Target Audiences and Buyer Personas are Both Important for a Successful Marketing Strategy!
Do you know the difference between target audiences and buyer personas? If you’re not familiar with these terms, then you may assume that they’re the same thing. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is these are two distinct parts of creating a marketing strategy. When created in tandem with one another, they can improve your understanding of your customer base.
In this post, we will explain what target audiences and buyer personas are and how they differ. Then we will show you the advantages of using both to determine your marketing strategy.
What are Target Audiences?
A target audience is a list of demographic and psychographic traits shared by a business’s typical customers.
A sample target audience might look like this:
- Gender: Female
- Age: 25-40 years old
- Annual Income: $40,000-80,0000
- Location: Southwest United States
- Interests: Business and Travel
- Attitudes: Optimistic and Ambitious
- Challenges: Lack of Time and Resources
You can determine a target market by examining historical data, trends, and performing some research. This research should involve surveying your customers and looking at your competitors’ customers.
The resulting list should be a breakdown of demographics and behaviors shared by your usual clientele.
You can also create a couple of target audiences: one for your actual customers and one for the customers you’d like to have.
Whatever you choose to do, your goal is to collect the most prominent attributes shared by your target customers. This broad overview of your audience should inform the marketing tactics you choose for your business.
What are Buyer Personas?
Buyer personas differ from target audiences in that they are much more focused. Whereas a target audience defines a crowd of customers, a buyer persona zooms in to look at specific members of that crowd.
These zoomed-in portraits are archetypes of individual customers. You can use them to glean insights into your customers’ buying process. As a result, they should help you determine how to market to each type of person most effectively.
Each buyer persona contains detailed sections that provide insight into your customers’ psyches.
Here is a brief overview of each of the sections:
Come up with an alliterative name that describes your persona, such as Turbulent Tim, Caring Claire, Steady Stan, etc. Doing so will make each persona easier to remember when employees think about them in the future.
List the traits that frequently define this type of customer’s personal life, such as her job, career path, and family.
List the typical gender, age, income, and location of this persona.
What personality traits typically define this persona? For example, what is his typical demeanor, and how does he like to communicate?
What are the primary and secondary goals that usually drive this persona?
What are the challenges that often prevent the persona from achieving her goals?
What We Can Do
How can your company help this persona achieve his goals and overcome challenges?
Include any quotes you have from customers that fit into a persona.
What reasons might this type of customer have for rejecting your products or services?
A Day in the Life
Create a brief, 200-300-word, first-person account of what this persona’s daily life looks like.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, the buyer persona provides personal, specific insights. It allows the marketer to understand their customers the way they see themselves.
With this tool, you and your marketing team have a handy reference guide to understand each subset of your customer base. It will allow you to speak to specific people in your marketing rather than a general audience. As a result, your engagement and conversion rates will likely improve over time.
What’s the Relationship Between Target Audiences and Buyer Personas?
Before buyer personas became popular, target audiences were the primary tool for understanding a customer base. However, as buyer personas emerged, target audiences have taken a backseat role, leading many to ask, “Have buyer personas replaced target audiences?”
The answer, of course, is no.
While buyer personas are more popular than target audiences, they shouldn’t replace them. Instead, the two should work together in your marketing plan.
Think of the target audience as your first step. In creating it, you reduce the overall pool of potential buyers down to a more manageable group. From there, you then create buyer personas to segment that group further.
As a result of this process, you will have the target audience to show you your overall base. You will also have your customer personas to help you reach the segments of that base.
Of course, you may not always have the time or resources to create buyer personas. In that case, a target audience makes a decent stand-in in the meantime, providing at least some level of insights.
Need Help Creating Your Target Audiences or Buyer Personas?
Frontier Marketing has helped businesses in Fox Lake, IL, and the Chicagoland region create amazing target audiences and buyer personas. We would love to help you, as well!
Give us a call at (847) 254-0837 or message us on Facebook to discover what we can do for you!
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in June 2017 and was updated in November 2019.