Personas, Target Audience, and Ideal Customer Profile: Understand once and for all!

Personas, Target Audience, and Ideal Customer Profile: Understand once and for all!

Vinicius Leandrini Magalhaes
Studio Yellow

Do you feel that your company's content production has been struggling? Then it's time to create or revise your personas.

With personas, it becomes much easier to understand the buying journey, pains, and desires of your audience. This way, you can have more effective and profitable campaigns and avoid wasting resources when implementing your digital marketing strategy.

Curious? Then, continue reading to understand what a persona is, its differences and similarities with the target audience and ICP, and also get tips on how to build personas for your company.

Understand once and for all what personas are in marketing

According to Adele Revella, founder of the Buyer Persona Institute, personas are models inspired by real customers that assist in planning marketing strategies.

Through research, their motivations, challenges, behaviors, needs, as well as the most common age and gender, are identified.

Avatars, as they are also called, are a way to personify the target audience of a company. This makes it possible to understand them better and, thus, offer the most suitable solution to solve their problems and satisfy their desires.

The concept of persona was created by programmer and designer Alan Cooper in 1983. During the process of creating project management software, Cooper created a fictional client. This resource helped him think and develop a program that would truly be useful for its users.

Cooper was certainly one of the pioneers in having a customer-centric vision, not just focusing on his product. Today, personas are widely used as an exercise in empathy and a guide within marketing.

The difference between persona, target audience, and ICP

At first glance, persona and target audience sound very similar. However, they are different and complementary concepts - but equally important for your business.

The target audience is defined as a segment of society that may be interested in your product or service. This group of people has certain demographic characteristics, age range, purchasing power, social class, habits, among others.

On the other hand, the persona, as mentioned earlier, represents the profile of the majority of your current customers. Based on data from your base, it is possible to describe an avatar with specific attributes of behaviors, interests, and motivations that lead them to seek your company.

Another concept that permeates marketing discussions is the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). How does it relate to the previous ideas?

As the name suggests, the ICP is the ideal customer. In general, it is the person that salespeople most enjoy serving because they easily understand your product or service, there is not much energy spent during negotiation, and they become a promoter of your brand.

Understand the difference in practice

Now that you understand the conceptual distinction, what is the difference between the three in practice? See below the example of a cosmetics company:

  • Target audience: Women aged 25 to 40, married, with children, living in the southeast region. They earn salaries between R$3500.00 and R$5500.00, have completed higher education, and like to shop online.
  • Ideal customer: Women between 30 and 35 years old, with a solid career, residing in large cities in São Paulo. They care about their skin and look for products with whitening and anti-aging properties. They have a salary above R$4000.00, spend about R$300.00 monthly on cosmetics, and prefer to pay in full with a credit card.
  • Persona: Mariana Souza, 34 years old, owns a clothing boutique in Campinas, São Paulo. At home, she shares household chores with her husband. On weekends, she likes to go to the club with her 7-year-old daughter and get a tan. After pregnancy, some melasma spots appeared on her face, and from then on, she started using sunscreen daily. She follows beauty and lifestyle influencers on social media to stay updated on fashion trends and considers them a reference for buying facial care products.

Essential tips for building your persona

The goal of a persona is to be a realistic representation of the typical consumer. Therefore, it should never be based on assumptions. In other words, always work with real data.

The best way to collect data is to conduct research with your customer base.

The study can be done through online and in-person questionnaires or during the negotiation process. Another rich source of information is your sales team. Since they are on the front line with the customer, they can identify certain patterns of profiles and behavior.

In your investigation, aim to collect key demographic data such as age, gender, education, job title, and workplace. Also, research daily routines, buying habits, how they consume content, main challenges, and goals.

Finally, don't forget to ask about the customer's experience with your company. Investigate the reasons that led them to seek you, how the customer found you, and look for feedback.

With all the data in hand, conduct a thorough analysis. When you identify patterns in the responses, you are on the right track to start building your persona.

Don't worry if you identify more than one profile in your research. But be careful: an excess of personas can be a point of defocus. Aim to work with a maximum of three avatars.

See how personas impact your marketing strategy

Building personas for your company is the first step in seeing your audience beyond the numbers. Behind each sale, there is a person with real dreams, behaviors, and frustrations. Understanding each factor that leads a customer to you can influence your entire digital strategy.

Thinking about this, it can be said that personas directly impact:

  • In identifying relevant topics for content production;
  • In defining the tone of voice used in communication;
  • In building sales arguments and overcoming objections in lead acquisition campaigns;
  • In choosing which platforms (Instagram, email, blogs, etc.) and formats (short posts, long articles, videos, etc.) to prioritize;
  • In which type of paid ads to invest in;
  • In designing the buying journey;
  • In building the company's website;

In addition to the points mentioned, getting to know your persona thoroughly also helps build a high-converting sales script. Finally, you can gain valuable insights to optimize your service delivery and guide the expansion of your product and solution portfolio. The persona-building process requires time and committed people.

If you want to optimize your company's strategy for consistent results, contact our team and schedule a meeting with Studio Yellow. We specialize in creating digital strategies to boost your sales and online presence.