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Buyer personas, target markets & target audiences for manufacturers

How often have you heard the term, ‘we want to enter new markets in the next twelve months’. Great, it shows ambition. But is that the right phrase?

In a way, yes. However, are you aware there are other ways to define your prospects?

To get the best possible view of the people you want to buy from you, you need to take a more flexible approach. Here are the basics of buyer personas, target markets and target audiences.

See if you can pick which one you focus on the most and whether there’s room for improvement.

traditional and digital marketing


“Who’s your product aimed at?”



This phrase comes to mind; if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.

If you’ve figured this one out already, well done. However, if you’re a manufacturer, having a target market and a target audience isn’t enough.

You need to focus your marketing on specific people. More on that later.


While target markets, audiences and buyer personas are all generalisations, buyer personas are more specific and focus on factors that aren't superficial.

While target markets and audiences will always include demographics like age, buyer personas go deeper and could include information like ‘reason for initial contact’.


Target markets and target audiences will usually be quite basic, whereas buyer personas go into more detail — presenting information such as motivations, goals and challenges.

further reading

Want to learn more about manufacturing marketing? Read our Ultimate Guide!


Wide and flat is used by businesses that have many different products and many different markets, and narrow and deep is used by businesses that have a few products and one market.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use buyer personas for bigger markets, but it’s a more time-consuming exercise to create them.

Customer relationships

The wider you cast your net, the more sales oriented you’ll be, you’ll also get more random buyers. If you pick your catch, you’ll get a specific type of buyer, but a smaller catch.


Target markets and target audiences are how things have always been done. Buyer personas have only existed for ten years or so.

Marketing style

Target markets and target audiences have always been associated with outbound marketing tactics like cold calling and TV adverts — pick an area and ring everyone in it!

With the rise of inbound and digital marketing, buyer personas were created, and audiences became more targeted.

Buyer type

When you look to cast a wide net, you’re better doing it with B2C companies whose customer base tends to be larger and will contain impulse buyers.

In manufacturing, most companies are B2B, which means decisions are more considered, and there’ll be more touchpoints with different decision-makers.

For example, if someone is looking to buy a new piece of machinery, a Production Manager may research the product, a Technical Director may compare price, and a CEO may make the purchase.

If you’re targeting markets and audiences, you aren’t considering each decision maker. If you create buyer personas for each person, you are.

Are you ready to create buyer personas for your manufacturing company?

If you’re ready to expand and start targeting people instead of markets and audiences, use our buyer persona template to get started.

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