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How to create your ideal customer profile

Your Ideal Customer Profile or your ICP is a description of the ideal customer your organization strives to acquire. Creating one is a much more detailed process than just identifying your target audience. It aims to dive deep into the emotional and behavioral side of that customer.

The exercise of creating an ICP helps you understand who, why, and how someone is buying your product. 

These semi-fictional characters are designed to supply you with an overall understanding of how your consumers think and feel about your brand. When you can put yourself in their shoes, you’ll be able to write better-targeted messaging. 

Customer Profiles are made from a mix of market research and real customer data. They act as one source of truth for your whole organization to work back from and become more customer-centered. 

So, you might be wondering, how do you go about creating one? 

It typically begins with research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. 

This admittedly can take time and cost money. Audience insights tools, however, can speed up the process and can act as a focus group for your target customer. 

Ideally, you want to collect or conceptualize the following list
  • of information: 
  • Profile Name (fictional representation of a real person, ie. Sustainable Sally)
  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Job Title 
  • Education Level
  • Relationship Status
  • Do they have children?
  • Annual Income 
  • Are they decision-makers (do they get the final say in buying your product)?
  • What motivates them / What are they passionate about?
  • Top interests (broad and niche) 
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are they reading online?
  • Which brands do they love?
  • Who are they most influenced by? 

Begin by identifying your top customers 

Concentrate on your best customers and compile a list who meet that criteria. This may include customers with the highest annual contract value, highest retention rate, largest shopper baskets, or highest LTV. Sometimes it will look like customers who are “power users” of your product (have frequent engagement), or ones who leave 5-star reviews or give high NPS scores - it differs depending on the type of business you are in. 

Interview your top customers

Interview customers from the list you just created. Hubspot offers a guide that lists questions you can ask in the interviews. They include questions like “what does your typical day at your job look like?” and “which goals are you responsible for?”.

Talk to your sales team

Book time with your Account Executives, they will have a very good idea of who your ICP looks like, so get them to describe it for you. They can also relay the feedback they get from talking to prospects. For example, they might hear that one prospect bought because they said your product was cheaper than all of the other alternatives. Details like these - motivations for buying - will help you build out your ICP further.

Interview prospective buyers

Finding prospects to interview is easier said than done, but you can begin by narrowing down a list of people on LinkedIn who match the job titles, skills, and company size of your ICP. Secondly, we recommend offering some type of incentive (like an Amazon gift card) in exchange for 30 minutes of their time. Cience offers a list of questions you can ask prospects like “describe a recent purchase and your decision-making process”. 

Now it’s time to take all of the information you’ve collected and create your ICP, one that can be used by the entire organization. 

Dig even deeper to finalize your ICP 

The above methods will help you get pretty far into creating your ICP, but you still might be missing things like their top interests, the articles they read, and the websites they visit. The easiest and fastest way to surface these insights is to use an audience intelligence tool

Affinio lets you dive into your ICP audience and surface true interest-based consumer habits. It helps you round out the research you’ve already done, to blend in social insights for a fuller picture.

In the example below, we’ve used Affinio to create an ICP called “Software Sam”:

Audiense blog - Ideal customer profile image

Our ICP template is available to download.

Below is a glimpse of the report we ran using Affinio to refine our “Software Sam” ICP. This report supplied interest data, demographics, and behavioral data:

Audiense blog - CIO & CTO titles

Audiense blog - CIO & CTO titles demographic data

Audiense blog - CIO & CTO titles links

Eager to build your brand's or client's ICP, sign up for a trial today!

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