Entrepreneurs, non-profits, grants researchers and government agencies can use this tutorial to find information on demographics, psychographics, and market segmentation.


What is a "Target Market"?

The definition of target marketing below is from the Small Business Resource Center:

A target market is a set of buyers sharing common needs or characteristics that a company decides to serve. A company identifies a target market in order to organize its tasks and cope with the particular demands of the marketplace. Target marketing forms the foundation of a modern marketing strategy because doing it well helps a company be more efficient and effective by focusing on a certain segment of its market that it can best satisfy.

Targeting also benefits consumers because a company can reach specific groups of consumers with offers carefully tailored to satisfy their needs. To do so, a company has to evaluate the various segments and decide how many, and which ones, to target. There is no single way to segment a market. A company needs to research different segmentation variables alone and in combination with others to find its target market. Four main variables can be used in segmenting consumer markets: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral segmentation.

Krause, Tatum. "Target Marketing." Encyclopedia of Business and Finance. Ed. Miranda Herbert Ferrara. Vol. 2. 3rd ed. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2014. Small Business Resource Center. Gale. Columbus Metropolitan Library. 

Free Business Research Class

The library offers FREE two-hour classes on how to use library resources to target your market.  Find our schedule of business and finance events on our Events calendar.


Who Might Use Your Product or Service?

In order to find your target market, use the books listed below to pinpoint which consumers are most likely to user your product or service by age, sex, income level, etc.

The books are available as print reference books at Main Library and as eBooks via the research tool Gale Virtual Reference Library. To access the Gale Virtual Reference Library, go to columbuslibrary.org/research. From the right sidebar, select All Tools from the dropdown menu. Find Gale Virtual Reference Library in the alphabetical list. You need a library card number and PIN to access this research tool FREE from your home or office. 

Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand
Examines household spending on 300 products and services. Check our catalog for both print and downloadable e-book versions.

Household Spending: Who Spends How Much on What
Contains information on how much households spend on household products and services, by income, age, household type, and region of residence. Check our catalog for both print and downloadable e-book versions.

Who's Buying series
Overview of spending patterns, arranged by income, race and Hispanic origin, age, region, marital status, household type, and other factors for a variety of products and services. Current titles in this series include Who's Buying at Restaurants and Carry-outs, Who's Buying Entertainment, Who's Buying Apparel, and Who's Buying Transportation. Check our catalog for both print and downloadable e-book versions of the Who’s Buying Series.


Where is Your Target Market?

After you have found who might use your product or service, use these sources to identify where the potential customers are that you need to reach.  


Print Resource

State Profile Ohio published by Woods & Poole
Extensive demographic, economic, and retail sales data provided on the state of Ohio, including 30 year projections for Ohio metro areas, cities and counties. This reference book is available in print.


Research Tools

You can access these research tools from your home or office FREE with your library card number and PIN. Start at columbuslibrary.org/resarch and from the sidebar on the right select Business & Finance from the dropdown menu.


Business Decision (card required for home access) 
Business Decision is a consumer market database for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations that helps businesses to succeed by targeting advertising efforts, increasing market share and growing their clientele.
This resource is a powerful web-based software service that enables you to research consumer expenditure data, demographic data, and market segmentation data associated with geographies you customize such as addresses, ZIP Codes, Census tracts, cities, and much more. 
Use Business Decision for data visualization. Create your own username and password and save a demographic and income profile report.
Consult the Business Decision Resources page to access a market segmentation reference guide and a white paper on using market segmentation for better customer service.
Reference USA (card required for home access)
Reference USA is a directory that can be used to search for people, businesses, potential customers, jobs and physicians. You can create lists with addresses, phone numbers and other information that can be downloaded, printed or emailed. 
The U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles database has data on consumer incomes, home values and incomes, as well as interest in different subjects such as home improvement, politics, and travel. You can generate names and addresses of potential customers and create a heat map of areas of high interest in your product or service.
Use the U.S. Businesses database to create a list of potential business customers. Limit your search by business type, geographic location, business size and other options. Sort, map and export your results to use for a customized business to business contact list. 
Visit referenceusa-resourcecenter.com to view free tutorials and sign up for one-hour webinars.   
You can access NewsBank, Business Source Premier and ProQuest FREE from the library’s Business & Finance page at any library location or from your home or office with a valid library card. Search these indexes for full-text magazine, newspaper and trade journal articles about trends in your industry and consumer attitudes and expenditures.


Online Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
Includes reports on income, consumer prices, and consumer spending.

City of Columbus Economic Development (columbus.gov/economicdevelopment)
Columbus is open for business, and open for your company to grow and prosper. The Economic Development page provides facts and figures about Columbus, business services, and maps of neighborhood commercial revitalization program areas.

The Columbus Region (columbusregion.com)
The Columbus Region website provides a Data and Reports section with data on demographics, infrastructure and area industries. You can also perform a search for available business sites in the region. 

Community Research Partners (communityresearchpartners.org)
This Columbus-based research center creates reports such as Benchmarking Central Ohio and makes them available online. Search the Projects & Publications for keywords to find relevant information. Check our catalog for the location of a print copy and the Community Research Partners site for a link to free downloadable reports.

This website also provides a link to DataSource (datasourcecolumbus.org), a data visualizing tool that pulls together information from other agencies on educational achievement, land use, public assistance and other areas of social and economic development.

Consumer Expenditure Survey (bls.gov/cex)
This program consists of two surveys—the quarterly Interview survey and the Diary survey—that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.

FFIEC Geocoding System (ffiec.gov/Geocode/)
The Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council’s geocoding and mapping system allows retrieval of MSA, State, County, and Census Tract/BNA codes for street addresses. The system is useful for obtaining demographic information, like population and income data.

U.S. Census Bureau (census.gov)
Gather demographic information on your community, research the local economy, and find your SIC or NAICS code using American Factfinder. The Census Bureau web site can also be used to view the latest edition of County Business Patterns.

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) Data, Maps & Tools (morpc.org/our-region/data-maps-tools/index)
This website was developed as a one-stop shop for accessing regional information developed by MORPC about planning, demographics, land use, economic development, transportation, maps, contact lists, and GIS data in Central Ohio. Find traffic counts, use the zoning and permitting tool or access DataSource for data visualization through MORPC’s website.

ODOT Traffic Counts (dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/TechServ/traffic/Pages/Traffic-Count-Reports-and-Maps.aspx)
The Ohio Department of Transportation Traffic Monitoring Section is responsible for programming, collecting, analyzing, and reporting traffic monitoring data for interstate, national and state routes in Ohio. Traffic monitoring data includes vehicle volume, vehicle classification, and weigh-in motion.


Questions? Call our Information Line at 614-645-2ASK and ask to speak with a librarian in Science, Business & News at Main Library.



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