Do you really know your market? 


By Kelly Dyer

The key to marketing is knowing your audience. Unfortunately, this is no easy task since audiences are always changing.

One of the most powerful tools for identifying and understanding your company’s audience comes from a company called Esri. This company views the market as a tapestry of people who have different needs, desires and preferences. The system Esri developed divides this tapestry into 67 unique tapestry segments.

Viewing the market as a tapestry — and working to identify which part of the tapestry your potential customers represent — can help you understand your customers’ lifestyle choices, what they buy and how they spend their free time.


Kelly Dyer is the Manager of Entrepreneurship and Business Development at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The tapestry concept builds on more than 30 years of marketing experience using segmentation to divide and group customer markets and precisely target the best prospects. Segmentation explains customer diversity, simplifies marketing campaigns, describes lifestyle and life stages, and incorporates a wide range of data.

Various types of segmentation systems operate on the theory that people with similar tastes, lifestyles and behaviors seek others with the same tastes — like seeks like. These behaviors can be measured, predicted and targeted.

The Tapestry system combines the “who” of demography with the “where” of local neighborhood geography to create models of various lifestyle classifications or segments of actual neighborhoods with addresses — distinct behavioral market segments.

All companies need to understand consumers in order to supply them with the right products and services and to reach them via their preferred media.

Take, for example, gardening and outdoor living companies. This market, which includes landscaping services, garnered almost $220 billion in 2016.

“As the world becomes more urban, global interest in green spaces — including trees, lawns, flowers and hedges — is increasing in cities across the globe, driving demand for landscaping services,” says a report from national information clearinghouse SBDCNet.

Unfortunately, segmentation reports like this often come at a cost and smaller companies normally can’t afford in-depth market research to help them find the segments they should be targeting.

However, in Missouri, small businesses can find this information at no cost. The Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers have access to the Tapestry segmentation database. Through one-on-one consultations, the business counselor can help businesses target and strategically market to these segments.

The Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers can also connect companies with national resources that can assist with marketing. This includes access to SBDCNet.

If your business needs help better understanding your market, please contact a center near you. A directory is available here.

Contact Dyer at or 573-634-3511.

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