ideal customer profile vs buyer persona

What is an ideal customer profile vs a buyer persona? And what is an avatar? You may have heard all three terms before.

While each one has a slightly different definition, all three terms are used to answer the same question: Who is my perfect customer? Understanding who your perfect customer is will help you build a more successful business, create a more on-target brand, and develop more effective marketing.

What is an ideal customer profile?

Your ideal customer is someone who will immediately benefit from the product or service that your company sells. Because of this, your perfect client will be a frequent purchaser of your offerings and will be a great source of word-of-mouth marketing as they recommend your business to their family and friends. 

Since these people are so important to your business success, it is essential to understand your ideal client as best you can by building an ideal customer profile. You may need to do research to understand their demographic and psychographic details to define and attract this ideal client easily. There any many different places where you can find information to help you better identify your perfect client, including social media, google analytics, competitor research, industry data, and your current customer data. 

Ideal client vs ideal customer

Is there a difference between an ideal client and an ideal customer ? Not really. Some industries tend to refer to their buyers as clients and some use the term customer. For example, you think of a consultant as having clients and a grocery store as having customers. Therefore, a grocery store may talk about ideal customers, while a consultant may talk about ideal clients.

The word client is more frequently used in a service-based business with more personalized attention.

What is an avatar?

The word avatar is often used as shorthand for ideal customer. You may hear the phrase customer avatar, ideal client avatar or just avatar by itself. The word avatar became more widely used and more understandable after people developed avatars for their gaming profiles.

You may want to create a name for your ideal client and that can be your customer avatar. For example, you might say: “Molly Millennial [Avatar] typically is 25-35 years old women who lives in a large urban city, uses public transportation, works at a well-paid corporate job and listens to 5 or more audio books every year [ideal client profile].

What is a buyer persona?

A good buyer persona is created by studying customer data and interviewing customers directly. The key traits of this persona will allow you to improve your solutions to match their needs. Because these are real people, you can hear or read their actual words. This gives you great insights into what your buyers think about and can help you develop marketing messages that capture the real pain point you are trying to solve for your customers.

If you have a brand new business with few or no customers, it’s very difficult to create an accurate buyer persona. Either you have no buyers yet, or the few you have may not be your ‘ideal’ buyer. Similarly, if you are making changes to your business, your ideal customers may not match your current customers.

For this reason, it’s more important to develop an ideal customer profile when creating your brand or if you are rebranding.

Ideal customer profile vs buyer persona 

While many people use the term ideal customer profile and buyer persona interchangeably, they are different, in two key ways:

  1. A buyer persona is built by researching your current customers whereas an ideal customer profile is a composite view of your most perfect, idealized customer. 
  2. A well-developed buyer persona tells you what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they consider your product or service.

Typically, businesses start out with an ideal customer profile, and later develop buyer personas.

Focus on understanding and attracting your ideal customer or client

As a business owner, you want to build a brand that attracts your ideal clients, even if that’s not who is buying from you right now. For this, an ideal customer profile is critical.