Target Market vs. Buyer Persona

When it comes to marketing your business online the key to success is to create content that is targeted to your user. Gone are the days of mass marketing as businesses are finding these methods to be less and less effective. To create content that is targeted to your audience you need to first define who they are, or in other words what you may know as a “target market”.

In the past target markets where great for guiding a company’s marketing efforts in a general direction. But as consumers are becoming more empowered and their expectations are rising higher, a new term has emerged – “buyer persona”. So what exactly is the difference between a target market and a buyer persona? Let me explain.

Target Market

Traditionally, target markets included demographic information and limited psychographic information. Let’s take a look at an example of what a target market would look like:

  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 25-35 years old
  • Location: Saskatchewan
  • Occupation: Entrepreneur


Using this limited amount of information companies were expected to create valuable content and ads that really resonated with their audience, which I’m sure you can understand is difficult with such little information. So instead of continuing to take a stab in the dark and take a guess at what their customers cared about, they decided to perform more research and gathered more information about their customers. Which (you guessed it!) is where the term buyer persona emerged!

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on real data and selected educated speculation about a customer’s demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. Here’s an example of what a buyer persona could look like:

  • Name: Start-Up Tyler
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 25-35 years old
  • Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Occupation: Founder/Owner of a start-up company that has less than 5 employees.
  • Education and Experience: He has an Undergraduate degree, as well as 5 years of experience in customer service and sales.
  • Day-to-Day Life: He is very passionate about his business and determined to make it succeed. He is extremely busy trying to get his business off the ground and spends a lot of his free time researching and working on ways to improve/make his business succeed.
  • Learning New Information: He is tech-savvy and spends a lot of time learning online. He reads blogs, industry articles, and is connected with social media. He also reads relevant local magazine articles and attends industry events.
  • Pain Points and Goals: His biggest problem is that not many people know about his company. He’s looking to create awareness and wants to generate interest and new leads for his business. His goal for the company is to see a profit by year two.
  • Common Objectives: He has a limited budget and needs to be shown the value in the product being offered.

So do you see the difference now? With all this extra information you are able to create valuable and engaging content that really speaks to your audience. Which means more visitors, more leads and ULTIMATELY more customers coming to your business!

Now that you understand the difference between a target market and a buyer persona I encourage you to take the next step and create your own buyer personas!

Credit: Amanda Toy


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