Growth Marketing Buyer Persona vs. User Persona

Buyer Persona vs. User Persona – What are the Differences?

Ashkar Gomez
11min read
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In today’s competitive landscape, understanding your customer’s needs and creating products based on them is crucial to staying at the top of the industry. Creating customer personas can help you with that.

Personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers or users. They are imaginary characters created using real-time data collected from existing or potential customers for your products.

Brands create personas to understand customers better and empathize with their needs and pain points. They help identify the different types of users that might interact with your products and services.

Using personas makes it easier to communicate with customers and create tailor-made content and designs that suit them. Product development and customer support teams can use personas to cater to the audience’s needs and understand their behaviors and interests.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer Persona vs. User Persona

Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers that are created from market research and real-time data collected about your existing customers.

Buyers are the people who ultimately decide whether to buy your products. For example, all influencers and decision-makers of a company who are involved in the buying process. These people often include supervisors, managers, IT personnel, etc.

They may or may not use your products, but they are the decision-makers in buying your products. So, these customers’ goals and needs may differ from those who actually use your products.

For B2B, take, for example, a supervisor or manager of a team. Their primary goal for buying your products will be to increase the efficiency of their teams. They will check the usability of your product and see how easy it is for their employees to adapt to your products.

What Are User Personas?

User personas are also a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. But unlike buyer personas, user personas represent people who actually use your products. They are the end-users of your products but may not necessarily be the ones buying them.

Sometimes, the buyer and user of your products may be the same person. But it is not always the case. Take, for example, a parent who is buying a bar of chocolate for their child. Here, the end-user for your product is the child. So, the user personas you create must be based on the information collected about the child.

Buyer vs. User: A Comparison Table

Feature Buyer User Additional Notes
Who is it?
The person who makes the purchasing decision and pays for the product or service.
The person who interacts with and uses the product or service.
Can be the same person or different, especially in B2B scenarios.
Decision maker, budget holder
User, consumer, recipient
May have different levels of access and control within the product or service.
Value proposition, ROI, problem-solving
Functionality, ease of use, experience
Buyer focuses on the overall value and return on investment, while the user focuses on how the product or service meets their specific needs and makes their life easier.
Needs, goals, budget constraints
Tasks, problems, desires
Buyer is motivated by a desire to solve a problem or achieve a goal, while the user is motivated by a desire to complete tasks or satisfy personal needs.
Decision-making process
Rational, analytical, research-driven
Emotional, intuitive, experience-driven
Buyer typically takes a more analytical approach, considering factors like features, specifications, and pricing. The user may make decisions based on personal preferences, recommendations, or prior experience.
Information needs
Features, benefits, pricing, specifications
Tutorials, manuals, support resources
Buyer is interested in factual information about the product or service, while the user needs practical information to learn how to use it effectively.
Sales conversion rate, customer acquisition cost
User engagement, retention rate, satisfaction
Buyer success is measured by metrics related to sales and revenue, while user success is measured by how engaged they are with the product and how satisfied they are with its performance.

Difference Between Buyer Persona and User Persona

Though both buyer persona and user persona may seem quite similar, there are some key points that distinguish them from each other. Keep them in mind while creating these personas for your customers.

1. They may or may not represent the same people

Oftentimes, the buyer and user of your products are not the same people. Marketers fail to understand the difference between buyers and users when creating these personas.
For example, in B2B products, the buyers are often product managers or supervisors, while the users are the employees.

2. They serve different purposes for the customers

When the buyers and users of your products are different people, their goals and concerns regarding the products will also differ.
Users will only see whether the product gets their job done and how it makes their lives easier. On the other hand, a buyer will see if the products are cost-efficient and have long-term benefits.

3. They serve different purposes for the marketers

Marketers have to use different marketing strategies when approaching their buyers and users. Although buyers are the ones who buy your product, the users are the people who ultimately rely on your products.

Thus, buyer personas should be used to understand the behavioral and buying decisions of the customers. Whereas user personas should be used to empathize with the users and optimize your products accordingly.

4. They should have different information

Although thorough research is needed to create user and buyer personas, you should know what information is necessary and what helps create the perfect personas.

The information required to create user personas is often simpler and easier to collect. Meanwhile, a buyer persona requires more information on the buyers, including their behavior and purchasing patterns.

How do they work together?

When you begin to market your products, it is not enough to focus on either buyer or user persona. You need to pay attention to both while creating your marketing strategies.

Although they serve different purposes, they can work together perfectly if you know how to use them.

1. Product development

It is important to take into account both buyers and users if you wish to develop better, more effective products.

It will be helpful to review the differences between user and buyer personas while creating new products or redesigning existing ones to ensure you don’t ignore the needs and tastes of either persona.

2. Content creation

Buyer and user personas can help you create content that caters to both buyers and users. They can help you create information your customers want regarding your products.

For example, you can make educational blogs and purchasing guides for individuals seeking the best product solution to buy. For users, you could provide user manuals, maintenance manuals, and product hacks.

3. Customer relations

Building and maintaining personal connections with your customers is essential for the growth of your business. To do this, you must create a genuine sense of understanding and connection with every individual who uses, buys, and considers your products. Your efforts can be guided by both buyer and user personas in order to ensure no one is left out.

Key Takeaways

  • Customer relationships are everything when it comes to success in business.
  • The whole point of creating buyer and user personas is to see things from the customer’s point of view and meet their expectations.
  • Your consumer profiles are important for any growth marketing strategy.
  • The more detailed your profiles are, the more targeted your marketing strategies will be.
  • Don’t pass up the opportunity to get a new client because you don’t understand who your customers are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important for marketers to understand their customers?

Knowing who your audience is when creating marketing strategies can help you create more customized ads that cater to the audience’s needs. Customer personas dig into the customers’ Job To Be Done (JTBD) and let you know how your customers use your products to achieve their goals.

What are the benefits of user personas?

User personas are very beneficial to understand the customers who use your products. They help you

  • understand user behavior,
  • create user-centric products,
  • create consistency across the business,
  • improve workflow in design and product development, and 
  • know when and where to position your products for better reach.
What are some sources of customer information?

Some sources where you can get customer information to create personas are

  • online surveys and personal interviews taken on customers,
  • your website, to know how your customers found you and which websites they come from,
  • keyword research, to know what terms your customers use to find your products, and
  • through sales representatives that work closely with customers or distribution centers.
What are the six buyer personas?

You can create six types of buyer personas after gathering all information about your customers. They are

  • the innovator,
  • the perfectionist,
  • the value shopper,
  • the impulsive buyer,
  • the bargain hunter, and
  • the loyalist.
Picture of Ashkar Gomez

Ashkar Gomez

Ashkar Gomez is the Founder of 7 Eagles (a Growth Marketing & SEO Company). Ashkar started his career as a Sales Rep in 2013 and later shifted his career to SEO in 2014. He is one of the leading SEO experts in the industry with 8+ years of experience. He has worked on 200+ projects across 20+ industries in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, UAE, Australia, South Africa, and India. Besides SEO and Digital Marketing, he is passionate about Data Analytics, Personal Financial Planning, and Content Writing.

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