Buyer Type vs Buyer Persona
With all the emphasis on creating a buyer persona for better marketing it stands to reason that we should start with the basics – like what is a Buyer Type and what is a Buyer Persona?
Let’s start with a Buyer Persona.
A buyer persona is a description of your (target) ideal client.
It describes the details which make this buyer different than any other.
What are those details?
Age: Specifically the stage in life – because we all have these universal patterns of bumping up against tests, trials, and things that define the way we identify ourselves. For example, from about the age of 17 to 25, we are in a stage – it is all about finding a role in life – looking for that place we fit in and to feel a belonging to. Then we reach the next stage which is between the age 25 and 32 where we start giving shape to the part we play. Our identities become more established, and we begin to defend and protect anything that helps affirm the identity. There’s another stage, commonly called “The Catch 30 Passage” to take into consideration because this time difficulty is pronounced. There’s an impulse to rip apart structures and to start a new. It’s the time of a Saturn return.
Another critical stage in life is age 40 to 45, the mid-life crisis years and another realization of lost dreams hits hard. The late 50’s brings more transition as the initiation into the elder’s circle begins. Now there’s a possibility of renewed interest in life. A typical characteristic of this stage is the feeling of being free – no longer under the pressure to conform or prove yourself.
The point is: With each stage in life there are predictable patterns of conflict, tension, desires, and fears.
You can also look at a stage in life from the generational difference or generational influences. You would market differently to a “techno-punk” -someone born between 1963-1969 then you would to an “explorer” – someone born between 1975-1981.
When considering age (the importance it plays in your buyer persona), remember the stage of life and influences of generational, cultural values. It may or may not make a difference.
Worldview: The orientation or point-of-view that shapes a sense rightness or feeling of resonance. You want to know how your ideal client organizes themselves around these core beliefs. Are they free-thinkers or do they value tradition and feel the need to pass down the legacies of their family beliefs and values. You can look at differences between Eastern and Western views. Technical know-how is a value of the western mind where the eastern view is sensitive to the subtleties of knowing outside of the mind. Of course, there is an emerging world view which is questioning the origin of authority and redefining what is most important in life.
In the simplest terms, you can apply a worldview to any buying situation by looking at how a particular view enhances the need for your product. To quote Simon Sinek, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
Other details marketers recommend to include in your buyer persona are:
- the level of education
- success factors
- where they get their information (again knowing worldview would help determine where they go for news or who they are more apt to trust).
What is a Buyer Type?
A buyer type is a categorization of the four modes of behavior when someone is making a purchase.
Bryan Eisenberg’s work is a remarkable and detailed study of buyer types.
His research, along with his brother Jeffrey Eisenberg is in their book “Persuasive Online Copywriting” with the four buyer types defined at first as Driver, Amiable, Expressive, and Analytical, and later renamed them to:
- Competitive. Fast-paced decision-making, logically oriented
- Spontaneous. Fast-paced decision-making, emotionally oriented
- Humanistic. Slow-paced decision-making, emotionally oriented
- Methodical. Slow-paced decision-making, logically oriented
Can Knowing Your Buyer “Type” Help You Build a Better Buyer Persona?
That question got me thinking.
Being empathetic and the ability to “read people” was somewhat of an innate strength and came in pretty handy when I was in sales. It was easy to understand people in a face-to-face conversation and something I took for granted.
Then I entered this world of doing business online where conversations happen virtually. No more eye contact, listening to the voice, watching body language, or hearing the modality. The entire dialogue now exists through the words on a page.
How can we apply the same people-reading skills without personal interaction?
How do we anticipate what the reader wants?
What’s the best way to build rapport?
Begin by combining knowledge of the buyer type to the buyer persona.
Add information from buyer types to the essential information of the buyer persona to create a rich and textured understanding of your audience. Thinking from their point of view helps you to anticipate what they want. Layering aspects of your story with their fears, challenges, and desires creates rapport.
For an example, Meet Kate: My Buyer Persona
Buyer Types Add Depth To Your Buyer Persona
The foundation for Buyer Types as part of Buyer Persona development.
As you think about your ideal client, spend time thinking about what makes life challenging and how your solution considers those difficulties.
In the comments, do you have a buyer persona based on a buyer type or is your ideal client more of a blend of types. How many buyer personas do you design for?