Target audience vs Personas: Find the differences!



January 9, 2019


3 minutes reading

We all want to do marketing that brings results. But, do you know the element that differentiates efficient marketing from one that does not yield results? Segmentation!

It is not enough to do campaigns and wait for results! In order to have campaigns that bring a return on investment, you must first and foremost know the audience that has the most potential to buy your product/service. Only after you have this set correctly, can you prepare the campaign that will speak directly to him.

But, how do you know which people to approach?

There are two ways of doing it. Both have different characteristics.

  • Target audience;
  • Personas;

In this article, we want to teach you the difference between both, and how you should create and use them in your company. 

The target audience consists of information about potential customers. It's usually the first step to create a marketing campaign. Usually, it's information such as:

  • Training;
  • Sex;
  • Age;
  • Job;
  • City;
  • Interests.

This target audience, even though it's a good place to start, has fallen more and more into disuse. And why is that?

Nowadays, with consumer habits, digital marketing offers essential information and segmentation so that your campaigns are successful. With this, we are able to get a more precise idea of our ideal customer.


What are the benefits of target audience?

This segmentation can be very beneficial when we create a new product or need to study the market. It requires less research than the more detailed options.

It can also be great to determine which campaigns and channels work best.


Examples of target audience:

Women, 25 to 40 years old, graduated, live in the north of the country and take care of their body;

Men, 40 to 50 years old, live in Lisbon, married and see the news online;

Technology companies, PME's with a marketing department.

How can I determine my target audience?

In order to set your target audience, you should answer the following questions:

  • The product/service is meant for companies or final consumer?
  • If you answered company, which type of companies?
  • If you answered the final consumer, which kind of consumer? What gender? Age? Training? Interests?
  • The frequency that the product/service will be used.
  • Which region will work best?
  • If you already have clients, it can be easier to answer these questions, by analyzing your current customers.
  • You can also search for studies already done related to your sector.


What is a persona?

Do you remember when we talked about how target audiences are more and more in disuse? It is the creation of personas that have led to this.

A persona is a fictional profile of your ideal customer. With it, you can understand what he needs and get new insights for new marketing strategies.

In short, personas bring more details so you can communicate and segment more efficiently.

What are the benefits of a persona?

Besides having a more efficient segmentation, you have more detailed information such as:
  • Which social media should you create ads;
  • What topics to cover;
  • Upsell and cross-sell opportunities;
  • Best moments to offer a product;
  • Frequency and style of your email marketing.

With this, your results can be better.

Persona Examples:

Cláudia is 30 years old, has a degree and works as a quality supervisor. Her salary is between a thousand and 2 thousand euros, she's single, happy at her job and likes online shopping. She follows beauty and fashion influencers on Instagram and blogs. Lives in Lisbon and every weekend goes out to bars with her friends. She likes to be well dressed and fell good, both in and off work. 

John is 60 years old, works as security, completed high school and his salary is between 600 and 1000 euros. He likes to buy the newspaper daily, on his way to work. And, he looks to spend little money on this habit. He's married and has 2 sons that are studying, close to 18. On the weekends, John likes to go out to bars with his friends or to the stadium to see his team play.

How can I determine my personas?

In this case, you can't search or try to guess. It's necessary to ground your choice based on the obtained results.

To find these personas, you should answer some questions:
  • What physical and psychological characteristics does your potential customer have?
  • What hobbies does he have?
  • What's his training?
  • What are his life goals?
  • How can I help them?
The target audience and personas are both important in different stages of marketing.

While the target audience provides more general information about your ideal customer, the persona brings a bigger level of detail. This helps your marketing team create a better relationship and better visualize the language and approach for campaigns.

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."

Henry Ford, Founder of Ford