboard)
  • City and density (rural, urban)

Psychographic:  Why do they buy? Include information such as:

  • Social class (lower, middle, upper)
  • Lifestyle (leisure activities, exotic vacationer, saver)
  • Personality (gregarious, authoritarian, ambitious)

Behaviouristic:  How do they buy? Include information such as:

  • The purchase occasion (household staples, special occasion)
  • Benefits sought (quality, service, economy)
  • Consumption status (from never having tried your product to frequent purchaser)
  • Usage frequency (light, medium, heavy)
  • Loyalty (not, somewhat, devout)
  • Readiness to buy (unaware, aware, informed, interested, desirous, intending to buy)
  • Attitude toward product (enthusiastic, positive, indifferent, negative, hostile)

Market Positioning

Positioning is the image of your product or service that you create in the mind of your target market. Your goal is to create an image that’s unique, differentiated, and definable in the mind of your customers. To position your product or service, try the following:

It’s essential that all of your marketing materials support the position or image you are creating.

It’s also critical for you to know your present and potential competitors, both direct and indirect. Examine their strengths and weaknesses relative to yours. This will help you select a market position that provides a competitive advantage.

Your overall position should emphasize those factors that your customers value most, and those which make you stand out from your competition.

Pricing Strategy

Price is a very important factor in your marketing plan. It affects:

Key factors that affect your pricing strategy include:

  • Competition
  • Perceived value of your product
  • How much it cost to develop
  • Broader economic trends
  • Level of market demand
  • Income range of target market

Promotion is the activity of informing, persuading, and influencing your customers’ purchase decisions.

The type and scope of promotional activities that you need to undertake will depend on what the promotion is intended to do, and what goals and objectives you want to achieve. There are four general types of promotional activities:

  • Advertising
  • Sales promotion
  • Publicity and Public Relations
  • Personal Selling

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example of target customers in business plan

What Is a Target Market (And How to Find Yours)

The better you understand your target market, the more you’ll be able to focus your ads and reach the audience most likely to convert into customers.

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Your target market sets the tone for your entire marketing strategy — from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them.

Here’s a hint before we dig in: Your target market is not “everyone” ( unless you’re Google ). Your task in defining your target market is to identify and understand a smaller, relevant niche so you can dominate it. It’s all about narrowing your focus while expanding your reach.

In this guide, we’ll help you learn who’s already interacting with your business and your competitors, then use that information to develop a clear target market as you build your brand .

Bonus: Get the free template to easily craft a detailed profile of your ideal customer and/or target audience.

What is a target market?

A target market is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message . They are the people who are most likely to buy your products or services, and they are united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviors.

The more clearly you define your target market, the better you can understand how and where to reach your ideal potential customers. You can start with broad categories like millennials or single dads, but you need to get much more detailed than that to achieve the best possible conversion rates.

Don’t be afraid to get highly specific. This is all about targeting your marketing efforts effectively, not stopping people from buying your product.

People who are not included in your targeted marketing can still buy from you—they’re just not your top focus when crafting your marketing strategy. You can’t target everyone, but you can sell to everyone.

Your target market should be based on research, not a gut feeling . You need to go after the people who really want to buy from you, even if they’re not the customers you originally set out to reach.

What is target market segmentation?

Target market segmentation is the process of dividing your target market into smaller, more specific groups. It allows you to create a more relevant marketing message for each group.

Remember — you can’t be all things to all people. But you can be different things to different groups of people.

For example, as a vegetarian, I’ve eaten plenty of Impossible Burgers. I’m definitely a target customer. But vegetarians are a surprisingly small target market segment for Impossible Foods: only 10% of their customer base.

That’s why Impossible Foods’ first national advertising campaign was definitely not targeted at me:

The target market segment for this ad campaign was “meat eaters who haven’t yet tried Impossible products.”

Vegetarians and meat eaters have different reasons for eating plant-based burgers and want different things from the experience. Target market segmentation ensures the company reaches the right audience with the right message.

How to define your target market

Step 1. compile data on your current customers.

A great first step in figuring out who most wants to buy from you is to identify who is already using your products or services. Once you understand the defining characteristics of your existing customer base, you can go after more people like that.

Depending on how someone connects with your business, you might have only a little information about them, or a lot.

