In the last Learn! post, we discussed the marketing concept of Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning, or “STP”. Segmentation clusters a company's customer base in ways that allow for more precise marketing. While large numbers of your customers may want similar product features, not all potential customers are motivated by the same desires for those features. They should therefore be grouped and targeted differently.


The first step in segmentation is to develop “personas” that represent your market. These personas define customers’ needs, desires, or goals. Even though it is helpful to create personas based on your current knowledge about your customers, ideally each persona is representative of customer types based on surveys.


Creating an appropriate survey for your target consumers requires some specialty knowledge and some work. However, because you will likely already have a sense of your overall audience, you will be able to survey potential target audiences about specific categories of questions. The goal is to dig deeper into what you may already know about your customer base to understand how your products or services might serve them better.


Each survey will need to be different because of factors like location, gender, buying power, and product type. The categories below can help you choose the types of questions you may want to ask your smallholder customer base to better understand them. Example questions can be found within each theme; however, you will undoubtedly want to include specific questions of your own.



  • How much (of your farm product) do you sell?
  • How much (of your farm product) do you hope to sell next year?
  • What are your biggest farming challenges?
  • What are your biggest non-farming challenges?
  • What do you do when faced with these challenges?



  • What is your typical day?
  • How do you know your farm is successful?
  • What skills do you need?
  • What tools do you use?
  • Who is the primary manager of the farm?
  • Who works on the farm each day?



  • Where do you shop for farming supplies?
  • How often do you shop for farming supplies?
  • Does anyone help you make shopping decisions? If so, who?



  • What makes a good farm product or service that you would want to use?
  • Is it better for a pesticide to be eco-friendly and sometimes work, or not be eco-friendly and always work?
  • Do you enjoy being a farmer?
  • Do you want your children to grow up to be farmers (if not, why not).


Want help to learn how to segment your smallholder market? Check out the online STP tool or contact a member of the AgTechTeam!