Many organizations and marketing professionals  use the terms "buyer profile" and "buyer persona" interchangeably. While each of these assist with audience understanding, they tell a very different story. This quick comparison will provide you with the fundamental differences between profiles and personas, and more importantly, how to use each to your benefit. You'll gain a broader perspective when it comes to your lead gen and demand gen efforts.

Buyer Profiles
Buyer Personas

Buyer Profiles

Think of buyer profiles as a list of data points on your audience. These data points help you identify your audience – and make sure you’re targeting the right kind of professional in the right kind of organization. Profiles are created from existing customer data, quantitative research and offer information that looks like this:

Firmographic data – Business type, company size, revenue, industry, structure and geography

Demographic data – Age, gender, education, ethnicity, occupation and location

Role-based information – Job titles, roles, responsibilities, pain points and challenges

Buyer Personas

The buyer persona is a list of data points around the intangibles of your audience – this information helps put a face and emotion to your buyer. Personas enable you to weave contextual relevance into your messaging, relating to your audience on a more personal level. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research that looks like this:

Psychographic data – Personality, attitudes, interests, opinions (AIOs), values, perception of need, ability to understand and ability to influence

Behavioral information – Motivations, goals, frustrations, answers to the when, why and how decisions are made

Classifying factors – See demographic and firmographic data in buyer profiles

As you look at your audience, start a conversation and get everyone on the same page.

Use this comparison as an opportunity to open the conversation in your organization about the purpose of buyer profiles and personas – encourage exploration into how each can best support your Lead Gen and Demand Gen efforts.

If you’re looking for a good way to categorize your audience with specific criteria, look into developing Buyer Profiles.

If you want to make sure your positioning and messaging will resonate with your audience on a deeper level, invest in developing Buyer Personas.