This doesn’t mean you should add a lot of questions to your order or opt-in process just for audience research purposes — this can annoy customers and result in abandoned shopping carts.

But do be sure to use the information you naturally acquire to understand trends and averages .

Your CRM is a goldmine here. UTM parameters combined with Google Analytics can also provide useful information about your customers.

Some data points you might want to consider are:

  • Age: You don’t need to get too specific here. It won’t likely make a difference whether your average customer is 24 or 27. But knowing which decade of life your customers are in can be very useful.
  • Location (and time zone): Where in the world do your existing customers live? In addition to understanding which geographic areas to target, this helps you figure out what hours are most important for your customer service and sales reps to be online, and what time you should schedule your social ads and posts to ensure best visibility.
  • Language: Don’t assume your customers speak the same language you do. And don’t assume they speak the dominant language of their (or your) current physical location.
  • Spending power and patterns: How much money do your current customers have to spend? How do they approach purchases in your price category?
  • Interests: What do your customers like to do, besides using your products or services? What TV shows do they watch? What other businesses do they interact with?
  • Challenges: What pain points are your customers facing? Do you understand how your product or service helps them address those challenges?
  • Stage of life: Are your customers likely to be college students? New parents? Parents of teens? Retirees?

If you’re selling B2B products, your categories will look a little different. You might want to collect information about the size of businesses that buy from you, and information about the titles of the people who tend to make the buying decisions. Are you marketing to the CEO? The CTO? The social marketing manager?

Step 2. Incorporate social data

Social media analytics can be a great way of filling out the picture of your target market. They help you understand who’s interacting with your social accounts, even if those people are not yet customers.

These people are interested in your brand. Social analytics can provide a lot of information that might help you understand why. You’ll also learn about potential market segments you may not have thought to target before.

You can also use social listening to help identify the people who are talking about you and your product on social media, even if they don’t follow you.

If you want to reach your target market with social ads, lookalike audiences are an easy way to reach more people who share characteristics with your best customers.

Step 3. Check out the competition

Now that you know who’s already interacting with your business and buying your products or services, it’s time to see who’s engaging with the competition.

Knowing what your competitors are up to can help you answer some key questions:

  • Are your competitors going after the same target market segments as you are?
  • Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider?
  • How are they positioning themselves?

Our guide on how to do competitor research on social media walks you through the best ways to use social tools to gather competitor insights.

You won’t be able to get detailed audience information about the people interacting with your competitors, but you’ll be able to get a general sense of the approach they’re taking and whether it’s allowing them to create engagement online.

This analysis will help you understand which markets competitors are targeting and whether their efforts appear to be effective for those segments.

Step 4. Clarify the value of your product or service

This comes down to the key distinction all marketers must understand between features and benefits. You can list the features of your product all day long, but no one will be convinced to buy from you unless you can explain the benefits .

Features are what your product is or does. The benefits are the results. How does your product make someone’s life easier, or better, or just more interesting?

If you don’t already have a clear list of the benefits of your product, it’s time to start brainstorming now. As you create your benefit statements, you’ll also by default be stating some basic information about your target audience.

For example, if your service helps people find someone to look after their pets while they’re away, you can be pretty confident that your market will have two main segments: (1) pet owners and (2) existing or potential pet-sitters.

If you’re not sure exactly how customers benefit from using your products, why not ask them in a survey, or even a social media poll ?

You might find that people use your products or services for purposes you haven’t even thought of. That might, in turn, change how you perceive your target market for future sales.

Step 5. Create a target market statement

Now it’s time to boil everything you’ve discovered so far into one simple statement that defines your target market. This is actually the first step in creating a brand positioning statement , but that’s a project for another day. For now, let’s stick to creating a statement that clearly defines your target market.

For example, here’s Zipcar’s brand positioning statement, as cited in the classic marketing text Kellogg on Marketing . We’re interested in the first part of the statement, which defines the target market:

“To urban-dwelling, educated, techno-savvy consumers who worry about the environment that future generations will inherit, Zipcar is the car-sharing service that lets you save money and reduce your carbon footprint, making you feel you’ve made a smart, responsible choice that demonstrates your commitment to protecting the environment.”

