Why Should You Define Your ICP?

Are you tasked with

  1. Generating high-quality leads
  2. Meet MQL and Pipeline targets
  3. Operate within pre-defined LTV, CAC, and Churn metrics
  4. Get more customer testimonials and referrals
  5. Increase share of voice

If the answer is yes, please read on this article on my perspective on Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and why it is business imperative to get this right.

The primary role of the Product Marketer is to establish a strong value proposition for the company and the product. Customers only know what you tell them and how you tell them. If your messaging is confused and not focused on your ideal customer profile, you aren’t going to see results.

An Ideal Customer Profile represents your targetted customer that would gain the most value from your offering and is also willing to pay for it.

Two main narratives resonate with customers are:

  1. How does it help make money for the business
  2. How does it help save money for the business

All other tales about efficiency, compliance, productivity, Quality, Reliability, etc. should ultimately cling to one of the two narratives to associate tangible value to the product and outcome.

ICPs are not only crucial for the acquisition phase but also add significant value over time as buyers can offer testimonials, referrals, and agree to join your advisory boards. So this exercise is essential and shouldn’t be just about downloading a random “fill-in-the-blanks” template and pretty it up for your stakeholders. I have had the opportunity to create messaging for products in my current and previous roles at large enterprises and startups.

At every opportunity, ICP has been about asking the right questions to stakeholders and then framing the critical pillars of value. The process across these great companies was quite similar in terms of how you go about identifying the ICP and crafting messaging.

It all starts with asking the questions and writing down the answers to these basic questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • How big is the problem?
  • What is the offered solution?
  • Who needs the product?
  • Do the primary users of the product have the authority to buy?
  • If the user and decision-maker are different, What is the motivation for decision-makers to buy this product?
  • What do the user and decision-makers think about the problem and solution in this space?
  • How do they gather information today?
  • What are the obstacles to getting in front of the customers?
  • Are there any dependencies on the solution offered?
  • How is the competitive landscape?

It would be best if you write down answers to understand the buyer context. The positioning statement should answer how the product shall be perceived in the marketplace by ICP. The value proposition should offer the key benefits to the ICP.

Then you have some of the essential variables which vary based on the product and value for the customer’s business. Also, these variables are an easy setup to A/B test or quickly tighten them up or relax them based on how big the funnel you need. So use it in the context of your product hypothesis and calibrate it as needed until you get the desired results on LTV, CAC, and Churn.

  • Size of the company in $ and Employees
  • Title/Role of the person
  • Geographic
  • Industry etc.

Once you have the hypothesis ready, you should start looking into the data to validate the hypothesis. Some of the data could be as simple as your historical data from Salesforce, HubSpot, or any other CRM, website traffic, and surveys. If neither of these provides a proper validation, consider a customer advisory, analyst advisory, or customer interviews. It is essential to validate before you start pouring your marketing dollars to create a ton of content and invest in the demand generation funnel.

Are you ready to create your ICP? Please share your thoughts and comments.