What is a 'Client Base'

A client base is a company's primary source of business. A client base consists of the current customers paying for the products, or services, as well as potential customers which have a high likelihood of becoming customers. Businesses rely on this group for most of the business sales and focus on them for developing new products, or advertising. A client base is usually defined using demographics such as age, location or gender, and can change over time.


Developing, maintaining and expanding its client base is a major concern for any business, since without clients, the business cannot earn revenue. Strategies companies use to increase this base include networking, word-of-mouth marketing and referrals, developing a specialty or area of expertise, staying in touch with existing clients, showing appreciation for clients and consistently meeting or exceeding expectations.

Businesses that primarily provide professional services (like financial planning) tend to use the term "client base," while businesses that primarily provide products tend to use the term "customers." For example, a financial planner's client base would consist of all the people who have hired her to manage their money. A CPA's client base would include of all the people and businesses whose tax returns he prepares.

How Businesses Approach Their Client Base

As a company researches, develops and plans to bring a product or service to market, attracting the attention of potential client base is of paramount concern. The product in question is intended to answer some need or resolve a pain point that company believes the target client base has. The success potential for a service or product is often based on the size of the intended client base and those customers’ anticipated willingness to spend money on said service.

Luxury items, for example, are largely targeted at a client base with the resources and interest in paying a premium in order to receive a product that is understood to be of high quality. The company offering the product, such as a high-end watch or a limited edition car, may aim its marketing to reach the client base in ways they cannot miss. That could include putting on exhibitions to display the product in front of invite-only guests who fit the financial demographics of the desired client base.

The company might also seek to place their product in television shows and other mediums to draw the attention of the client base they want. Fans of movies about racecars might be part of the client base that is interested in owning sports cars. This could encourage an automobile maker to pay to feature one of their vehicles in such a feature film.

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