Zipcar is not targeting all residents of a particular city. They’re not even targeting all the people in a given city who don’t own a car. They’re specifically targeting people who:

  • live in an urban area
  • have a certain degree of education
  • are comfortable with technology
  • are concerned about the environment

These are all interests and behaviors that Zipcar can specifically target using social content and social ads .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Zipcar (@zipcar)

They also help to guide the company’s overall approach to its service, as evidenced by the rest of the positioning statement.

When crafting your target market statement, try to incorporate the most important demographic and behavior characteristics you’ve identified. For example:

Our target market is [gender(s)] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and like to [activity].

Don’t feel like you need to stick to these particular identifiers. Maybe gender is irrelevant for your market, but you have three or four key behaviors to incorporate in your statement.

If you offer multiple products or services, you might need to create a target market statement for each market segment. In this case, it’s useful to define buyer personas .

Target market examples

Nike target market.

Despite its current market domination, Nike actually provides a great example of what can go wrong when you try to target too general of an audience.

Nike started out as a running shoe company. In the 1980s, they tried to expand their target market beyond runners to include anyone who wanted comfortable shoes. They launched a line of casual shoes, and it flopped.

Here’s the thing: Non-runners were already buying Nike shoes to walk to work, or for other casual purposes. Nike spotted this as an opportunity to expand. Instead, they diluted their brand promise, and the company actually started losing money.

The lesson, according to company founder Phil Knight?

“Ultimately, we determined that we wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company and the Nike brand to represent sports and fitness activities. Once you say that, you have focus.”

While Nike would certainly not stop casual users from buying its shoes, the company refocused everything from product development to marketing on its target market: athletes of all levels, from pro to beer league.

In fact, understanding the importance of focus led Nike into a highly effective strategy of target market segmentation. The brand has multiple target markets for its various product lines.

On social, that means they use multiple accounts to reach their different target market groups. No one account tries to be all things to all customers.

The post below from Nike’s general Instagram account targets the segment of their audience interested in fashion and lifestyle products.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball)

But the company also has channels dedicated to specific sports. Here’s an example of the content they create for runners:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nike Running (@nikerunning)

And that means … the brand has been able to return to marketing its products specifically for casual wear. It just reaches the casual target market through different channels than it uses for its athletic markets. It’s a different target market segment, and a different marketing message

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nike Sportswear (@nikesportswear)

Like Nike, you might have one target market, or many, depending on the size of your brand. Remember that you can only speak effectively to one target market segment at a time.

Takasa target market

Takasa is a Canadian retail homewares company that specializes in organic, fair trade bedding and bath linens.

Here’s their target market as defined by founders Ruby and Kuljit Rakhra:

“ Our target market is the LOHAS segment, which means Family Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. This group of people is already living, or striving to live, a green lifestyle … We know our target demo is very conscious about what their families consume, as well as the impact this consumption has on the environment.”

In their social content, they clearly identify the product features most important to their target market: organic materials and fair labor practices.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Organic + Fairtrade Home Goods (

The City of Port Alberni’s target market

Why does a city need a target market? In Port Alberni’s case, the city is working to “attract investment, business opportunities and new residents.” To that end, they launched a rebranding and marketing campaign.

And a marketing campaign, of course, needs a target market. Here’s how the city defined it:

“ Our target market is young people and young families 25 to 45 years of age who are entrepreneurial-minded, family oriented, adventurous, enjoy an active lifestyle, desire an opportunity to contribute to growth, well-educated and skilled professionals or tradespeople.”

In their social content, they highlight recreational opportunities aimed at those active and adventurous young families, even using the handle @PlayinPA.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by City of Port Alberni (@playinpa)

White House Black Market target market

White House Black Market is a women’s fashion brand. Here’s how they describe their target customer on their website :

“Our customer … is strong yet subtle, modern yet timeless, hard-working yet easy-going.”

That’s a fine description when talking directly to customers. But the marketing department needs a target market definition with a few more specifics. Here’s the detailed target market as described by the company’s former president:

“ Our target market is women [with a] median age of about 45 … at a stage in her life where she’s very busy, primarily a working woman. She’s probably got one or two kids left at home [or] … her children may be out of the house and on their way to college.”

With their hashtag #WHBMPowerhouse, they focus on this key demographic of women in their 40s with busy home lives and careers.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by White House Black Market (@whbm)

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Christina Newberry is an award-winning writer and editor whose greatest passions include food, travel, urban gardening, and the Oxford comma—not necessarily in that order.

