Branding Blog

Attract More Clients - Demographics versus Buyer Persona

Written by Dale Berkebile | Mon, Apr 29, 2013

When looking for new clients, you've probably heard about creating demographic lists for direct mail or getting more advanced with your sales and inbound marketing by creating buyer personas.

Surely you've heard the term demographics and ways to use them. There is another term that has gained popularity over the years: buyer persona. Buyer persona is used a lot in the inbound marketing and/or sales world. There is a difference between demographics and buyer persona, though it may be hard to understand at first. Let’s explore those differences.

What are Demographics

Demographics is the science of knowing the target audience. It involves a lot of numbers, data, and it includes things like age, income, education level, and even geographic region. Marketing firms spend a lot of time and money learning these things. It helps them to make calculations in determining what products to market to an audience or how to market those products. It also allows marketers to do research on how big a potential market might be.

For example, if the firm is running a campaign for a popular soda, they would want to consider the age group of the audience. So, if the advertisement were to be placed on a rock radio channel, it might involve teenagers or people in their twenties drinking the soda while playing a rough and rowdy video game.

Photo by International Man of Conundrums

If the advertisement were to be for senior citizens watching a television station that features classic movies from the 40s and 50s, it might show an elderly couple enjoy each other’s company while relaxing in the back yard and enjoying the soda: The right advertisement for the right age group.

Photo by Alex E. Proimos

What is Buyer Persona

Perhaps it was said best on the Katapult website:

“Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.” – katapult.co.uk

That representation is the typical customer for the product or service. It is the person or company who needs and wants the product. It is much easier to construct that person than it is to go only with demographics, which can show something like age groups, but not necessarily buyers. Buyer persona focuses on the likeliest buyer. A buyer persona allows the marketing people and sales people to understand and create marketing or sales scripts based on these characters they create. This delivers a "real" person with real needs, wants and likes… which makes it easier to be very focused and highly targeted with all content/scripts used in the sales and marketing process. Being consistent with the marketing message builds a stronger brand and will attract the right customers.

Demographics are certainly figured into buyer persona. So are behavioral and psychological factors. Other factors include but are not limited to motivation, expected results and objections.

So, what are demographics? Essentially they are measuring tools, and they still leave a ‘hit and miss’ aspect to a marketing campaign.

What is buyer persona? A more fine tuned marketing plan that narrows down to certain potential buyer in a demographic.

Once you grasp how to use buyer personas and demographics, you'll be on your way to more sales and happier customers.