User vs. Buyer Persona vs. Marketing Avatar: Differences and Why do you need them

When it comes to mentioning marketing tools and resources that help you understand better your ideal customers, there are numerous possibilities to get started.

Even though concepts like User/Buyer Persona and Marketing/Customer Avatar might seem similar they have certain key differences that can frame your whole marketing strategy. Keep reading!

As a way of introduction, it is important to recall the main definition of these concepts individually so you can understand how much influence they do get to exert over a marketing strategy.

What is a User Persona?

This is the most complex concept among the other three since it’s highly related to the User/Brand Experience. Your User Persona must encompass as much as possible real data about who is going to use your final product, in other words, your end-user.

This should be the most realistic representation of the person that is going to “live” the experience you design, so that’s why it is essential for you to complete exhaustive research activities.

When to use it?: If you are in the development, improvement, or an innovative stage for a new or existing product, app, website, etc., this one will be the key to buffing up your user experience design process. Keep in mind that this is mostly used in product development scenarios.

Quick tip to build yours: The best thing you can do to create a solid User Persona is to break down your Product’s Features and Benefits so you are able to identify the strongest points of your product and how these impact your end-users life. Think about how your product will make your user’s life easier and better, or at least what specific pains you will address.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Now for this one, you can consider it a semi-realistic semi-fictional representation of who is going to actually buy your product without necessarily being the same end-user.

For example, imagine for a moment that you are the owner of a Bookstore for Children and, even though your products are meant to be directed to children, the actual buyer might be someone else taking the decision-maker role.

See how it differs now?

When to use it?: If you have a deep understanding of your own business and need to establish semi-imaginary potential buyers, this one should fit in.

Quick tip to build yours: Since this Persona is meant to represent your ideal client in a more realistic way, try to write down a very specific and personalized story about this imaginary person. Dismiss generalities and think honestly about that perfect client for your business.

If you have no idea how to get started, head to this link and try out now GETitOUT’s Buyer Persona Tool. Get started with professional examples and templates of Buyer Personas to help you out.

What is a Marketing Avatar?

At last, when it comes to defining a marketing avatar/persona after having mentioned the previous two concepts, the key feature of this concept is that it is the most generic representation of a person that might have an interaction with your brand, specific products, or services.

This customer representation encompasses the most typical characteristics of common clients: who they are, what they do, and why they like buying a product.

When to use it?: If you are in the very early stages of your business, this one should fit in.

Quick tip to build yours: Make some brief research about your industry and common behavior patterns among typical customers. This will be the first step to building more complex Personas for your business.

In conclusion, a user persona is the most realistic representation of your end-user while a buyer persona corresponds to the person that will decide to buy your products or interact with your brand (it doesn’t have to be the same end-user.

Finally, a marketing avatar makes reference to the most generic representation of a typical customer in your industry or market.

Why is important to know the difference between these Marketing Concepts?

Here you go 3 main reasons why you should learn very precisely the differences between these types of Persona:

🔑 The Key to effective Customer Journey Maps

Depending on the Persona type you choose for building its corresponding Customer Journey Map, a diagram that illustrates each step in the buyer journey, including who the customer is, what their needs are, and what objections they face, you will take decisions in a totally different way since your User Persona might not have the same motivations or needs as your Buyer Persona.

Here is a quick tip from Neil Patel, one of the biggest digital marketers in the world:

“Focus on your most profitable customers first and find the unifying threads that tie them together, then build on that persona. Once you have those down, start working down the list until you have all your customer journeys mapped.”


👥 Essential to designing empathic User Experiences

If there is a list of determinant elements of any business’s success, the User Experience would take a lot of protagonism. However, this element needs a clear structure of Persona types, regardless of their quantity, in order to move from user experience to customer bonds.

At this point, you can recourse to creative tools like UX storyboards, interviews, and trajectory maps so you can strengthen empathy while designing user experiences.Some people need to see to believe. Luckily, that’s what Storyboards are for. Reflecting on actions about how the product is used can be very useful when making decisions.”


✏️ The most important pillar of your content strategy

Finally, the third reason you should take this seriously when planning or executing any marketing endeavor is that your audience won’t pay you attention unless you show them content that connects emotionally and intellectually with it.

Gary “Vee” Vaynerchuk, one of the most well-known entrepreneurs and marketing influencers nowadays, mentions the following: “I believe that attention is the singular important asset for anybody trying to achieve anything … to create anything.”

…But how can you get this precious audience’s attention? Well, the key is to intensely care about your end user (commonly) or even see if another Persona type suits in.

”You should only care about the end consumer and their behavior. Where are they looking? What are they saying in the comments? With this knowledge, you can develop a content strategy that chases attention and steadily builds your reputation. What matters primarily is not the platform where you distribute content; what matters fundamentally—and will always continue to matter—is where the attention of your audience lies.” – states Neha Wanikar on this Gary Vee reference.


One little thing these all concepts have in common!

Now that the differences were already discussed, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a pillar that links all these Persona types: Pains & Goals.

The more you know about your customers’ pains (problems they face and how your products or services help resolve those problems) or goals (objectives they could reach with your products or services), the more successful your marketing will be.

Thus, you can assume that despite the type of Persona you’re using, there will always be a group of pains that you completely have to address and, of course, solve.

Keep in mind that Pains & Goals are not the same (in most cases) for each Persona type.

Still not fully convinced about this?
🚀 Then take a look at this study case!

Shoutout to Tomislav Horvat for gathering some powerful buyer persona case studies that led to marketing success.

Twilio, “ a widely known company among the developers in the cloud communications industry”, focuses on powering up personalized and high-scale communications between clients and businesses.

However, despite this powerful mentioned value, Twilio decided to venture into a Product Management suite but got stuck in “untested waters and in need of assistance in order to engage a new audience”, which had a lot to see with developing new buyer personas.

“Among the actions taken by Campaign Stars (the hired customer acquisition platform) was to analyze the buyer’s journey of Twilio’s ideal customers to build new buyer personas.”

Now here’s when all the information you read before makes, right?

Horvat also mentions that “the key discovery was the fact that even though developers use Twilio’s product, it’s the product managers and team leaders who are the decision-makers when it comes to actual purchasing decisions.

Armed with this insight, Campaign Stars developed new buyer personas to target these decision-makers.”

This is not a superpower but a useful tool you can start using now to buff up your marketing strategy. Now, let me ask you if you are…

Ready to use this power to your own benefit? 🔥 Then, start building realistic and beautiful Buyer Personas for your business with GETitOUT!

Now it’s your turn to start creating or defining your brand’s buyer persona(s). Check out GETitOUT’s Buyer Persona Generator Tool designed to help your business and marketing strategies engage your ideal audience. GETitOUT makes it easy with beautiful buyer persona templates, examples, and AI suggestions for pain points & goals.

Also in GETitOUT: Next steps after understanding your Personas

What do you do now??… When having your Personas all set, the time comes to think about the next steps. If you really put some effort into creating and defining your Personas types, the benefits will show up at the moment you:


  • Start turning features into benefits
  • Creating high-impact Call-to-Actions
  • Generating effective and connected marketing texts for websites, ads, social media posts, blogs, etc.
  • Designing marketing materials based on specific Personas or Customer Journey Maps (Landing pages, emails & newsletters, flyers, presentations, etc.)

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