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Target Markets: Why They Aren't Just for Marketers [A Quick Guide]

Sean Higgins

Published: August 08, 2022

Sales teams and entrepreneurs need to know their target market. You can get there by asking yourself, "Who is the ideal fit for my offering? What are their interests and priorities?"

target market brainstorming meeting with four co-workers.

Answering these questions can help you prioritize the deals you're most likely to win. But how can you really understand the ins-and-outs of your target market?

Let's take a closer look at what a target market is, go over how to conduct a target market analysis, see some helpful examples, review target market segmentation, and look into how sales teams can leverage target markets.

→ Download Now: Market Research Templates [Free Kit]

Table of Contents

How to analyze your target market, target market analysis example, target market examples, target market segmentation.

How Sales Teams Can Leverage Target Markets

What Is a Target Market?

A target market is a group of customers for which your products and services are aimed. First defined by an industry (i.e., healthcare, travel, technology, etc.), it represents a specific subset of the broader market the industry covers. It's usually based on factors like behavioral tendencies, geographic location, and demographic characteristics.

Let's say you've created a B2B software product that helps remote construction teams. In that case (and to state the obvious), you'd probably focus on companies within the construction industry. But defining your target market doesn't stop there.

You know your industry, but there's no one-size-fits-all mold for the businesses within it. If you were pinning down a target market for your product, you'd have to start with business characteristics — for instance, scale would be a good place to begin.

Your product will suit certain companies better than others, and selling to a Fortune 1000 company isn't the same as a small construction business with less than 100 employees.

In this case, you'd want to pin down the size of your ideal customer's business — and this number would be the start of a target market analysis.

Let's take a closer look at what that process looks like.

  • Analyze your product or service.
  • Check out the competition.
  • Choose criteria to segment by.
  • Perform research.
  • Track and evaluate your results.

As the name implies, target market analysis is the basis for identifying your target market. Here are the five steps you can take to do one of your own.

1. Analyze your product or service.

Take a look at what you're selling to understand which consumers would get value from your product. The questions below will help with the brainstorming process:

  • "What need does your product or service fill?"
  • "Are there any problems or pain points it solves for?"
  • "Who would benefit most from your product or service?"

Once you've answered these questions, you might want to consider getting feedback from current customers. Conduct a focus group or ask your service department about their common problems.

Analyzing your product or service in this way will help you better understand your target market. In fact, you might learn that your current customers aren't the people you're trying to target. If you notice a disconnect in this process, you'll want to better align your target market with your actual marketing goals so you can realign.

2. Check out the competition.

Perform an analysis of your competitors to see who they're targeting. Take a look at their customer base, and see if you can find an area of the market you could focus on that they might be missing.

The best way to do this is to conduct a competitive analysis . This entails researching who your competitors are, what they offer, and even review their sales tactics.

Looking at your competitors will even help you identify target market gaps that you can fill. Are there any target markets they do not focusing on?

This could lead you to expand into new markets geographically or develop new products to target a different market.

3. Choose criteria to segment by.

A target market can be segmented by a few different variables. Consumers can be split by demographic, geographic, and behavioral factors.

This is essentially the process of creating a buyer persona . You'll divide your target market into several target customers — also known as (you guessed it) buyer personas.

For example, perhaps your target market is midsized companies looking to purchase marketing automation software. You could divide your target customers into several groups, including marketing department leaders, sales leaders, founders, or CEOs.

Here are some of the most common ways to segment a target market:

4. Perform research.

As you begin narrowing your market, the research phase doesn't end there. What marketing strategies should you use to reach your potential target market? Is the target market large enough for your product or service? Market research will help you learn more about your target market.

Picking the right target market can tell you a great deal about your business. Are you looking to become a true velocity business, or do you see yourself as a steadier flow of pipeline with enterprises and consumers?

5. Track and evaluate your results.

Target market analysis should never be static — you don't just conduct one, be immediately content with the results, and stop there. It's an ongoing process. You need to continuously track your results, evaluate what you see, and iterate on the conception of your target market to more effectively appeal to it.

Let's imagine a company that sells inexpensive, "function-over-form" athletic footwear that stresses comfort and arch support instead of trendy aesthetics.

1. Analyze the product or service.

When conducting its target market analysis, the business in question would have to start by taking a thorough, objective look at its product to get a solid grip on its value and differentiating factors.

