Learn to Use Buyer Personas and Target Audiences in Your Marketing Plan!
Do you know the difference between buyer personas and target audiences? If you aren’t already a marketing expert, you may not be super familiar with these terms and what exactly they mean. However, both buyer personas and target audiences are crucial tools to deploy in planning your business’s marketing strategy.
Let’s take a closer look at how these two marketing tools work and how they can be applied together in your own operations.
What are Target Audiences?
A target audience is a simple presentation of basic demographic information about your customers. You use it to pull people together into larger aggregate groups.
An example of a target audience looks like this:
- Gender: Female
- Age: 25-40 years old
- Annual Income: $40,000-80,0000
- Location: Southwest United States
As you can see, the data points in a target audience are just traits. Target audiences draw on historical data, trends, and a bit of research. They describe demographics and maybe some behaviors. They aren’t psychological breakdowns of the customers’ buying process.
You may have just one target audience, or a couple. You might make one for your actual customers, and another for an aspirational group they want to be in that influences them. Either way, your target audience focuses on your likely buyers as a whole. It provides an overview, a big-picture look at who exactly it is you’re targeting.
What are Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas, on the other hand, are much more zoomed-in portraits. They represent archetypes of individual buyers, customers, or users. You use them to glean insights into your customers’ buying process and guide how your marketing should address each of these individual types of customer.
Each buyer persona has more detailed sections that provide deep, substantial insight into your customers’ psyches. Sections typically featured in a buyer persona include:
- Persona Name: Use a descriptive and alliterative name like Turbulent Tim, Caring Karen, Steady Stan, etc, so that the personas easily come to mind when employees think about them in the future.
- Background: Job, career path, family.
- Demographics: Gender, age, income, location.
- Identifiers: Demeanor, communication preferences.
- Goals: Name both a primary and a secondary.
- Challenges: Also name both a primary and a secondary—to be helpful, these should map to their goals.
- What We Can Do: How can we help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges?
- Real Quotes: If interviews were conducted.
- Common Objections: Why wouldn’t they buy your product or service?
- Day in the Life: A brief 200-300 word 1st-person account giving a meaningful glimpse into what the person’s daily life looks like.
As you can see, the buyer persona provides personal, specific insights. It allows the marketer to understand the buyer the way they see themselves. With this tool in hand, you and your marketing team have a handy reference guide to understand which subset of your customer base you’re addressing. This lets you develop highly targeted content that speaks to real people rather than to all potential buyers in general, increasing your user engagement and conversion rates.
What’s the Relationship Between Buyer Personas and Target Audiences?
Before buyer personas rose to prominence, target audiences were the primary tool for understanding your customer base. As buyer personas emerged, target audiences have taken a backseat role, leading many to ask, “Have buyer personas replaced target audiences?”
However, while buyer personas have overtaken target audiences in importance and utility, target audiences aren’t without their uses. In fact, the two can work together in your marketing plan.
Think of the target audience as your first step. You reduce the overall pool of potential buyers down to several smaller pools of buyers and users. From there, you then use buyer personas to dig into each of these pools. You identify effective strategies suited to each individual customer type.
Now, you have the target audience to show you your overall base, and a few personas to help you reach the segments of that base that you’re trying to target in this particular marketing campaign or piece of content.
Alternatively, you may not have the time or resources to develop deep, comprehensive buyer personas. In that case, a buyer persona makes a decent stand-in in the meantime, providing at least some minimum of customer insights.
So, now that you understand how target audiences and buyer personas work, you’re probably wondering how you can implement these tools in your own marketing operations. Luckily for you, you’re already in just the right place. Frontier Marketing’s experienced content writers and graphic designers produce insightful, convenient, branded buyer personas for businesses and nonprofits. Give us a call at (847) 254-0837 for a consultation today and discover what we can do for you!