Campaigns and concepts that are truly refreshing

Difference between a customer and a consumer

Often, people don’t realise the difference between a customer and a consumer. It’s actually pretty basic and simple.

A customer isn’t necessarily a consumer of your product and vice versa. A customer only purchases and pays for your product. Doesn’t mean that they use it. On the other hand, a consumer actually uses your product. Doesn’t necessarily mean that they purchased it. Only if the same person purchased a product and then used it, they would be a customer and a consumer.

An example of this would be toys. The real consumers are kids since they play with those toys. However, the customers are the parents who actually bought those toys. Just because the parents bought those toys doesn’t mean that they consumed them (or in this case played with them).

So, who are your marketing messages targeted to?


2 Responses to “Difference between a customer and a consumer”

  1. Sunny Gupta

    Another example that comes to mind is enterprise software. Usually the management decides on the software to be bought, for example SAP, ORACLE, etc. but the consumers are everyone in the organization using it on a day to day basis. In this case too, consumers have little say of the purchase decision.

    But, unlike the toys the software is serving the customer – the management – and its goals for lets say, cost cutting, better IT systems etc.

    The marketing message must address what its doing for the consumer, and also explain its impact on the customer – who ultimately is paying. for example, XYZ software cuts employee efforts by Xhours to increase your companies productivity by Z%. This way you address both parties interests.

    What do you think?

    • rishigarg

      Definitely agree Sunny! It’s important to keep both in mind (when they are different people) while creating your products and marketing campaigns.


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