All the parties in an exchange usually have the ability to select their exchange partner(s). For the customer, whether consumer, industrial buyer, institution, or reseller, product choices are made daily. For a product provider, the person(s) or organization(s) selected as potential customers are referred to as the target market. A product provider might ask: given that my product will not be needed and/or wanted by all people in the market, and given that my organization has certain strengths and weaknesses, which target group within the market should I select? The process is depicted in Figure 2.3.
For a particular product, marketing organizations might follow an undifferentiated, segmentation, or combination approach toward a market. These concepts are explained in the following sections.