Feb 24, 2023

Buyer Personas Vs User Personas: Understanding The Differences

Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Buyer Personas Vs User Personas: Understanding The Differences
Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Feb 24, 2023

Buyer Personas Vs User Personas: Understanding The Differences

Learn the key differences between buyer personas and user personas in this detailed blog. Read here to also learn the steps involved in creating them.
Buyer Personas Vs User Personas: Understanding The Differences

Table of contents

In today's competitive digital ecosystem, creating personalized product and marketing strategies that resonate with your audience is critical. Two key tools that help in achieving this goal are user personas and buyer personas. 

In this insider’s guide, we will take you through the A to Z of these two types of personas, including their definitions and steps to create them. Most importantly, we will highlight the differences between buyer persona vs user persona.

What are Buyer Personas?

Put simply, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal customer or a decision-maker who will actually buy from you.  It is a comprehensive profile of that buyer, capturing key information like

  • Demographics
  • Behavior patterns
  • Motivators
  • Goals

The main goal of creating a buyer persona is to help a business understand its target market, i.e., who is buying from them. This, in turn, will help them tailor their product strategy and marketing communication (for example, email marketing) to convert the target audience into buyers.

How to Create Buyer Personas?

A buyer persona is typically created after deep research and by capturing data about your organization’s real customers. There are 4 simple steps you must follow to create an effective buyer persona. Here are they:

Step 1: Gather data

Gather data about your target buyers. You can collect information about your buyers from customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups. You may even include data from customer service interactions and sales reports. 

If you already have customers, you can always start with them. Talk to your sales reps or marketing team and collect whatever information you have about them. 

If you are starting fresh and do not have any existing customers, you can collect information about your competitors’ customers. You will get information from review sites and social media channels. 

Some of the key areas you must focus on include

  • Demographics: Age, marital status, gender
  • General Behaviors: Skills, interests, level of content consumption
  • Geographic: Area where most of your customers reside
  • Challenges: Pain points while buying the product/service
  • Communication preferences: How often they want to communicate and through which channel

Step 2: Segment the group

Now that you have the data, you need to analyze it thoroughly to identify common patterns and trends. Look for information about their demographics, behavior patterns, pain points, and goals that are common across the answers given by the sample buyers. 

For example, most of the respondents surveyed might have found it very difficult to understand the technical specifications of a product/service. These people represent a segment with a specific pain point that needs to be addressed immediately. A simple solution would be to include a walkthrough video on the details page of every product/service you are selling online. 

Step 3: Create your buyer persona

Once you have successfully segmented your target audience into different groups, it is time to give shape to your buyer persona. Use all the information you have gathered to create a detailed profile of your ideal buyer. 

Give the persona a name like ‘Mark’ or ‘Mary’ and include details about their demographics, job title, industry, and company size. You may even add a profile picture and include excerpts from interviews with real customers to personalize the persona even further. 

If you want to know what a buyer persona looks like? Check out our blog, ‘7 buyers persona examples for every business.’ Or, if you are ready to create your first buyer persona, here are 8 buyer persona templates and tools you can use right away.

Pro Tip: It is important to create and document these buyer personas, as it will be easy for anyone in your organization to refer to and use them at any point in time. Don’t forget to store it in a centralized location so that it can be accessed 24X7. 

Step 4: Validate and use

Once multiple personas are created, validate them by sharing them with your sales and marketing teams. Get their feedback and make any necessary changes based on their input. 

Once approved, you can use the persona to create targeted marketing campaigns and sales strategies that will be instrumental in converting most of your visitors into customers.

Now that you know how to create buyers persona for your business, let us move on to the next type of persona.

What are User Personas?

Like a buyer persona, a user persona is also a fictional character but of a particular type of user. The key difference here is in the word “user.” A buyer need not be a user all the time. Let us explain. 

For example, imagine you are a manufacturer of washing machines. Now, the person buying the washing machine need not be the user of the same. Your goal as the manufacturer is not only to make the buying experience seamless but also to make the UX excellent. 

A user persona helps in achieving a great UX for your product/service. It can help designers and developers understand the end-user accessing the product/service. This will help them create a product/service that offers ease of use and meets users’ needs.

A user persona is also a detailed profile that includes key information about the user, such as demographics, needs, goals, and pain points. The end goal of a user persona is to assist in product development and create user-centered designs that are more likely to be successful with your target audience.

How to Create User Personas?

The creation of user personas is quite similar to the creation of buyer personas. Most of the steps remain the same. The only difference, you need to focus on the actual end users of the product/service instead of the buyers. 

For example, in the ‘gather data’ step, you need to collect data from your customer support team instead of your sales and marketing team. The CS team or the product manager would have interacted with the actual users of the product/service and understood the positives and negatives of the product/service. They will even know the pain points faced by users with better clarity.  

In step 4, you need to validate the data with the design and manufacturing team instead of the sales and marketing team, as a user persona is created mainly to support their higher-level goals.

What are the Differences between User Persona and Buyer Persona?

Now that you know the definitions of user persona and buyer persona, let us summarize the key differences between user persona vs buyer persona:

1. User personas and buyer personas serve different purposes for marketers

User personas, despite being useful for the development teams, are used by marketers to create a more personalized user experience on the website or mobile app. Buyer personas are used by marketers to create a more targeted marketing campaign for specific audience segments. 

Also, marketers can utilize user personas to create buyer personas as the former offers valuable information about immediate customers of the product/service. 

2. Creating user personas are simpler than creating buyer personas

This is quite obvious considering the fact that the data required for creating user personas are more readily accessible as user research required for developing user personas is conducted more frequently than the market research necessary for creating buyer personas. 

Also, as the user persona is generally focused on understanding the needs and behavioral patterns of fewer users, you need limited variables to create a user persona over a buyer persona, which requires more variables. 

3. They represent different goals and concerns

The main goal of the user persona is to understand the needs, goals, and behavior patterns of actual users who will be using the product/service. By understanding these factors, the development team can build products/services tailored to the precise needs of users, which will result in improved adoption and customer satisfaction. 

On the other hand, the main goal of a buyer persona is to create more effective marketing campaigns and sales strategies. By understanding the buyer’s needs, pain points, and desires, your sales and marketing teams can convert more visitors into customers, resulting in increased sales and customer retention.

4. Remember, they may or may not represent the same people

This is understood from the previous section. The product’s end-users need not be buyers because sometimes the product/service may be bought for somebody else. In other words, it will be used by someone who didn’t actually purchase it. This gives you another reason (besides different goals) to create buyer vs user persona separately, as they may represent different audiences. 

Wrap up: Start using personas in your content creation process

Having understood the features of user vs buyer personas, you are now in a better position to understand your customer base. You can create and sell better products/services tailored to their needs. 

Though both user persona and buyer persona serve different purposes, when used in conjunction, they can give businesses a comprehensive understanding of their users and customers and help drive success in both design and marketing efforts. 

So start creating your user personas and buyer personas today, and watch as your business soars to new heights. 

And if you need further assistance bolstering your marketing efforts, you can try Scalenut. Scalenut is an AI-powered content marketing and SEO platform that helps in planning, researching, creating, and optimizing all your marketing content. Sign up to explore all the key features of Scalenut.

Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager
ABout the AUTHOR
Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager

Suman Samal is a Asst. Marketing Manager at Scalenut. She is a technology enthusiast with a keen interest in content marketing and SEO. She truly believes that with the right set of tools every organization can improve the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. She spends her time managing content operations at Scalenut and ensuring that everything we publish is of the highest quality.

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