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'Total to Penetrated Market' Framework: should I use it?

Cases Framework Market sizing
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
6 Answers
1.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 14, 2020

Hi guys,

I have (almost) never studied Marketing in my life and I find it hard to explain the different layers in market sizing / market entry.

I found this framework online and I wanted to know if I should use it in cases. Is it positively accepted or does it make me sound too much like a student? :)

- Total Market. Total Population
- Potential Market. It is the total population in the market that is interested to buy a product and service
- Available market. Within the potential market all those people with enough money to buy products and services.
- Qualified Available Market. People in the available market who are permitted to buy the available products and services.
- Target Market. It is the segment of the available market that a company ready to serve it.
- Penetrated Market. those customers in the target marketing purchased the products and services

Thank you!


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Anonymous replied on Apr 14, 2020

Hi TJ,

First, don't worry about not having marketing background. The market sizing / market entry problems we solve in consulting has not much to do with the Marketing as a function/department in a corporate or a major in school. The latter entails specifics around branding, positioning, advertising etc. While maybe some cases might touch lightly on high level concept, it is very rare that you'd be required of any technical knowledge into marketing.

Coming back to your framework, two quick feedback here. (1) Note that for different market sizing questions the terms could refer to different things. It doesn't always have to start with population. So remember to customise according to context. (2) You don't need to use all of them. More likely that you'd just use a few layers (<=4).

You can ping me if you want some examples/practices.



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 15, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Hi TJ,

What this framework describes is a marketing funnel. Basically it tells you once you have identified the total population for something, how many of those people will actually get access to the product? For example if you talk about any new iPhone,

Total potential market - anyone that uses a cell phone which is most of the world

Available market - severely restricted by income (let's say $40k+ in annual income)

Qualified available market - Apple has to sell in your country and ecosystem needs to exist - which will rule out further x% of people

Target market - all remaining customers that meet the criteria for sales

Penetrated market - of the target market what % actually willing to or have bought an iPhone

It is useful largely for cases where there you will need to estimate the number of people that will buy a product once you arrive at the overall population eligible for it (market sizing is a good example of this type of case). In my opinion this is too dense a framework, a shorter version of this is just as usefule

Total eligible market followed by Total realistic market (or targeted market) size is usually more than sufficient for an estimate




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Content Creator
replied on Apr 14, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello TJ!

Don´t worry for the lack of experience in the marketing field, is totally not needed. Furthermore, and precisely market entry, is much more about logic and common sense than leveraging pre-known frameworks.

THis said, what you explain there is not really a framework, but a methodology to calculate one specific type of market sizing cases: the ones that start with population. However, not of all of them start this way (e.g., how many tourist are on average in Paris yearly?)

However, it´s a good example about how we should, step by step, keep closing the circle, from an initial total population, discarding groups that are not relevant for the analysis.

Hope it helps!


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2020
150+ interviews | 6+ years experience | Bain, Kearney & Accenture | Exited startup| London Business School

Hi there,

I would personally refrain from using this model. First of all, it seems unlikely that this will be applicable to a market sizing case as it focuses more on a sales funnel. Second, it is easy to confuse the interviewer as the definitions might be loosely defined or understood and therefore cause confusion.

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replied on Apr 15, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It depends on where you are going to apply it. I can't imagine how this framework can be used in cases.


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching


I recommend to not struggle with these specific frameworks. Cosentino ones are enough to fix the theory, then you should show your flexibility in adapting your problem solving approach to the problem, the client, and the industry. Interviewers hate standard frameworks



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