Key Customers

Everything should be through your customer's eyes. 

After all, they are the main reason for your business. If you aren't thinking about them, and the following metrics, you are missing an opportunity to be of real value to them. Additionally, the more you know about your customer, the more you'll be able to find them to market to them - you know, to make sure they know about you!  

The topics in parentheses are to help you understand where you’ll need these answers as you start to build your business and start operating. 


How to Define Your Target Market by Mandy Porta 

Inc. Market Guide, n.d.  

Define Key Customers 

Use this Key Customers worksheet to assist you as you figure out how to define your key customers.

Marketing terms you may come across when talking about customers in the business world are key customer, customer segments, target market, persona and archetype. 

You never want to say everyone is your customer. Yes, anyone and everyone can buy your product, but the reality is that you don't have enough resources to reach everyone in the world, plus the reality is that what you offer isn't what everyone wants or needs. Therefore you must ask yourself this: who is most likely to be your key customer? You want to focus on them. 

There are 4 main characteristics you can use to define your key customers, but only use what makes most sense to you and is specific to your business. 

***You don't have to use all these characteristics!
Only use the ones that make sense for your key customers and business.
Ask yourself, are there specific qualities from above that are common in the groups of customers you serve?*** 

Another way to think about this is through the lens of an Archetype, which is “the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype” ( 

You can describe your customer as an Archetype to help you describe the following about your customers: 

We learn to talk about our customers through these archetypes to help us with future sales and marketing strategies. Think of the archetype as a way to better focus on how and where to find your customer and also the future marketing content you'll use to persuade them to learn more about you. 

Think about a story or quick summary you could tell about the customer that uses all their main characteristics.

Keep in mind, you may have a few archetypes. We call this customer segmentation, where we can bunch together similar key customers together into different groups. This way we can understand and know how much of each archetype we might have. Each group of customer segments add up to make a whole market. 

Research  - use this website to help you figure out some of the numbers 

Example, if you are looking for how many households make more than $25K a year because that is what someone would need to be able to pay for your services, you can drill down into a town to see this 


A mobile dog grooming business based out of Maine. 

Click here to see the information they gathered about their key customers. 

What similar information could you find out that would pertain to your industry? 


A beauty salon is focused on esthetics and body work, like massage. Here is an example of how they start to understand their key customers, which they have identified as 2 groups. 

Customer Segment

Archetype – older women who don’t have children in the house, with disposable income looking for relaxation and who like to socialize with other women in a beautiful setting.

How reached - on Facebook, community pages, word of mouth; want to be cultivated and feel like they are part of a special group; want offers that give them a package deal for a discount.

% of Market -  about 40% 

Customer Segment

Archetype – are young women who love to follow the latest fashion trends, who are looking for value priced fun events to hang out and socialize with friends and whom are influenced by YouTube videos.

How reached - Target Market B are reached on Instagram and YouTube, video of the salon related services; want to come in and get out; would likely be interested in package deals with friends, special parties for makeup and hair.

% of Market -about 60% 

In the end by whole total of key customers looks like this: 

Figuring out % of Market: 

If you were to have 2 key customer segments, they would hold 100% total together, but maybe only 60/40 each. 

This is the info you want to know… you want to have a sense of which customers you absolutely need because they bring the most business to you, but also understand there are a few kinds of customers, but that some may be bigger than the other, but still important. This is good to know when making decisions about marketing and products. 

Define Market Size

Who is MOST likely to need and buy your product/service?


Go back to your key customer activity. Now that you have a good understanding of your customer and what they value & need; its time to figure out some numbers associated with them... 

How many are there, how much will they spend and how often?   

Ex: as a cafe, I will have 2 target markets

80% grab and go; 20% dine in. 

We use this info to define your market opportunity and to make financial projections. These numbers are very important and can't be made up. You have to have facts to figure this out. Use a mixture of ways to provide you with a strong, broad analysis. 

Look at the examples below to help you figure out facts that you can feel confident to use as educated guesses as you forecast the future.  

Ways to determine market size: 

You will want to use a combination of the following to help you figure out market size. It will depend on your industry and what information you have access to. 

WAY 1 

Traditional way - a top down approach where you try to figure out how big the entire market is, then whittle it down to how many you can reasonably access. 

Start with the TAM or Total Addressable Market. From there, you determine the SAM or Serviceable Available Market, or the portion of the market you can reasonably access based on location or business model. Then the SOM or Serviceable Obtainable Market, is the actual amount of the market that you will realistically capture. Learn more about TAM, SAM, and SOM here at HubSpot

From Hubspot

Image from Hubspot

GYou can use market data and demographics as well as industry trends and info to help understand the amount of the market you can capture. Keep in mind, this is a deeply researched area of market research and requires a lot of data analysis to get to these numbers. But it is not impossible. 

WAY 2 

MVP way - once you start selling, you have actual data to use and extrapolate 


Bottom up way - think about how many you need to cover all your expenses 

Please see example below to see how you can combine all the info to help you figure out your market size using the traditional top-down method. 

Example 1 

Hip salon in Lowell specializing in natural/kinky hair. One target market is women between the ages of 20 - 40 who go natural. 

Facts to help get to a conclusion about the market opportunity: 





Example 2

A downtown Lowell restaurant serving quick healthy lunch options.  

Using DemographicsNow, the owner can do a consumer expenditure search to find out how much on average consumers spend in the area by mile (1,3 and 5 miles out).

Example 3

A chef wants to open a new organic cafe in Lowell. 

Facts to help get to a conclusion about the market opportunity: 




Example 4

A baker wants to do allergen-free treats and desserts. 

Facts to help get to a conclusion about the market opportunity: 




Examples 5 & 6 

Interesting ways to get market opportunity number projections - 

Listen from :43 to 5:07 

This outlines how to go from population of 600,000 to little over 2500 for the pool of love for graduates in Boston. 

2. Listen to Dick's Sporting Goods as he explains that when they first started out, they would go to neighborhoods near potential retail locations and would count the number of play sets in backyards with the thinking that families would probably need sporting goods, so if there were a lot, they tended to locate there.