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An Ideal Customer Profile vs. Buyer Persona

Recently, I was with my former team, reviewing the marketing campaign materials provided by the company I manage – one of the largest and most respected firms on Earth. I asked my team for the buyer personas from the client, and they handed me a sheet of information about companies – type of companies, products, culture, etc. And I thought, “My goodness. My client does not know the difference been Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles.”

To clear up any confusion, let me share the differences between Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas.

ideal customer profile or buyer persona

Ideal Customer Profiles

These are descriptions of the best types of COMPANIES for your company to sell too.  They might specify size of firm, geographic locations, types of products, length of sales cycle, etc. Ideal customer profiles describe the kind of company you’d like to sell to. These are also useful in lead scoring – matching ideal customer type may add some scoring points. Ideal Customer Profiles are important as you create your go to market strategies.

Buyer Personas

This is a detailed analysis of the PEOPLE who buy from you.  It is all about people – pains, motivations, process, trusted sources and more.  Buyer personas have names – like Freddy Finance, Sammy Sales and Manny Marketing. It also covers how they buy and why they would or would not buy from your company.The Product/Service Connection is critical and often missed.

Buyer personas gather invaluable information to feed content marketing and sales enablement.  They are critical in deciding what messaging to use in your content – for instance What do you say to a person in an early Untroubled/Unaware buying phase?  Without good personas, you’ll struggle to create relevant content to engage prospective buyers.

I hope this helps clarify the differences between two important marketing concepts – Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas.  I welcome your comment and appreciate those who share on social media.

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