The company would likely find that its shoes are better suited for day-to-day wear instead of legitimate athletic competition, lack trendy appeal, and can help with sore feet while standing.

This initial insight can help shape the personas that the company will ultimately target. It would have a better picture of how to construct its value proposition. In this case, the business might find that suburban men over 50 who don't exercise regularly appear to be the most likely to buy its shoes.

Next, the company would dig into its competitor's products, how they were selling them, and any noticeable gaps in their potential target markets. After conducting a competitive analysis, the company might find that its competition was ignoring some geographical trends embedded in its target markets.

Let's say its competitors' retail locations and store placements were primarily in cities — ignoring locations like suburban strip malls and local "mom and pop" retail stores. With that information in mind, the company in question could have a starting point for appealing to a target market its competition is ignoring.

Here, the company would begin to string more detailed personas together. Again, it would base its segmentation criteria on its product analysis and refine it according to its competitive analysis.

In this case, a significant portion of the criteria would revolve around age, social class, location, and interests — making one of its personas older, working class, suburban consumers who prioritize function over form.

After creating its target persona, the company would conduct a market analysis, survey consumers that fit its target market bill, potentially employ more direct tactics like hosting focus groups, and take any other strides it sees fit to ensure that it has a thorough understanding of its target consumers.

From there, it can shape a thoughtful value proposition that will guide its sales messaging, outreach strategies, pricing structure, and other crucial sales-related factors that influence how it reaches consumers.

5. Track and evaluate results.

Once the other steps have been covered, the company would continue to monitor how its efforts resonate with its target persona. If sales aren't where they need to be — or it appears the company might have other personas it can cater to — it might restart this process and shift gears on its messaging, strategies, or target market as a whole.

Let's look at some of the best-in-class companies — both B2C and B2B — to see how they set up their target markets.

1. Atlassian Target Market

Atlassian offers a suite of collaboration tools designed to help developers and product leaders take their projects from concept to completion.

Like most larger companies, Atlassian uses target market segmentation to look at different markets and break up its unique value propositions, terminology, and values.

By diving into one segment, like retail, we see they're working with several large companies — especially with their support-related products.

This tells us that while Atlassian can work with almost anyone doing software development, it recognizes how its value proposition changes depending on the market segment in question.

Even the same product for two different customer types creates different levels of value.

2. Nike Target Market

Nike offers products to athletes and other consumers who want to exercise regularly. They offer apparel, equipment, shoes, and accessories.

They work with athletes and a fitness-minded audience, but we know a good target market definition can't be that broad. Let's break two of their segments down:

  • Young athletes — Kids who get frequent exercise and play sports growing up are a huge, growing category for Nike. Nike engages with this market through sports leagues and associations and with endorsements from popular sports stars like LeBron James.
  • Runners — With a focus on new types of shoes, Nike shows it targets consumers based on both demographic information and lifestyle. Nike launches shoes and apparel designed to help the avid runner stay on the road a bit longer.

3. Starbucks Target Market

Next time you're sipping your cold foam Cascara cold brew, ponder the target market of the top coffee destination in town: Starbucks .

Many of their locations have been remodeled and offer a hip, contemporary look. Not that surprising since about half of their customers are between the ages of 25 and 40.

If you spend more than five minutes sitting and drinking your coffee, you'll probably hear a barista shout, "mobile order!" The mobile process now accounts for 24% of Starbucks' transactions which shows they're catering to a tech-savvy crowd.

The next clue we have on their target market is the location of their shops. By positioning its locations in heavily urban areas, Starbucks is attracting on-the-go professionals. To recap, here are a few of Starbucks' target markets:

  • 25 - 40-year-olds — Remodeled locations accommodate their largest demographic base.
  • Tech-savvy adults — Their mobile app has caught on and lends itself to a forward-thinking crowd.
  • Working professionals — Their urban focus tells us the type of lifestyle they're catering to.

target market example: Starbucks

4. Apple Target Market

What about a company that occupies both the B2B and B2C spaces? How can it develop a target market with such a broad set of customers? Apple is the textbook case for innovation and product design.

