The successful endpoint of a marketing plan is to achieve an elevated level of the market share for your product or service. The marketing plan serves as a pathway to this end. Three main components represent the keys to realizing this goal: Demographics, geography and data.

Demographics help to outline the audiences you wish to reach and the information which will put you in touch with these groups. Audiences refer to the ages, size of groups, gender, income levels and specific information about your most likely customers.

Demographic information can be gleaned from many readily available sources. If you need assistance in finding these reports, check with your local Extension office, Chamber of Commerce, economic development group or the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Geographical research reveals where people live, work and shop for products and services related to your business. While it may seem unusual to use this component in a marketing plan, where people transact business can define key purchasing information to promote optimum sales.

Clusters of shopping and services denote the actual physical spaces with the most “people traffic” and potential customers. These reports and studies are used to place farmers markets and new stores for positive exposure.

Data serve as valuable information which define the purchasing trends of different sectors. They also show how and where customers are spending their money and what they are buying. This can help you understand how and where to target key potential customers.

Various reports include data on population history, regional growth, income and the types of industry and jobs in a specific area.

In general, customer research will assist you in dividing large groups into more defined segments of the buying public. Once you have narrowed the segment down, you can decide how to best increase your marketing efforts. And as you capture more of the market share for each target group, you improve the potential for the maximum return on your investment.

The above information is presented for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.