How To Create Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) with the Help of AI
Bringing a product or service to market is a huge milestone for any business. Whether you’re a brand new company, or expanding into a new sector, identifying your ideal customers and their needs is a vital step towards success.
Who are your customers? What do they want? What other products are they buying? And what might attract them to your product in particular? These are important questions that can make all the difference when it comes to new and repeat sales.
And, the great news? AI tools can make creating your ideal customer profiles quicker, easier, and more on point, so you can focus on delivering an awesome product.
As the first employee of a successful startup, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to identify the right target customers. Creating a customer profile is one way to pin down the kind of person who might buy from you. In turn, this can help your marketing teams, designers, and sales representatives know who to focus on, making their work even more effective.
Making this crucial step more efficient can really boost your business. But, if the world of AI seems bewildering, I’m here to break down how you can use this exciting technology.
The importance of identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP)
So, why should you spend time identifying your ideal customer?
Understanding needs. Crafting customer personas can help you understand your target audience better, with insights into their needs, desires, and pain points. These insights can in turn impact the product or service you are offering, from concept to delivery and beyond.
Understanding characteristics. A customer profile should set out who your buyers are, or could be, with information about their age, gender, habits, behaviors, and needs. You can also draw out more psychological details about fears, wants, or motivations. This information can guide your product development process, helping you meet your ideal customer’s specific requirements and solve their problems. This makes you much more likely to be able to sell to them — and foster customer loyalty.
Understanding future needs. You can also use the customer profile to predict what your customers might need in the future. This can define the forward path for your product and your company. For example, if you identify that many of your customers are purchasing their first home, it’s possible that the next phase of their life will include a wedding or a baby. These life milestones come with their own sets of needs, obstacles, and potential solutions. Meeting the future needs of a particular segment can powerfully direct your strategy.
Having a competitive edge. Ultimately, understanding customer personas can give you a competitive edge. By deeply understanding and anticipating your customers’ specific needs, you can differentiate your product and marketing strategies. This can help you stand out, even in a crowded marketplace.
How to define your ICP with help from AI
The AI revolution is bringing a host of exciting tools that can supercharge your business processes. Creating customer profiles is no exception. Getting started takes just a few simple steps.
1st AI tool: Gong.io - for analyzing your ICP
Gong is a revenue intelligence platform, that lets you analyze sales calls and learn about your ICP from those calls.
You can discover commonalities, unlock hidden needs, and use Gong's AI to discover patterns inside the transcripts of your sales calls.
It's a very powerful tool, and our team use it to get insights both for our sales team and our marketing team.
2nd AI tool: Reachout.ai - for communicating with your ICP
Reachout allows you to deliver personalized videos that include your ICP's information, thus increasing the likelihood they will communicate back.
3rd AI tool: Wordtune - for phrasing your content in a way that speaks to your ICP
Wordtune is an AI writing tool that let's you change any sentence, paragraph or text to make it fit your ICP.
In the example above, you see how we divert the work of rephrasing our copy to AI. The result we received was: "Make essential educational decisions guided by a deep understanding of conversations with students to help them achieve better grades."
Wordtune takes a lot of the grunt work when adapting your messaging to different ICPs.
Other tools for improving the understanding of your ICP
If you want to understand your existing business better and create profiles that reflect your current customers, you’ll need an AI program that can synthesize large amounts of data. Software like Google Analytics and IBM Watson can analyze data like web traffic and user behavior, and now incorporate AI insights.
Popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho have also introduced AI tools to predict customer behavior and make powerful forecasts. These large-scale tools can help you process lots of information about your existing customers or leads.
For example, AI tools can automatically categorize email conversations when indexed by the CRM. They can also can highlight the sales leads with the most potential, as well as important information from the marketplace — such as competitor announcements — by synthesizing thousands of relevant articles.
It’s also worth considering tools that can summarize and condense texts, like Wordtune. Wordtune’s Read tool can quickly transform long articles, web pages, or emails into snippets that contain the most important points. This is particularly useful when you want to create a concise customer description from a range of different sources. AI tools will help you select the most relevant ideas to include in the final profile.
Leveraging data to train your AI model
Whichever AI tool you choose, you’ll need some data to produce the insights you need to drive your customer profiles. This data might be generic — such as surveys or market research on a population level, whether that’s national or in your specific area of operations — or drawn from your existing customer base.
The data you collect might include:
- Demographic data: Understanding the age, location, income level, education level, and gender of your current or prospective buyers can help you create customer segments. Segments define types of customers in a broad sense, such as by their age, gender, or professional background.
