Customer Segments Business Model Canvas

In the Business Model Canvas, the Customer Segments building block details the different groups of people the organization hopes to reach and serve. Customer segmentation is one of the key building blocks, as it’s the foundation of a business model, and it enables it to go through its first stages of traction.

Customer SegmentsCustomer Segments is one of the nine building blocks in the Business Model Canvas, a strategic management tool used to describe, design, and analyze a business model. It defines the different groups of people or organizations a business aims to reach and serve.
Importance– Identifying and targeting the right customer segments is crucial for business success. It helps in tailoring products, services, and marketing efforts to meet the specific needs and preferences of these segments, increasing the likelihood of success.
Types of Segments– Customer segments can vary widely based on criteria such as demographics, geographics, psychographics, behavioral patterns, and more. Businesses often have multiple segments, each requiring a unique approach.
Value Proposition– The choice of customer segments should align with the Value Proposition offered by the business. The value proposition should clearly communicate how the business’s products or services address the specific pain points or desires of each segment.
Channels– Customer segments influence the selection of Channels through which a business reaches its customers. For instance, an online segment may be reached through digital channels, while a local segment may be targeted through physical stores.
Revenue Streams– Different customer segments may generate revenue through various pricing models, such as subscription, pay-per-use, or one-time purchases. Understanding the revenue potential of each segment is essential for financial planning.
Customer Relationships– The nature of customer segments also impacts the type of Customer Relationships a business should establish. For example, segments requiring personalized support may have different relationship needs than self-service segments.
Market Research– Thorough market research is essential for identifying and understanding customer segments. It involves gathering data on customer demographics, preferences, behaviors, and pain points to make informed strategic decisions.
Customization– Effective segmentation allows businesses to customize offerings for each group. Tailoring products, marketing messages, and pricing strategies based on segment characteristics can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Scale Opportunities– Identifying scalable customer segments can be advantageous for business growth. These are segments that have substantial market potential and can be served efficiently without a significant increase in resources.
Adaptation– Customer segments may evolve over time due to changing market dynamics or external factors. Businesses must be flexible and willing to adapt their strategies to meet the evolving needs of their customer segments.
Conclusion– Customer Segments define the distinct groups a business intends to serve. Accurately defining and targeting these segments is critical for product-market fit, efficient resource allocation, and overall business success.

Understanding customer segments in the Business Model Canvas

Customer segmentation is the first and most important building block of the Business Model Canvas – and for good reason. The business that can accurately identify its customer segments will remain viable for longer, avoiding the long and slow demise of a competitor that develops and releases irrelevant products.

Creating customer segments begins with dividing a customer base into various groups according to commonalities in gender, needs, interests, financial position, social position, geographic position, age, jobs-to-be-done, and purchasing habits, among many other things. Note that the customer in this context may be an individual or another business.

To establish a lucrative revenue stream, the business must match one or more customer segments to its value proposition. To do this, it must consider a range of scenarios and assess the trade-offs between each. 

Customer segment types

In this section, we’ll delve into some common customer segment types:

  1. Mass market – these segments describe broad swathes of the population with a common problem or need. Television targets mass-market segments because there is relatively little differentiation in consumer needs.
  2. Segmented – here, customer segments have small but appreciable differences. An eCommerce company may distinguish between those with a store membership and those without. Each segment is defined by separate value propositions, customer relationships, and distribution channels.
  3. Diversified – where an organization targets multiple segments with contrasting needs and limited overlap. For example, Amazon sells books to individuals and cloud services to businesses. 
  4. Niche market – as the name suggests, a niche customer segment is defined by specific characteristics and a highly tailored product. Niche markets are common in buyer-supplier relationships.
  5. Multi-sided platforms – where multiple customer segments are related or dependent in some way, businesses target all of them. eBay targets buyers and sellers because each is critical to the success of its platform. Credit card companies target consumers and retail stores to ensure their cards will be accepted as a form of payment.

Creating customer segments

As hinted at earlier, there are many criteria with which to segment customers. Each should ultimately help the business better identify its target audience.

With that in mind, the business should consider these pointers:

  • Reach – how will the business reach its customers? Might it be prohibitively expensive to reach them in person?
  • Market size – does the segment reflect at least 10% of the total addressable market? Is the total market size large enough to be profitable?
  • Value – does the customer segment hold values or beliefs that align with the company mission and vision?
  • Depth of pain – the business must also understand customer pain to determine how motivated they are to find a solution. The more extreme the pain, the higher the motivation. 
  • Budget – are customers willing to pay for the potential solution? Do they have the capacity to pay? To some extent, willingness is also determined by the depth of pain. Again, consumers with larger problems tend to be more motivated to spend.

