Customer Segmentation vs. Customer Persona: How well do you know your customer?

Customer Segmentation vs. Customer Persona: How well do you know your customer?

We field many questions regarding the differences between customer segmentation and personas.  These are two very different tools that work together to refine an overall marketing approach to help increase sales.

 Customer Segmentation is a Marketing Tool

Customer Segmentation defines the different groups of customers that organizations and companies aim to reach or serve.  It helps marketers develop new markets, launch new products, understand client needs, develop customer focus and customer retention strategies.  Moreover, it helps define customer channels with the greatest potential to positively impact the bottom line.  It is the starting point of any well-defined marketing plan.

Answer these questions to simply define your customer segmentation:

1.  Who are we providing value to?

2.  What needs or wants define our ideal customer?

3.  What characteristics define our typical customer?

After answering these questions, you may have one or many customer segmentations.  Sort your customers into different profiles using their needs, wants and characteristics. Then prioritize the audiences based on how they can positively affect your bottom line through revenue streams.  The example below was developed for a retail client in the non-profit arena.


Customer Segmentation is a powerful marketing output, but it does not unearth the motivations, experiences and personalities of your customer.

Customer Personas are a Messaging Tool

Personas take your segmentation a step further by defining basic information such as demographics and psychographics — age, gender, location, family life, likes and dislikes, job history, job role, leisure activities, hobbies, etc.

But, the secret sauce involves taking this information and creating a “personality” around it.

  1. What is the name of this customer?  What makes them tick?
  2. How does this customer describe your product or service?  Write a quote in a couple sentences that captures his/her attitude.
  3. How technically savvy are they?  How comfortable is he/she online and how do they interact online? Social channels?  Mobile, desktop, tablet usage?  What are their favorite websites? This is important to understand to know how they will interact with your brand online.
  4. What professional or personal goals is he/she trying to achieve by the use of your product or service?

Customer Segmentation and Persona Development will help you determine the perfect marketing mix through understanding customer habits. The intelligence you derive will help make better business decisions through highly targeted approaches.

E-mail me at lori@avocetcommunications.com for a persona worksheet and persona example.