Skip to Main Content
Campus Library Logo

Customer overview

Questions to answer about customers:

  • Who is your ideal customer? Provide a specific description that summarizes your market overview in terms of demographics, psychographics, and life stages.
  • How many potential customers are there in your target area?
  • How are these customers currently being served?
  • What is the unmet need and how will you meet it?
  • How will you win the customers currently being served by others?

When researching customers, focus on three major areas: demographics, psychographics, and life stages. The information you gather will make up the market overview for your business. 

Demographics- The characteristics of human populations and population segments, especially when used to identify consumer markets. Common groupings are: Education; Geographic area; Income; Age; Gender; Race; Home ownership; Employment status.

Psychographics- the attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. 

  • What are your customers' beliefs? What is important to your customers?
  • Why do you believe they are the type to buy your product? Can you prove it? 

Life Stages- Is your product limited to certain time periods in customer's lives? (e.g., single, child rearing, retired, empty nest, college age)

Databases for customer research

Customer research - free online resources

Demographics resources

Psychographics resources

  • SRI Consulting Business Intelligence VALS. A commercial website that breaks down shopper types to help identify shoppers within target areas. "VALS is a consumer psychographic segmentation system because it is based on psychological characteristics and several demographics that correlate with consumer behavior-hence, psychographics." 
  • VALS Survey

Life stages resources