Baaqir Yusuf

Developing an ideal customer profile

October 26, 2023

Developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) involves identifying the characteristics of your best potential customers, so you can focus your marketing and sales efforts more effectively. Here are the steps to develop an ICP, with examples for each section based on Suora’s customer research.

1. Data Collection:

Existing Customers Analysis: Evaluate your current customer base

Market Research: Analyze market trends, competitors’ customers, and overall industry insight.

Key clients of ours that we dove into to develop our ideal customer profile included ExecOnline, Duke CE, and BAEM Leadership. These are all companies of varying sizes, but offer custom and off-the shelf executive education products and services.

We discovered that key firmographics included the following: 

  • 5-10MM+ revenues, 
  • 1-500 employees
  • Located in major cities and regions

2. Segmentation:

Demographic Segmentation: Identify the basic demographics of your ideal customers such as age, gender, location, income, etc.

Psychographic Segmentation: Understand their interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, and lifestyles.

Jane Doe / John Doe

  • Education: Well-educated, mid 30s to late 50s, generally have a bachelor's degree and an additional professional degree (Masters, MBA, PhD) in business, education or english
  • Regions: Often live in big cities, or are connected to larger corporations within bigger cities – New York, San Francisco, Seattle, D.C., Raleigh, Charlotte
  • Interests: Enjoy travel, luxury goods, can be “edgy”, are interested in thought leadership, have adventurous hobbies outside of work

3. Pain Points and Needs:

Identify the common challenges, pain points, and needs your ideal customers are trying to address.

  • Our ideal customers are looking to add strong video resources to their organization with as little to no friction as possible. They want to integrate an existing process that is proven to work at efficient scale, and has built-in flexibility with regards to the creation and implementation of production needs and motion graphic needs.

4. Behavior Analysis:

Analyze their behavior patterns including purchasing behavior, brand loyalty, and product usage as it relates to the context of your business.

  • We understand our ideal customers are looking to establish long-term relationships with their partners. Getting our “foot in the door” is the hardest step, but once we’ve established some sort of trust, the relationship grows rather organically due to the client’s reluctance to deviate from trusted partners + what is proven to work well.

5. Decision Makers:

Identify who makes the buying decisions. It can be individuals, influencers, or a group of decision-makers.

  • Work Experience: More than 10 yrs across 2 or more firms; leadership position in strategy, communications, operations
  • Titles: VP of Instructional Design, Learning Designer, Executive Coach, Chief Learning Officer, Director of Corporate Training, Entrepreneur

6. Formulating the ICP:

Synthesize Information: Combine all the information you gather to create a comprehensive profile.

Create Personas: Develop detailed customer personas that represent your ideal customers.

John Doe, Sr. VP of Instructional Design @ Learning Design Company

  • Education: B.A. English, X College, M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D., Liguistics, Y University
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests: Film, philosophy, local government impact
  • Age: 45 years old

Jane Doe, Senior Manager, Leadership Development @ Tech Company

  • Education: BA, X College, MBA, UC Cal, San Diego
  • Location: San Diego County, California
  • Interests: Thought leadership, volunteering, data science, traveling, going to the beach
  • Age: Early 40s

7. Validation:

Test the ICP: Apply the ICP to real-world scenarios to see if it aligns with actual customers.

Refine: Adjust the ICP as necessary based on real-world data and feedback.

S/o to Lesley Curtis, owner of Sagely! We met through a “cold” connection, but have since developed an amazing relationship where we share ideas, feedback, and progress on everything we do!

8. Implementation:

Targeted Marketing: Tailor your marketing strategies to align with the ICP for better engagement and eventually conversion.

Sales Alignment: Ensure your sales team understands the ICP at a deep level to maximize the effectiveness of your approach.

9. Review and Update:

Periodic Review: Regularly review and update the ICP to ensure it remains relevant.

Adapt to Changes: Adapt your ICP as needed to changes in market trends, customer behaviors, and business goals.

10. Tools and Technologies:

Utilize Tools: Use analytics tools and CRM systems to analyze your customer data and refine the ICP.

Technology Integration: Integrate technologies to streamline the process of identifying and targeting ideal customers.

11. Training and Communication:

Internal Communication: Ensure that every team member understands the ICP.

Training: Train the team to implement strategies aligned with targeting the ideal customers.

12. Measurement and Analysis:

KPIs: Set key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of targeting the ICP.

Analytics: Regularly analyze data to gain insights and make informed decisions.

Developing an ideal customer profile is a dynamic process that requires ongoing refinement to align with market changes and business evolution. Regular updates and adaptations are essential to ensure that the ICP continues to guide businesses towards their most valuable customers effectively.

Check out a featured project case study below.

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