Persona vs. Target Audience: What is the Difference?

If you’re working in the sales and marketing world, then you’ve probably come across the terms “target audience” and “target persona” before. Although they sound very similar, it’s important to distinguish between target audiences and buyer personas when crafting your sales strategy.

The distinction between the two groups hinges on scale and specificity. Target audience refers to a likeminded group of consumers interested in your product. Buyer personas on the other hand, describe a category of buyers beneath the larger target audience umbrella. In other words, the target audience is the building and the target personas are the bricks.

Understanding The Target Audience

A target audience is useful when determining how to market your product to a large group of people, and how to reach new customers within that demographic.

Creating a target audience entails gathering information about your customers based on demographics and psychographics. The information is synthesized and distilled into a general depiction of the type of person who is interested in your product.

Demographic information includes elements like age, gender, geographic location, and income. These factors paint a picture of the type of client who is interested in your product. Psychographic information includes values, personality traits, and interests, and helps enrich your understanding of buyer processes and pain points. All together this information helps you formulate effective marketing strategies that speak to your target audience’s needs.

Target Audience Example

A target audience outline might look something like:

Age: 20-50

Location: Pacific Northwest USA

Income: 60,000-80,000

Interests: Environmental issues

Notes: Prefers using online platforms to make a purchase.

This general depiction of a client will help you target your marketing material to appeal to specific interests, set your fees within an appropriate price range, and enable easy access to products through multiple platforms.

Understanding the Target Persona

Unlike the target audience, a target persona describes an individual profile within the larger target audience. In other words, the target persona is a subset of the larger group and is a helpful way to understand your customers in an in-depth way. This way, you can be more specific with marketing materials, and targeted campaigns.

Target personas are generally very useful for b2b sales companies, since they help narrow the focus within an industry to a specific kind of company. Target personas can also be used for b2c sales, to help illustrate a subset of customers and their buying patterns. Target personas are created using similar data to the target audience, but on a more specific level. Your business might have several different buyer personas within the larger target audience.

Buyer personas should emphasize the specific goals of each customer. Using a buyer persona in advertising and marketing allows you to tailor your materials to address individual needs so customers feel like they are being cared for on a personal level.

Buyer Persona Example

As you’ll see in the example, a buyer persona is a more detailed version of the target audience profile. This allows you to gain more insight into individual customer trends.

Name: Young Professional Dan

Background: Dan is newly out of school and is interested in being more involved in environmental initiatives.

Details: Dan is 23 years old, lives in Portland, and makes $55,000 per year.

Goals: Dan would like to reduce his carbon footprint and invest in conservation-focused non-profits.

Traits: Dan is enthusiastic, intellectually curious, and prefers to use online platforms like Twitter to gain information.

Using this template, an environmentally-focused company would tailor their marketing to appeal to Dan, and ensure that their online presence provides the information that Dan needs to make an easy investment.

It’s All About Teamwork

Ultimately, your target audience profile and your buyer persona should work together to create a wholistic view of your customer base. Your target audience profile will help you seek a wide pool of prospects through initiatives like cold calling and cold email marketing. Once you’ve started a conversation with a prospect, you can use your buyer personas to illustrate each prospect’s goals and understand their decision-making process and values. The two work together to provide you with the tools you need to orchestrate a successful lead generation and marketing campaign.

Refine Your Buyer Persona and Target Audience

Working with a professional marketing and lead generation company gives you the insight and expertise you need to craft effective buyer personas and target audience outlines. Acquirent is a nationally recognized sales development firm, focused on bringing tailor-made strategies to your company. With our emphasis on personalized lead generation strategies, marketing development, and employee training, we pride ourselves on providing custom solutions for all our clients.

Refining your buyer persona and target audience is a simple task with the help of Acquirent. Contact us today to start your sales development journey.