But how does that apply to finding a target market? With its wide array of product offerings, Apple has a little something for everyone. Here are two of their target markets:

  • Tech enthusiasts — A customer category that launched Apple's brand decades ago, technology enthusiasts still get attention from the company. With launches of new tech categories (including wearables, Apple TVs, and HomePods), Apple has shown it's still creating value for this segment. There is also a tremendous ecosystem where owning a suite of Apple products enables better interoperability among your tech.
  • Healthcare — One market Apple has its eyes on is healthcare. By focusing on the appeal of having information right at your fingertips with mobile and the iPad, they've positioned healthcare workers to more conveniently communicate with patients.

Apple doesn't seem to exclude many people from its target market and has positioned itself to benefit both consumers and businesses — even with the same products like the iPad.

Its success has been more about understanding the value of its different segments rather than excluding people from them.

5. McDonald's Target Market

McDonald's target market is broad and encompasses a wide variety of customer personas. Younger professionals represent one of the chain's more prominent target market segments — and that trend is reflected in many of the company's location remodels. Several McDonald's franchises have been revamped to look sleeker, more modern, and better suited for millennials.

target market example: McDonalds

Image Source: Community Impact

"Full nest" families with children over six represent another key base for the chain. The franchise takes many strides to appeal to this specific segment, primarily reflected in its Happy Meal options.

But there's another factor that underscores virtually every target market McDonald's tries to appeal to — social class. The chain makes a conscious effort to resonate with lower, working, and middle-class patrons.

Pricing is the basis of McDonald's value proposition. It tries to bill itself as an affordable alternative to more expensive options in the spaces it attempts to sell in. For instance, when promoting its McCafe line, the chain stressed the brand's particularly low price points as a major selling point.

Mcdonalds target market

Image Source: McDonald's

Ultimately, the franchise's target market isn't singular and clear-cut in terms of most demographics — but it is specific in terms of its various personas' economic circumstances. Its value proposition fundamentally rests on the fact that its food is inexpensive.

Target Customers

A target customer is an individual that's most likely to buy your product. And it's a subset of the broader target market. For example, if your target market is female athletes between the ages of 13 to 25, a target customer could be female athletes in the specific age range of 13 to 16.

You need to have a firm grasp of your target customers if you're going to develop pointed, effective value propositions. The success and viability of your sales messaging, prospecting efforts, and broader sales process rests on your knowledge of who's buying your product or service and the mindset that makes them do it.

That starts with target market segmentation.

Target market segmentation is the process of partitioning your target audience into more focused, identifiable, and approachable groups (or segments). It's a broad concept that can take on a lot of forms, including:

  • Geographic segmentation — Dividing your target market based on geographical boundaries
  • Firmographic segmentation — A practice specific to B2B sales where firms are divided based on characteristics like company size or number of employees
  • Behavioral segmentation — Dividing your target market based on behavioral tendencies and decision-making patterns
  • Demographic segmentation — Dividing your target market based on factors like income, education, race, gender, or occupation
  • Psychographic segmentation — Dividing your target market-based elements like personality traits, values, and opinions

How you elect to segment your target market will be specific to your company's needs and interests. In many — if not most — cases, you'll employ more than one of the segmentation methods listed above when defining a target market.

When you identify the customers you want to serve — and the ones you don't — ask:

  • "Do my target customers have different problems they're solving with my product?"
  • "Do my target customers get different value from my product?"
  • "Are either of these things related to demographic, geographic, or lifestyle components?"

In order to segment effectively, you must have a decent way of measuring the value you provide to the market. Then, identify if certain groups are getting more value than others.

This will power the positioning of your product. Suddenly, you can pinpoint pain for your customers while speaking their language.

This helps you refine your position in the market and connect on a deeper level with your customer. Having a target market (or target customer) is all about relevancy and relating to the person on the other side of the cash register.

How Sales Teams Can Leverage Target Markets + Segmentation

Segmentation poses several benefits for sales teams. If you know who will be most receptive to your product or service, you get a leg up when conducting most steps of your sales process.

sales teams and target markets

For one, effective segmentation can be a major asset in prospecting. If your SDRs have a solid picture of the types of customers that show an interest in your offering, cold leads can become a little warmer — letting those reps make more thoughtfully guided use of your sales messaging when connecting with prospects.

Beyond that, segmentation can also help with lead qualification. Knowing whether a lead fits the bill of a class of high-converting customers gives reps a head start during that stage.

