Identify and Define the Target Customer

Sept. 11, 2023
Zero in on the “correct” customer for your shop
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Imagine a favorite character in a book or movie— what’s their gender, age, relationship status, class level, profession; how do they spend their money; and what are their priorities? How do all these characteristics shape how this person’s storyline progresses?

Using the same scope of zeroing in on specific human characteristics, take a look at the people that patron your shop.

Your business’s market is full of all different people, with different lives and traits. And although it is impossible to narrow down the face of your customer-base to a single “type” of person, specific commonalities can be identified to create your own target customer or customer segment.

A customer segment is about piecing together the most common characteristics to help form a representation of a specific target audience. This information will then help to create a marketing plan specifically targeting the individuals most likely to spend money at your shop, reducing the risk of investing in ineffective marketing.

Once you’ve accomplished identifying your target customers, remember the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of your shop’s business comes from the top twenty percent of your customers. After that, roughly 60 percent of your customers account for some of the remaining 20 percent, while a handful of price-shopping, often one-time customers make up the difference.

Why waste money serving the bottom or even middle spenders of your customer pool? Spend money to target the customers who take care of their vehicles regularly—your “Star Customers”—and they will reward sound repairs with repeat business.


Use the following checklist to start uncovering your shop’s target customer.

__ Write down the demographics of your target customer (age, gender, household income).

__ Take note of repeated vehicle types and model years throughout the week.

__ Ask your customers where they are driving in from.

__ Assess the demographic breakdown of the area your shop is located.

__ Learn more about your top customers’ lives and identify opportunities to communicate to other potential customers.


To begin the process of discovering your shop’s ideal customer, first take an in-depth look at who currently enters your doors. Start by looking at your customer relationship management (CRM) system, this database will showcase vital information about who your customers are. If you are not currently using a CRM tool, free ones are available online— can be a good place to start with their tool allowing shops to build, store and manage customer information. Information from your CRM can

be used to cluster together and identify the most common age of your customers, along with their car make and year, and ARO.

The customers spending the most at your shop will want to be specifically recognized. What percentage of your most profitable customers are women? What age range do they generally fall into? Is there a specific car brand they tend to drive?

Answering the above questions begin to create a general image of your top customer, and make finding and talking to more of those top customers, easy.

A shop in an upper-class neighborhood in Florida, may have a target audience of 35-40-year-old moms driving high-end SUVs. Whereas a shop in a larger city of California may have a target audience of 30-35-year-old men with more than one vehicle.


Discovering the geographic area your top customers live in is extremely helpful in the process of pinpointing where your shop should target for the ideal customer.

First, identify the zipcodes of where your top customers live, and then take a closer look at what those communities look like. There are plenty of online tools available to break down certain zip codes into concrete demographics including gender, income, age, and marital status. A popular website that can be used to gather all types of information and data by zip code is the United States Census Bureau, or

This helps to give a larger view of the area your current ideal customers live, and allows for further information on how to attract more customers similar to them.

Geographics also ultimately serve as a location point direct mail can be sent to when a marketing plan is put together and executed.


As helpful as the information from maps and a CRM system can be, they really only provide basic demographics. Psychographics are equally as important as physical traits, and provide even more information. Psychographics dig deeper than who a buyer is, and instead look at why the customer is buying.

In order to learn more about your target market, take a list of some of your top and most trusted customers, call them to ask a bit more about who they are:

“What do you do in your free time?”

“What do you value most in a business?”

“Where are your favorite places to go in your community?”

These questions will help narrow in on what drives your customers, as well as the best ways to reach them.

Maybe the stay-at-home moms of Florida enjoy winery visits with friends on the weekends. Or the young men in California spend most of their time on their computers.

Discovering this information allows you to find ways to immerse your business into their lifestyle.

This deep dive into your customers’ demographics and psychographic should be an ongoing process, and your shop’s target customer should be constantly evaluated.


The further you define your customers, the more you’ll be able to serve existing customers and target new ones who will relate to your shop’s core services and strengths. Try asking yourself these questions:

WHO is your target customer?

WHAT is their age, gender, income level, location and general demographic? WHAT are they looking for when considering a repair shop?

WHEN do they typically need to repair or service their vehicles?

WHERE do they look for shops in their area?

HOW do they prefer to make appointments?

Most importantly, WHY would they go to your shop?

About the Author

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The views and opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of 10 Missions Media and its associated brands.

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