What is a Customer Analysis?
In many ways customer analysis is the most important piece of your business plan. In order for your business to be successful, you must be able to demonstrate who will buy your products or services. Be sure to identify your customer segments, and how your business will meet their specific needs.
- Step-By-Step Checklist
- Find Demographic Data
- Library Business Research Resources
- Public Opinion Polls
Begin with a concise overview of your industry. You can reiterate this from your Industry Analysis.
Define your prospects on a measurable level. Describe the demographics of your customers including their age, sex, race, occupation, household income, rent vs. own, postal code, population, spending habits and number in household, where they are located, etc. Be sure to cite all of your sources.
Describe changes over time and projected changes in the future.
Describe your customers' behavior.
Consider how they make decisions and who in the household makes which decisions. Determine whether they respond to price, loyalty, quality, technology, reliability or trends. Divide your market into segments, assign value to each segment, and decide how to best approach each segment. Be sure to cite all of your sources.
Use your Competitive Analysis to provide an overview of your competition.
Use this information about your industry, customer prospects and competitors to identify gaps in the market.
Identify partners through the same research methods used for your industry analysis.
Census Profile - Statistics Canada
Provides Canadian community profiles from the latest Census of Canada. These profiles are very useful for comparing statistics on different municipalities or regional districts. Includes details on family characteristics, primary language, mobility, educational attainment, marital status, labour force activity, earnings, and mode of transportation to work.
Find latest data from the 2016 Census
Market Research Handbook - Statistics Canada A comprehensive source of socio-economic statistics. Data includes profiles of key industries, including the small business sector, as well as of consumers in all the provinces and in 45 major cities across Canada. Also includes information on international trade data, households, families, and selected economic indicators. The Market Research Handbook was published annually until 2008 but is now discontinued. A copy of the 2008 version in PDF format is available on their website.
Socio-Economic Profiles - BC Stats
The socio-economic profiles consist of charts and tables for the various regional districts, health areas, college regions and school districts. Each region contains a map, demographic profile, economic hardship, labour market structure, education concerns, crime, health problems, children at risk, and youth at risk. The profiles are presented in a format that allows comparison to other regions in the province and to BC overall.
GeoSearch | Statistics Canada
Use this tool for map views of census demographic and thematic data.
Search or browse all NAICS or SIC codes on the NAICS Association website. Some NAICS codes are different in Canada — you can search by keyword or browse Canadian NAICS codes at Statistics Canada or Canadian Industry Statistics. To search for a SIC code using a NAICS code and vice versa, use the NAICS & SIC Crosswalks.
For more information about planning your industry research, including identifying your industry codes, check out the video tutorial for Module 3: Planning Your Industry Research.
Business Resources at Academic Libraries
Colleges and Universities with business programs will have useful business collections you may be able to get access to through their academic library. Often these academic libraries can provide the general public with access to their collections, which include electronic resources like databases and e-books. For example, they could have alumni or community cards, and can provide temporary "guest" passes in certain situations. Contact your local college or university library to see what they can provide. Please note: you probably will not get access to their electronic resources with remote access.
UBC Library Business Databases
How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you may have access to business databases through the David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons through the links below.
There are two different ways to identify databases: Use "by title" if you already know the name; otherwise you can search the list "by subject" to find starting places for undertaking market research, finding articles or researching companies. To learn more about how you can access library resources if you are a community user or temporary visitor, check out the UBC Library Community Users & Visitors Guide. Community users and temporary visitors may have additional access restrictions to specific databases because of license agreements.
Discovering where you can access the information you need to complete your research can be tricky. Below, we have a few examples of potential sources that collect the type of information you will need.
Canadian Advertising Rates and Data
Vividata (formerly "Print Measurement Bureau")
Roper Center for Public Opinion
Search this website for news releases and additional resources from Gallup.
Links to Canadian, U.S. and international polls. Includes polls on consumer goods.
Note: If possible, it is an excellent idea to conduct some primary market research on your customers. You can conduct focus groups, customer satisfaction measurements, field testing, etc.
Now you're ready to start writing your business plan!