You need to have some kind of criteria that can immediately distinguish a prospect who needs your product or service from one that lacks the decision-making tendencies, location, or economic circumstances to actually get something out of it. Target market segmentation gets you there.

Finally, target markets provide sales teams with the necessary information to breach new markets and sell to them effectively. If you're not on top of any emerging markets that might need your product or service, you could hit a wall with your sales potential and lose out on incredibly lucrative business opportunities.

Ultimately, knowing your target markets inside and out is one of the most fundamental tenets of successful sales efforts. If you're not actively analyzing, pursuing, and refining your understanding of your target markets, you're losing out on sales and painting yourself into a corner with your business potential.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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13 Target Market Examples for Food: Who Are You Selling to?

Successful food businesses are always looking for new customers. Whether they are restaurants, bars, cafes, bistros, or fast-food joints, they are always on the lookout for new markets to attract.

If you are in the food business, you are no doubt wondering what additional markets you can target with your products, your menus, and your marketing strategies.

Interestingly, food businesses have a unique challenge when it comes to target markets. Unlike other industries, there are countless potential target markets for food businesses. This can be both a good and a bad thing.

The good news is that you have a lot of potential customers to choose from. The bad news is that you cannot address everyone and so sometimes it can be difficult to determine which target market is the best fit for your business.

Target market examples for food

In this article, we will review 13 target market examples for food businesses that you could potentially go after. We’ll also give you tips on how to determine who your target market is.

So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while and want to refine your target market, read on!

Target Market Examples For Food Businesses

Here are 13 target market examples for food businesses you can choose from:

  • Single adults
  • Families with young children
  • Health-conscious individuals
  • Busy professionals
  • Empty nesters
  • Visitors to a city or town
  • People with food allergies or dietary restrictions
  • People looking for a quick snack
  • People looking for takeaway or home delivery
  • People looking for a specific cuisine
  • People looking for an upscale dining experience

Let’s discuss in detail the needs and wants of each of these target markets.

1. Single adults

Single adults often order food or go out to eat. They may not cook as much as people who are married or have families. They are often looking for convenience and quick service.

Single working adults also tend to have more disposable income than adults with children. This means they are willing to spend more on food, both in terms of quantity and quality. This makes them great markets for new dining experiences like those of fast casual restaurants .

This group of people will often order food online to avoid the hassle of cooking and cleaning but have the luxury of eating at home.

2. Families with young children

Families with young children want food that is affordable and kid-friendly. They may be looking for restaurants with a play area or special menu items for kids. They may also be looking for a place that is family-friendly and can accommodate large groups.

Large families are also a good target market for catering companies . If there is a family gathering involving extended family like grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. they may choose to cater food rather than have everyone go to a restaurant.

3. Health-conscious individuals

Health-conscious individuals are interested in healthy food options . They may want organic food , vegetarian or vegan options , or gluten-free items. They may also be interested in knowing the nutrition information of everything they order.

If you are targetting this group of people, make sure to have plenty of options on the menu for healthy drinks and energy drinks as these are often high-margin items that health-conscious people are usually willing to pay for.

4. Busy professionals

Busy professionals look for quick and easy options. They may want food that is ready to eat or that can be easily taken on the go. They may also be interested in healthy options, as they often do not have time to cook or prepare meals.

This group of people is also a good target for lunch options. So if your food business is located in or near a business district, this is a target market you should consider.

5. Empty nesters

Empty nesters are often retired or no longer have children living at home. They may be looking for restaurants that are quiet and have a relaxed atmosphere. They may also be interested in trying new foods or exploring different cuisines.

However, empty nesters are not the same as retirees (our next segment) as they may still be working. This means they could have plenty of disposable income and would gladly visit fine dining restaurants .

So they may have similar needs to busy professionals. Also, they will be at an age where they will start becoming more health-conscious and may prefer healthy food options .

6. Retirees

Retirees often have more time to spend on activities, including cooking and dining out. They may be looking for restaurants with a leisurely pace or that offer a variety of activities. Like empty nesters, they too can be interested in trying new foods or cuisines.

However, retirees often have a fixed income, which means they may be more price-sensitive than other target markets. They may also prefer restaurants that offer discounts or seniors’ specials.

