target audience and persona - personas as a target and an icon of a man


Understand the main differences between target audience and persona

Do you know the purpose of determining a target audience and persona for a business? Learn about their importance here!


05/06/2019 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Communication is one of the key instruments to contact customers and create a positive experience for them. This emphasizes the importance of sending a clear and objective message that is also aligned with people’s needs.

Therefore, it is necessary to personalize and target strategies, reaching the right people at the right moment!

Studying your target audience and persona is the first step to choosing the channel, message format, and language to be used in a marketing action, for example.

In this post, we’re going to explain both concepts, their differences and which profile to choose for your strategy. Keep reading and check it out!

Understanding your audience: What is the importance of targeting content?

Have you ever stopped to think about the people who purchase your brand’s products or services? Which characteristics do they have in common?

There are probably groups with similar aspects. Knowing this is key not only for your positioning in the market, but also for an understanding of these people’s needs.

In the case of marketing, the targeting of content is of great importance. It’s from this targeting that you will structure not only the language, but also the format of the material and the type of approach that will have greater impact on your customers.

When your research focuses on targeting, the chances of having effective campaigns increase.

There is also a decrease in sales time and the proper allocation of resources, not to mention market gains — after all, your business will stand out.

Target audience vs. Persona: What are the main differences?

You’ve probably felt that certain brands seem to understand your needs perfectly and they approach you at the precise times when you need it, right?

This isn’t a magic trick, but work that was put into defining the target audience and/or persona.

Below, we’ll show you the differences between both concepts.

Target audience

The target audience is a concept that refers to a certain social segment, with great propensity to purchasing a certain product or service. It serves as the basis for the alignment of marketing and sales campaigns, for example.

In order to determine it, a series of surveys are conducted to find common characteristics in a group, which will be the focus of the strategy.

Information such as age, gender, social class, and location are valuable for this definition.

Let’s imagine, for example, a brand that sells cosmetics online. With a survey, it was determined that its audience is mainly formed by women, ages between 20 and 50, earning between 3,000.00 USD and 10,000.00 USD a month, living in major cities. Okay, hold on to this information for now.



On the other hand, the concept of a buyer persona is different. It arose out of the audience’s new needs and specifications that are more demanding. We can describe it as a semi-fictitious representation of a standard consumer, created with the purpose of defining the business’ ideal customer.

In its definition, not only is information such as age, gender, social class, etc. taken into consideration, the persona also involves behaviors and characteristics such as demographic information, family history, motivation, dreams, life goals, challenges, and others.

Considering the same brand that sells cosmetics, we find as the persona: a 35-year-old woman, who has 2 children, makes approximately 7,000.00 USD, lives in a middle-class neighborhood and who uses the brand’s products as a way of maintaining a good skin appearance, where her main concern is to stay young.

Do you see the difference?

What are the benefits of working with a target audience?

Each of these concepts has its advantages. Starting with the target audience, among the main advantages we can highlight the identification of the existence of different audiences.

In many cases, the same brand has different groups who use its products or services. By determining your target audience, you can know which buyer niches the business needs to take into consideration when it develops a strategy.

With this, you can determine if all of them will be served or if there’s a need to focus on one specific type of consumer.

Another advantage is being able to develop the identity and language used by the business. After all, you’ll have better control of the people with whom you will be talking.

This opens up space for a better-aligned production of content, an understanding of the timing of the actions and also the identification of changes and improvements to be applied to your products or services.

What are the main advantages of working with personas?

The creation of a persona is more specific. Therefore, the benefits of working with it is different from the target audience.

Focusing on the mapping of personas helps build a base that is very close to reality. This drives the process of building a marketing strategy. Thus, the team doesn’t waste time creating great material, but that has no connection with the personas.

In addition to a more aligned language, your business has a clearer idea about which social media in which to invest, the preferred content format, upselling (a strategy in which the seller can suggest an additional product or service to the one already being purchased) and cross-selling (the offer of a complementary product to the one that is being purchased) opportunities.

Another difference, this time comparing the persona to the target audience, is that the former can be applied to all sales and marketing steps, including in the creation of a new product or service.

How to choose between target audience and persona

If you wish to conduct a market survey, your target audience will allow a broad collection of data.

Now, if you wish to create digital marketing strategies, or you are starting your investment with limited resources, a persona’s targeting can deliver satisfactory results.

It’s best to start by studying your target audience. This will help you have a macro view of the business and define the consumers who buy your products or services. From this, you can target your audience by means of the persona.

Due to the persona’s greater detail, both in terms of demographics as well as behavioral, you can obtain information about your customer’s purchasing journey. Consequently, you can use this profile to guide your marketing actions.

According to a study by the Demand Gen Report, nurtured leads are on average 20% more likely to purchase products if compared to leads that aren’t nurtured. It’s worth remembering that nurturing has its effectiveness linked to the creation of a persona.

Target audience and persona are two concepts that have rather diffused boundaries. Actually, they are complementary. Therefore, it’s important to know the differences between them in order to launch accurate marketing strategies for your business.

Both have different advantages, from developing the correct language to choosing the format of the content and the most efficient approach.

It’s important to remember that each market niche has its own particularities regarding the definition of the concepts.