How Customer Personas are Different from Target Audience and Why They're Important

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You’ve spent every marketing meeting since your company’s conception trying to make sure you were “Reaching your target audience.” You finally grasped this idea and then you start to get wind of a new concept: Customer persona. Although it sounds like “target audience,” these two concepts are NOT the same. But don’t fret, we’re here to update you on the lingo.  Here’s the breakdown:

Target audience vs. customer personas

Target audience

This is the entire customer base you hope to reach. You’ll want to nail down how old they are, where they live, whether they’re mostly male or female and other demographic information like income, profession and education.

Think of this as the big picture of who will be buying your product or services.

Customer persona

This is the brain behind your customer base. What are they thinking? What are they passionate about? What are their personal goals? What does their day-to-day life look like and how can you use that to reach them in the most efficient and authentic way?

This smaller-scale category transforms your customer base from a set of facts into living breathing personas you can build relationships with.

Why are customer personas important?

More sales. Did that catch your attention? The No. 1 benefit of implementing customer personas is increasing the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, better serving the customer and ultimately boosting sales. Knowing your personas allows you to create a plan to reach each new segment on a more personal level, which means you will reach them more effectively and create a personalized experience that will help to deepen the relationship with your customer.

How to take advantage of customer personas

So now you know what brand personas are and how they can help you to grow your business and accelerate your sales. But how do you actually do this? Start with these easy steps.

  1. Look at your current target audience and pinpoint differences between them in order to begin forming your personas (3-5 is a great start).

  2. Now you have your groups. What can we learn about them?

    1. Ask things such as, “Which social networks are they most active on?” Or “From where do they discover new products or services?” ( Find a complete list of basic questions to form your first customer persona here.)

  3. Use your new customer personas to create personalized marketing strategies for each persona. When you put their needs and interests first, you’ll be able to better reach consumers and make your marketing dollars more worthwhile. (Find ideas on how to implement your personas here.)

Remember, we are in the business of Building relationships, Not profiles.

Story By: Kate Mazza