Learn the importance of creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in marketing and how it can benefit your business. Discover the difference between ICP and buyer personas, and the four steps to create an ICP. Explore the use of AI tools in marketing and LiveAgent's features.
The video discusses the latest trends in digital marketing, including the importance of social media advertising, the rise of influencer marketing, and the impact of artificial intelligence on marketing strategies.
Imagine you’re playing a game of darts, but you can’t see where the dartboard
is. You throw the dart and it lands about five feet away from the target.
Hope you didn’t bet any money on your skills this time.
Now change up that game. Let’s say you CAN see the board clearly, and instead of a complete miss,
you land on the board…maybe right near the center if you’re especially coordinated.
Knowing where the dart is supposed to go makes hitting your target a lot easier.
The point of that example is to illustrate the importance of knowing where to aim your B2B
marketing. If you don’t know who your target audience is and where they spend time online,
you’ll waste money and energy trying to reach the wrong people and businesses.
That’s where an ideal customer profile, or ICP, comes in. Keep watching to learn what an ICP is
and how you can use one! What is an ICP?
Let’s start by defining what an ICP is. Again, the term stands for “ideal customer profile,”
and it refers to a group of traits that define the businesses you want to reach with your products
or services. It’s sort of an outline of what the ideal business client looks like for your company.
Establishing what your ICP looks like allows you to steer your marketing in the right direction to
reach your best prospects. ICP vs. buyer persona
You might be thinking, “Hang on, this sounds familiar. Aren’t we just talking about buyer
personas?” And, while the two do sound similar, the answer is no — buyer personas and ICPs are two
different things. But they are connected. When you create a buyer persona, you’re
creating a fleshed-out, fictional, individual person. While your clients are businesses,
your buyer personas focus on specific decision-makers at those businesses. So,
one buyer persona might be “Sally, a 54-year-old marketing manager who works at a medium-sized
consulting firm. She’s concerned with X, Y, and Z, and is responsible for A,B, and C strategies.”
But with an ICP, you’re not focused on creating a fictionalized character that represents specific
people at certain companies — you’re focused on the companies themselves. You’re looking
at qualities like industry, size, and location. Maybe even the actions people
from that business take on your website. Basically, ICPs help you figure out which
businesses are your ideal clients, so you can target those businesses with your marketing.
Buyer personas, meanwhile, help you figure out which people at those companies will
see your marketing, what they need most from your business, and how you can optimize your
marketing so that it’s persuasive to them. You may be wondering how ICP marketing can
benefit you. Maybe you’re thinking, “I already know which kinds of businesses to market to!” And
maybe that’s true. You probably do have a good idea of which sorts of companies buy from you.
But here’s the thing — the more specific that knowledge is, the better. It’s one thing to know
that you should market to, let’s say, small pest control businesses in Kansas. But an
ICP can help you outline even more detailed info. Maybe your ideal clients aren’t just from Kansas,
but from a specific set of counties in northern Kansas. And maybe they’re not
just small businesses, but they’re specifically companies that have between 20 and 90 employees.
And those are just two examples — even if you already know both of those things, there
are plenty of other details your ICP can reveal. The result is that you can much more effectively
target your ideal audience — because you have a much more precise idea of who that audience is.
All this talking about ICPs, and I still haven’t told you how to create one. Don’t worry,
though — that’s just what we’re getting to now. The process looks different for every business,
but there are four main steps you’ll want to follow when you develop an ICP.
1. Gather and analyze your customer data
Hopefully, you already have all this data in one place — bonus points if it’s super well-organized.
If not, though, there are several tools out there that can help.
Maybe the best tool to use for organizing your customer data is a CRM, or customer
relationship management tool. With a good CRM, like our partner company Nutshell’s software,
you can quickly and effectively import all your customer data, sync it up with your website data,
and get everything organized. Then you can sit down to analyze
that data for patterns to see what traits your clients have in common.
2. Check out your best customers With all your customer data in one place,
take the time to examine the characteristics of your clients. But not just any clients.
Look specifically at your best clients to get a feel for which traits they share.
There are different ways you could define your “best clients,” so it’s kind of up to
you which traits you prioritize. That said, it’s good to look at things like
how long they’ve been with your company and how much revenue you’ve earned from them,
even the revenue that they bring year over year. It’s also helpful to use metrics like customer
lifetime value, or CLV, to figure out which clients are the most valuable to your company.
However you do it, identify the clients you think are your best customers.
Once you’ve done that, figure out which traits they all share — the more specific, the better.
3. Build your ideal customer profile Now that you’ve examined your clients,
you have a pretty good idea of which features they all have in common.
You can use that knowledge to develop an ICP. Make an outline of a hypothetical business
using the traits you found in all your best clients. Factor in the sorts of
traits we mentioned earlier, like size, budget, industry, and location. When you’re finished,
you’ll have a complete ideal customer profile. 4. Apply your ICP to future prospects
That brings us to our final step, which is to begin your ICP marketing. How do you do that?
Well, you use your ICP to help you identify the best prospects to market to, and craft
your strategy with all of these details in mind. As you’re looking around at different businesses,
trying to figure out which ones would make the best customers, you don’t have to make a shot
in the dark. You can compare each company to your ICP. When you find one that closely matches it,
you know that the business is likely a good client, and you can start marketing to them.
If you use a lead scoring tool, or your current marketing software has lead scoring capabilities,
you can use this ICP information to automate your lead qualification process and identify
the best prospects without a ton of manual work. On a related note, there are lots of AI tools
out there that can apply ICP data to your campaigns to improve your targeting. They
can help you reach the right people, and they can also help you score your leads
based on which ones are the most valuable to you. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about
how to market yourself online, just subscribe to our YouTube channel or our email newsletter,
Revenue Weekly. And to learn more about playing darts… I don’t know, actually, I don’t
think we have more content about that. Sorry. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see ya next time!
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