Key takeaways:

  • In the Business Model Canvas, the Customer Segments building block details the different groups of people the organization hopes to reach and serve.
  • Common customer segment types include mass market, segmented, diversified, niche market, and multi-sided platforms. 
  • There are many criteria with which to create customer segments, including age, gender, geographic location, and purchasing habits. Regardless of the criteria chosen, however, businesses should consider reach, market size, customer value, depth of pain, and customer spending power.

Key Highlights

  • Customer Segments Definition: In the Business Model Canvas, the Customer Segments building block outlines the distinct groups of people that a business aims to serve. Customer segmentation is fundamental as it forms the basis of the business model and contributes to gaining initial traction.
  • Importance of Customer Segmentation: Accurate customer segmentation is crucial for the sustained success of a business. It helps avoid the downfall that comes with developing and offering irrelevant products.
  • Creating Customer Segments:
    • Begins with dividing the customer base into groups with common characteristics such as gender, needs, interests, financial position, and more.
    • The customer can be an individual or another business.
    • Matching customer segments to the value proposition is essential for a lucrative revenue stream.
  • Types of Customer Segments:
    • Mass Market: Broad segments encompassing a large portion of the population with common needs.
    • Segmented: Small differences within customer segments, leading to separate value propositions, relationships, and distribution channels.
    • Diversified: Targeting multiple segments with differing needs and limited overlap.
    • Niche Market: Tailored products for specific characteristics, often seen in buyer-supplier relationships.
    • Multi-sided Platforms: Targeting multiple related or dependent customer segments.
  • Creating Customer Segments Criteria:
    • Reach: How will the business effectively reach its customers? Is in-person interaction cost-prohibitive?
    • Market Size: Is the segment a substantial portion of the total addressable market? Is the overall market size sufficiently large for profitability?
    • Value Alignment: Do the segment’s values align with the company’s mission and vision?
    • Pain Intensity: Understanding customer pain to assess their motivation to find a solution.
    • Budget: Willingness and capacity to pay for the solution, influenced by pain intensity.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Customer Segments in the Business Model Canvas define the groups of people a business intends to serve.
    • Different customer segment types include mass market, segmented, diversified, niche market, and multi-sided platforms.
    • Creating customer segments involves considering reach, market size, value alignment, pain intensity, and budget to better identify the target audience.

Alternatives to the Business Model Canvas

FourWeekMBA Squared Triangle Business Model

This framework has been thought for any type of business model, be it digital or not. It’s a framework to start mind mapping the key components of your business or how it might look as it grows. Here, as usual, what matters is not the framework itself (let’s prevent to fall trap of the Maslow’s Hammer), what matters is to have a framework that enables you to hold the key components of your business in your mind, and execute fast to prevent running the business on too many untested assumptions, especially about what customers really want. Any framework that helps us test fast, it’s welcomed in our business strategy.

An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand. The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.

FourWeekMBA VTDF Framework For Tech Business Models

This framework is well suited for all these cases where technology plays a key role in enhancing the value proposition for the users and customers. In short, when the company you’re building, analyzing, or looking at is a tech or platform business model, the template below is perfect for the job.

A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, mission, vision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.
Business Model Template - FourWeekMBA

Download The VTDF Framework Template Here

FourWeekMBA VBDE Framework For Blockchain Business Models

This framework is well suited to analyze and understand blockchain-based business models. Here, the underlying blockchain protocol, and the token economics behind it play a key role in aligning incentives and also in creating disincentives for the community of developers, individual contributors, entrepreneurs, and investors that enable the whole business model. The blockchain-based model is similar to a platform-based business model, but with an important twist, decentralization should be the key element enabling both decision-making and how incentives are distributed across the network.

A Blockchain Business Model according to the FourWeekMBA framework is made of four main components: Value Model (Core Philosophy, Core Values and Value Propositions for the key stakeholders), Blockchain Model (Protocol Rules, Network Shape and Applications Layer/Ecosystem), Distribution Model (the key channels amplifying the protocol and its communities), and the Economic Model (the dynamics/incentives through which protocol players make money). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build and analyze a solid Blockchain Business Model.
VBDE Blockchain Business Model Template

Download The VBDE Framework Template Here

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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