Customer Profile vs. Customer Avatar vs. Buyer Persona

4 April 2023
Reading: 3 min

The main mistake in affiliate or classic marketing is to focus on your business rather than the client. And to be able to think about those on the other side of the screen, you must first understand who sits there. Are you satisfied with your current target audience characteristics? Think about whom you would like to see as your customer. To do this, you may use the help of target audience creation techniques. In this article, we will introduce three approaches to looking at consumers: the customer profile, the customer avatar, and the buyer persona.

Customer Profile vs. Customer Avatar vs. Buyer Persona

The Customer Profile

The Customer Profile is an image of a real customer for whom your product is a solution to a problem. To build a really useful profile of your target audience, you need to get to know people, their values, and their lifestyles. With a portrait of the target audience, we understand people’s problems. By drawing it up, we understand what different customer segments will want to buy in a particular context.

How to create a customer profile?

There are many techniques for compiling a comprehensive profile of your audience. Two of the most popular methods are segmentation by basic characteristics and the persona method. 

  • Segmentation by basic characteristics is the collection of all possible information about the target audience according to basic characteristics such as gender, age, location, generation, income, etc. In addition, purchase motives, core values of the audience, people’s lifestyles, and factors they consider when choosing a product.
    To create a profile of a potential customer, it is important to find out the reasons for purchase as well as the selection criteria. It is also important to understand how the product is bought — emotionally or rationally, and for what purposes the person will use it.
  • For more accurate segmentation, the persona method can be used. It creates images of potential customers. In essence, “fictional” personas are created with the characteristics of real customers. Each persona will represent one group of customers, and this helps to better understand their needs and preferences. Creating personas helps to better define the target audience and develop marketing strategies that will be most effective for each consumer group.

Customer Profile vs. Customer Avatar vs. Buyer Persona

The Customer Avatar

The Customer Avatar or ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is a description of the ideal character with all the qualities and traits that you want to see in your customers. It is a hypothetical representation of the most suitable consumers that would benefit the most from your brand’s solutions and are the most desirable buyers for your products. Although a customer avatar is a fictional construct, it will help you figure out for yourself the direction you want to take. This is necessary to build a logical and coherent strategy.

How to create a customer avatar?

Your customer avatars need to reflect real businesses in your scope, even if they aren’t an exact representation of who your customers are for now. You will need to analyze your current business processes to understand how you want to change direction and which new customers you want to attract. To do this, use the following steps:

Market research

Firstly, you need to get a clear picture of your ideal customer. The good news is that this could be an existing customer who has already purchased from your competitors. In this case, you can use their information for reference and send them a survey with more questions to get more information.

However, if you’re not sure that you know where your ideal client lives, you’ll have to create it yourself piece by piece — like Frankenstein. This means you simply need to do secondary research, such as gathering data from third-party reports, examining review/Q&A sites, and analyzing social media data.

ICP checklist

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start creating a real customer avatar. Divide the sheet of paper into blocks and focus all the information you collected in the previous point into one place according to these blocks:

  • Demographics
  • Goals and values
  • Sources of information
  • Problems and pain points
  • Objections and role in the buying process

A practical tip: 

There are plenty of ready-made templates online to create a customer avatar. If you don’t want to bother with it yourself, just download and fill in the ready-made one.

Duplicating the efforts

It’s likely that you’ve created several ideal client personas in your imagination. In that case, you should create a client avatar for each of them. Don’t rush to sigh harshly, it will only be difficult with the first ICP, but get easier with the other. However, it is better to stick to three or fewer avatars in the beginning. If you overdo it, there is a risk of losing your targeting focus.

Customer Profile vs. Customer Avatar vs. Buyer Persona

The buyer persona

The buyer persona is an idealized semi-fictional image that represents the ideal buyer for your brand based on your existing customers. By conducting thorough research on your current or potential customers, you can create a profile of your ideal buyers that accurately reflects your current target audience. Buyer personas provide structure and context for your marketing activities. They can help you build stronger connections with customers by understanding what messages, content, and language will resonate with them.

Customer Profile vs. Customer Avatar vs. Buyer Persona

How to create a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a kind of combination of existing customer traits like in the customer profile and adding fictional traits like in ICP. The buyer persona formation methods will therefore be a kind of collaboration of two previous techniques.

  1. Current situation analysis. Creating a buyer persona should always start with customer research. If you already selling offers, you can start by interviewing or surveying your existing satisfied customers. It will give you a clear understanding of who your customers are and why they buy. For this step, you can use the techniques we discussed for a customer profile.
  2. General data collection. To gain a better understanding of your audience, you can analyze the data available on your website or social media platforms, conduct industry or market research, and study the types of individuals that your competitors are targeting. This will enhance your knowledge of their interests, objectives, and overall way of life.
  3. Shaping personas. This is where you synthesize and summarize all the data into a single persona. This process should involve naming, storytelling, and motivation-building. Write down all details and present it as a character study, similar to what you might provide to an actor portraying that role in a movie about your business.
  4. Testing. Once you have completed the process, you will have a buyer persona. However, there is one more crucial step to take. Refer back to the list of customers you have interacted with and ask yourself: Does the persona you have created accurately represent some of them? And are these the types of clients that you believe your business can serve most effectively? If the answer is yes, then your persona is complete.

Final thoughts

It is easier to promote something if you know who you are selling to. And not just selling — communicating with someone you know is much easier than with a stranger. Identifying your customer profile, customer avatar or buyer persona will allow you to look at your offer through the eyes of consumers. Prepare yourself for the fact that you have a low profile in the life of your audience. But there is a positive side to this: you can finally forget about making a good impression and start to finally think about satisfying your customers’ pains and needs. Don’t forget the golden rule of sales: think not about your brand, but about the person who buys from you.

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