Any buyer or company purchasing location that has the choice to purchase a product or service from more than one supplier.

Example 1:

Since her membership is all female, Lucille Roberts doesn't supply heavy weights and elaborate machines, keeping costs down. Her focus is exercise classes. (Year 1997-7991)

Explanation: The customer for Lucille Robert's Health Spas is a woman consumer.

Example 2:

EDS manages 2.2 million PCs for big clients among the world's 500 largest companies. The average customer for EDS has 1500 seats. (Year 2000-SIC 7379)

Explanation: The customer for EDS's service is an IT manager in a large company. These purchases are Centralized.

Example 3:

PeoplePC sells name brand computers and monitors with 56K internet access for payments of $25 a month over three years. The company sells these computers to Ford and Delta who offer them to their employees. (Year 2000-SIC 7377)

Explanation: The customer for PeoplePC is Ford or Delta. These customers determine the product used by their employees.

Example 4:

Sun plans to market StarOffice and StarPortal through Internet Service Providers and ASPs and then charge user fees to end users. These fees would range from $1 to $100 per seat depending on the size of the company. At ten employees, the small company BlueWave is a good example of the size and type of company drawn to StarOffice. However, many doubt that larger, more conservative corporations will jump on the StarOffice bandwagon. So far, StarOffice has been downloaded 1.8 million times; and Sun has sent out an additional 5 million CDs. (Year 2000-SIC 7373)

Explanation:The majority of Sun's customer volume from this product will come from companies. There may also be a smaller amount of volume from individual customers trying out the software. Both the companies and some individuals are customers.

Example 5:

The distributors of Leap's new wireless service are grass roots. The company has three of its own stores and uses independent wireless dealers. But the key is selling through local store owners. (Year 1999-SIC 4813)

Explanation:Leap Wireless has two customers: consumers who visit its stores are one set of customers, the independent wireless retailers are the second, and more important, set of customers.

Example 6:

Mitsubishi had a visibility problem in US for years. Mitsubishi acquired Value Rent-A-Car to broaden the exposure of its car line. (Year 1991-SIC 3711)

Explanation:An automobile manufacturer might have several separate customers: the individual consumer, and automobile retailer that carries several brands, and a rental car company that also purchases several different brands. In this case, Value Rent-A-Car was not a customer since the company, as a subsidiary, did not have a choice among automobile suppliers.

Example 7:

Leica's sales thrived, thanks largely to word-of-mouth within the tightly knit world of professional photographers. For several decades, Leica did minimal marketing, simply because it did not need to. But Nikon and Canon took over the professional market, undercutting Leica's luxury-priced models with cheaper prices. It has suffered ever since. For the first time in its history, it's trying to become a more aggressive marketer, rolling out more affordable cameras geared toward younger photographers. Until now, Leica was focused on professional shutterbugs and wealthy hobbyists. Leica's luxury image suffered when retailers offered big discounts on its previous models to reduce inventory. (Year 2000-SIC 3577)

Explanation:Leica has at least three different customers in this example: professional photographers, individual consumers, and camera dealers.

Example 8:

IBM is teaming with businesses whose customers might be users of a new device. For example, Fidelity Investments is partnering to produce a net appliance to offer to its 6 million investors who could log on to Fidelity's Power Street web page with the device and conduct a wide variety of tasks on the web page. IBM would tailor the device to fit what Fidelity's web page offers. (Year 2000-SIC 3577)

Explanation:IBM's customer is the business rather than the consumers who would be users of the device. The business would be the only true customers since it, alone, has the power to choose among suppliers. The consumer, in this case, is not a customer because the purchase decision is made by the business.

Example 9:

Many cement industry competitors have integrated forward, some more heavily than others. Southdown has been the most aggressive. In 1988, it purchased ready-mixed concrete companies in Florida and California. Holnam has not been eager to enter the ready-mix concrete operations, but it has done so where it felt it was necessary in order to stay competitive. (Year 1991-SIC 3241)

Explanation:Cement manufacturers had ready-mixed concrete companies as customers. As the cement industry integrated forward and purchased some of these ready-mixed concrete companies, who had been customers, these purchased companies were no longer true customers. Instead, the Final customers of the ready-mixed concrete companies became the customers of the cement manufacturers.

Example 10:

Many chains, such as Gannett Co. and Knight-Ridder, have implemented programs to make their papers more attuned to advertisers' business objectives and are selling themselves as part of a marketing media mix to meet these objectives. (Year 1992-SIC 2711)

Explanation:Newspaper publishers have two separate groups of customers: advertisers, who purchase advertising space in the newspapers, and consumers, who subscribe to the newspapers or purchase them at a news stand.