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Customer vs. Consumer

Customer vs. Consumer

Do you have customers AND consumers? What’s the difference? Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything. Customers are the people who purchase your product or service. Consumers are the end users who use or “consume” your product. Knowing if you have a customer that is different than your consumer will save you a lot of time and energy when creating your marketing strategy.

A good example of a market that has customers and consumers is the engagement ring market. Who is their primary customer? Adult men. Who is their primary consumer? Adult women. Men are the purchasers - the customers. Women are the consumers - the ones who use the product. Jewelry stores must cater to both groups in very different ways because each have specific things that are important to them. Men want a good price, financing options, an easy transaction and a return policy in the event she says no. Women want a beautiful ring, the best quality and long term care of the ring from the jeweler. That’s why most engagement ring television commercials will show you a big, beautiful, shiny ring while talking about finance options, they must address both their customer and consumer.

Children’s toys are another example. Most children’s products will need to please two markets: children and parents. Parents purchase toys for kids who use/play with them. Kids want their toys to be fun while parents want toys to be safe and educational. These two groups are very different and each will require their own special messaging.

Once you find out if you indeed have customers who are different from your consumers, creating a customer profile for each should be a priority. You will need to find out what is most important to each group in order to craft the most effective marketing message.