Is a Buyer Persona Like a Buyer Profile?

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By John

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You know that to create marketing campaigns that your prospects want to be part of, you’ll first need to understand their…

  • Personalities
  • Work and personal life roles
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Recreational activities
  • Music preferences
  • Influencers
  • Responsibilities
  • Pain points
  • Concerns

Only then can you construct online and offline marketing strategies that speak directly to your customers in their own language and convert them from prospects to buyers to brand advocates.

But should you frame these as a Buyer Persona or a Buyer Profile? What’s the difference?

Buyer Persona V. Buyer Profile

Both Buyer Personas and Buyer Profiles rely on gathering lots of information, such as:

  • Demographic info, like geographic region, gender, age, salary, education level, language, and family situation
  • Personality info, like whether they’re impulsive or like to weigh all of the pros and cons
  • Values, like their favorite causes and charities, their ideals, and how they expect to be treated
  • Media consumption, like whether they prefer Twitter over Facebook, or online articles to print. Where do they go for information?
  • Influencers, as in the people (often celebrities or authors) or publications that make them want to try something different or do something better
  • Profession and rank
  • Psychographic info, like their aspirations and motivations
  • Interests, including passions, hobbies, activities, favorite restaurants, stores and products, and where they like to hang out at night

However, while a profile that incorporates all of this information is an ideal launch point for your buyer persona, be careful not to confuse it with the persona itself. Buyer profiles just list the bare facts, and the best ones do provide valuable, actionable insights. But buyer personas, on the other hand, take the profile information and use it to form a more complete story.

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The Power of Story

With buyer personas, you’re entering into a new territory of situational context, emotions, interests, passions, pain points and personal values, which influence buying behaviors and form today’s buyer journeys. Now more than ever, customers make their decisions based on their experience with the brand and their identification with the brand’s values, not just benefits and features (which may be shared by your competitors). It’s a brave new world, and your job as marketer is to understand its inhabitants.

When trying to understand people, having a story rather than a list of facts makes a big difference. It’s how we’re wired. Which of these gives you more to go on?
Demographics
- Male
- Hispanic
- 50+
- Education: High School
- Profession: Fisherman

Or Hemgingway’s The Old Man and the Sea?

The latter would let you know that this man is highly motivated to buy an effective fishing lure, since he hasn’t caught a fish in nearly two months. He might also be in the market for a new harpoon.

As human beings, we have powerful intuitive abilities – it’s what makes us great marketers, writers, artists, salespeople, or product developers. Using your buyer profile information to construct a story around your marketing persona allows you to capitalize on your intuition while basing your strategies on a foundation of facts.

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What’s Your Story?

What does a story entail? Don’t worry, you don’t have to write the Great American Novel. Follow the journalism model:

Who?
Who is your persona? What is their name, age, birth order, personality type? What values do they hold dear? What do they expect from a company and/or product like yours?
What?
What do they want out of life? What problem would they like your product to solve? What you help them do?
When?
At what point in the Buyer Journey are they? Just looking, or ready to decide right now?
Where?
Where are they – this could be their geographic region, type of company they work for, or even whether they’re in the city, suburbs, or country.
Why?
Why are they looking for your solution? This may be the million-dollar question, but you’ll never know How to reach them unless you answer all of the other questions too.

Start there, and then get creative!

For more information on how to use profile information to create a full-fledged marketing persona:
Download our Free Template:

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Topics: Knowledge