7. Students

Students are often looking for affordable and quick options. They may be looking for a place to study or do homework, as well as somewhere to eat. They may also be interested in restaurants that offer discounts or student specials.

It is important to target students at the right time, which is usually during the school year. However, you should also consider targeting them during summer break as they often have more free time then and may be more likely to dine out.

Also, remember that when it comes to food options students are looking to stretch their dollars as much as possible. So if you own a restaurant, think of offering a buffet with discounted prices for students.

When done right, buffets can be very profitable .

8. Visitors to a city or town

People visiting a city or town are often looking for a place to eat that is representative of the local area. They may be interested in trying new foods or cuisines that they are not familiar with.

They may also be looking for restaurants that are popular with locals, as this can give them a sense of what the city or town is like.

Visitors, especially those on vacation or business trips, often have a higher budget for dining out and are willing to spend more on food and drinks.

9. People with food allergies or dietary restrictions

If you own a food business, it’s important to cater to people with food allergies or dietary restrictions. This target market is often overlooked, but can be very loyal to businesses that accommodate their needs.

People with food allergies or dietary restrictions often have a difficult time finding places to eat that cater to their needs. As a result, they are often willing to spend more on food that they know is safe for them to eat.

If you want to target people with food allergies or dietary restrictions, it’s important to make sure your menu is clearly labeled and that you have a variety of options available. You should also train your staff on how to deal with people with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

10. People looking for a quick snack

Everyone needs a snack once in a while and people often look for a quick snack to tide them over till the next meal.

If you own a bakery, for example, you can target people looking for a quick snack by offering a variety of pastries, cakes , and other baked goods. You can also offer coffee or tea to go with the snacks. You could even consider having a juice bar on the side. Often, bakeries tend to make the most profits on such snack foods and drinks.

Remember, as well that there is a growing market for healthy snacks . People are becoming more health-conscious and are looking for healthier options, even when it comes to snacks. This market also includes parents who are always looking for a snack for their kids.

If you own a store, you could consider carrying protein bars and different brands of bottled water as well as other non-alcoholic beverages .

11. People looking for takeaway or home delivery

This segment of the target market for food overlaps all of the above. But we can treat them separately because they have a unique set of needs.

People looking for takeaway or home delivery often don’t have the time to cook, or they may not have access to a kitchen. They may also be looking for food that is more affordable than eating out at a restaurant.

If you offer takeaway or home delivery, it’s important to have a variety of options available. You should also make sure that the food is properly packaged and labeled so that it can be easily transported.

And be sure to have a website so that people can order food from you online .

It’s also important to have a good delivery system in place so that the food arrives fresh and on time. Remember, people are often looking for convenience when they order takeaway or home delivery, so it’s important to make the process as easy and effortless as possible.

12. People looking for a specific cuisine

Often people want to eat a cuisine that they are not able to cook at home. This target market is looking for a specific cuisine, and they are willing to pay for it.

For instance, if someone wants to eat sushi , or Indian or Italian , or seafood , they could either experiment and cook at home, or they could rely on an expert and go to a restaurant or order online for home delivery .

If you offer a specific cuisine, it’s important to make sure that you are offering authentic dishes. People who are looking for a specific cuisine often know a lot about the cuisine and can tell if the dishes are not authentic.

13. People looking for an upscale dining experience

As we say with some of the earlier segments, many people like to go to nice restaurants for an upscale dining experience. They look for fine foods, the best wines, and exquisite desserts.

While many people can cook this at home, sometimes it is best to go to a fine dining restaurant and get pampered. This is especially true for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, valentine’s day, etc.

If you target this market, it’s important to make sure that your restaurant offers a complete dining experience. This includes offering a wide variety of dishes, an extensive wine list, and delicious desserts. You should also make sure that your staff is properly trained to provide excellent customer service.

So, there you have it – 13 target market examples for food that you can use for your food business.

Remember, that while this list is long, it is not exhaustive. You could create as many segments in this vast market as you want. After all, everyone needs to eat.

What’s important is to create a segment or niche in a way that you can design a menu that appeals to this segment and then develop marketing strategies to attract customers to your business.

The key is to understand your target market and what they are looking for. Once you know that, you can create a food business that satisfies the needs of your customers.


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    Family Dollar, the struggling discount chain that caters to low-income customers predominantly in cities, said Wednesday it will close nearly 1,000 stores.