Ask ITSMA: How do I ensure our buyer personas aren’t collecting virtual dust on the digital shelf?

Understanding the distinction between a buyer profile and a buyer persona is a good start and will provide a competitive advantage.

Julie Schwartz

by Julie Schwartz

April 21, 2021

buyer personas

In this episode of Ask ITSMA, Julie Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Research & Thought Leadership at ITSMA, answers the question: How do I ensure our buyer personas aren’t collecting virtual dust on the digital shelf?

In her response, Julie makes an important distinction between a buyer profile and a buyer persona, because knowing the difference—and knowing how to leverage a buyer persona to build your B2B Marketing program—will provide a competitive advantage.

A role-based profile that is heavy on demographics and pain points is a good starting point, but it’s too light on insight into actual buying behavior to be effective. On the other hand, a truly useful buyer persona takes a profile to the next level with purchase decision insights that help you create value propositions and messaging that are more likely to persuade buyers to choose you and ultimately help you develop more engaging and relevant content.

The most important difference between a buyer profile and a buyer persona is that the buyer personas are solutions specific. They provide deep insights into when, how, and why people buy your particular solution. Buyer profiles, on the other hand, are more generic and can be applied across multiple solutions.

Another important distinction between buyer profiles and buyer personas is that buyer personas describe the actual buying process, but buyer profiles, because they are role based, merely describe who the buyer is.

Finally, buyer personas offer differentiating insight on the buying process and requires B2B marketers to conduct qualitative primary research with real buyers.

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buyer personas

Ask ITSMA: How do I ensure our buyer personas aren’t collecting virtual dust on the digital shelf?

Understanding the distinction between a buyer profile and a buyer persona is a good start and will provide a competitive advantage.