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Yuri Vedenin
Founder and Boss of UXPressia

User vs. buyer persona: differences and a free template


Now that you know what a persona is, how to create it, and why your company really needs to use personas, it's time to answer one more question. What is a buyer persona and what is a user persona? Is there any difference between these two? To put it short, there is. But should you care? Most likely, you should. In this post, we're going to highlight the key differences between buyer and user personas.

The main difference

is that a buyer persona isn't necessarily a user. But they can be.

And that's all there is to it. A good example would be a personal computer. You may buy one for your own use and, in this case, you'll be both a buyer and a user persona at the same time. But what if you buy a computer for your mom? Or for an employee? You're still the buyer. But not the user.

This difference between buyer and user personas might seem obvious and it really is. However, what does this difference mean for us as UX designers, product managers, marketing professionals, or sellers?

It simply means that we should keep in mind both buyers and users while designing products/services, mapping customer journeys, and creating marketing campaigns. Why? Because buyer and user personas often have different goals and expectations. Now, let's look at each persona type and its characteristics.

the difference between user and buyer personas example
Personas created using UXPressia Persona Creator

User persona

As we said earlier, a user persona isn't necessarily someone who buys from you. It might not even be their decision. They may even dislike your product but still have to use it because of their management.

And while the higher-level goals of decision-makers are about costs and long-run benefits, the goals of end-users are simpler but by no means less important. They may expect something like ease of use or simple navigation and clarity of what to do at each stage. Anything that makes their routine operations less routine and their day a little brighter.

While creating user personas, pay attention to their skills and, for example, what technology they use as well as their previous experience, as this might shift your perspective on your product or service.

Buyer persona

A buyer persona is a little more complicated than an end-user. Often, it's a team of decision-makers who decide whether to purchase something or not. It could be supervisors, managers, IT guys, and so on. And each of them has their own ideas of what should be in your product.

So, for example, a manager or a supervisor might want to know whether your product will boost their team's productivity or not. And, if yes, by how much? How easy will it be to adopt your solution and teach employees?

The financial department will want to see the economic benefits, while the executive team will focus on how exactly your solution will benefit their higher-level goals.

An IT specialist will definitely ask about the costs of supporting your system. How reliable and secure is it?

And this isn't particularly easy to keep track of all the then, but necessary. So it might even turn out that you'll have to create multiple personas for each decision-maker.


b2b buyer persona template
B2B buyer persona template created using UXPressia Persona Creator

As you can see, knowing the difference between buyer and user personas is crucial for many reasons. And identifying goals, expectations, as well as motivations and pain points, may give you quite a few insights regarding what features you should focus on.

Key points:

  • Buyer personas aren't necessarily users, but they can be.
  • User personas focus on details such as ease of use.
  • Buyer personas are more interested in higher-level goals.
  • Keep in mind that a buyer persona may be a team of decision-makers with different goals and expectations.
  • Find out how big of an influence user personas have on the final decision.
  • Do not forget to focus on skills and previous experience when creating user personas.

Managing hoards of personas can be very frustrating, so you might want to check out the UXPressia persona creation tool - it's an online solution for creating, storing, managing, sharing and exporting user and buyer personas. It is easy to use and it has a forever free plan. Better yet, start with this free B2B Persona template:

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2 years ago

So if the buyer persona and the user are not the same, like when you’re getting a computer for your mom. Does that mean their customer journeys won’t have anything in common since where one ends, the other begins?

Sofia Grigoreva
Sofia Grigoreva
2 years ago
Reply to  Ollie

Great question, Ollie! You guessed right that these journeys likely won’t be end-to-end ones. For example, the user (mom) won’t be going through awareness, research, and purchase stages. She joins in later on for the delivery and use. However, if she isn’t too tech-savvy, she might have trouble with filing a support claim. And her son, the buyer, will take over for the complaint stage.

Their experiences and goals are different. But their stages can overlap, and so can the sections you use to describe their experience. To keep up with these nuances, you can actually visualize both of their journeys on the same map. We have more information on how to do that in this post: https://uxpressia.com/blog/multiple-persona-journeys