- Behavioral data: If you already have customers interacting with your business, you should have data about how they do so. This might include website browsing behavior, purchase history, frequency of interactions, preferences, and product usage patterns.
- Customer feedback: If your organization collects feedback through surveys, interviews, or reviews, this can provide a wealth of data.
If you don’t have much or any data from existing customers yet, you may need to source external information from market research or public databases.
With this data on your side, AI tools can both help you analyze what you’ve collected, and craft the results into a useful customer profile.
Gathering data and insights from customer interactions
As customers interact with your business, it’s important to record what happens — and draw insights. AI can make this complex process much easier.
For example, if you have a customer service call center, or conduct sales calls, you can use AI tools like Otter to produce transcripts of live conversations. Wordtune’s Read function can then summarize those transcripts to give you the most important points, condensed. You could also summarize and condense customer emails (such as enquiries to customer service) in a similar way.
Other customer interactions you can mine for insights are website usage, conversion rates from sales interactions, and buying behaviors. Loading this information into an AI tool can help it identify areas of success and make predictions about what particular customer segments might do.
Analyzing and segmenting your customer base
As you collect and analyze data from your customer interactions, or external sources, you should be able to identify segments. A segment is a group of customers who share common attributes, e.g. age, gender, or location.
AI tools can help you quickly categorize the data you’ve gathered to make it easier to group your customers, and the information you have about them, into segments.
How the customers (or prospective customers) in each segment behave should inform your ideal customer personas. Use the information you have gathered to create a description of the customer you particularly want to target.
Refining your ideal customer profile with AI
Once you have some information about customer behaviors, an AI writing tool can help with the task of creating your ideal customer profile(s).
When you add a few bullet points into a tool like Wordtune, you can quickly flesh out the description to provide a full persona. Or, you could build an ideal customer profile template which an AI writing tool can populate. You can do this by setting out the fields you want (name, age, location, career history, current needs) and asking the AI tool to use your data set to fill these in.
You want your customer profile to describe your target persona — what they do for a living, where they live, what they’re buying (from your company, from competitors, or more generally), and anything else that might help you reach them. You can even give this fake persona a name.
For example, let’s say you have created an app for new parents to track their baby’s progress. One ideal customer profile might look like:
There’s a lot more detail you could add based on your research and data collection, but you can see how this profile might start to shape how you reach out to potential customers for the app, as well as suggesting aspects of design, content, and what’s important to your customer base.
An AI writing tool can make this process a lot simpler by generating the customer description for you, which you can then check and refine with your team.
Using your ideal customer profile to drive business decisions
Your ideal customer profile is then ready to use. These profiles can be helpful at all stages of your business’s growth and development.
Initially, the buyer personas will likely determine the early phases of your sales cycle. For example, what kind of messages will they be receptive to? Which platforms are they using to even see these messages in the first place (email, social media, etc.)? A successful sales strategy will leverage the customer profile to target them effectively.
With targeted marketing efforts, you should be able to build your customer base. As you do so, you will hopefully gather more evidence and data that deliver continuous customer insights. AI tools can help summarize learnings to share with your team members. In this way, your customers’ behavior can help determine where your business goes next.
For example, if customers are repeatedly coming up against a particular problem, you might need to adjust your service to help them. Or, if customer engagement is low, you might need to pivot your communications to reach them more effectively.
Eventually, your customer personas may spark ideas about new products or services that you could provide to further meet your customers’ needs. AI tools may even be able to suggest additions to your business, such as new products or services, given the information you have gathered about your potential customers.
Embracing the power of AI to enhance your marketing strategy
AI tools can also boost your marketing strategy by taking your messaging to the next level.
Your customer persona may help you determine the tone and content that will hit the mark. For example, an older, wealthier buyer segment may appreciate a more serious tone. On the other hand, a younger demographic may respond to a more informal, fun message.
An AI writing tool can help you rewrite your text to capture a certain spirit. Wordtune, for example, can easily suggest synonyms or even insert jokes into your writing. It can also transform your tone of voice at the click of a button, so you can see if a formal or casual style might be more effective.
AI can also make it quick and easy to double-check the grammar and spelling of any posts before they go out. Getting a steady stream of high quality messages out there can really drive your business forward — especially if these messages are specially crafted to meet your ideal customer’s needs.
Ethical considerations and best practices
When using customer data, it’s important to consider data privacy. Make sure you comply with relevant data protection laws and regulations in your region. Customers should also have the option to remove their data from your systems so it is not used for profiling.
You should also handle customer data securely to prevent unauthorized access or breaches.
It’s also important to recognize that customer profiles can draw on and give rise to biases that can be harmful or misleading. It’s important to double-check what data is being used to train the AI, and whether the software includes bias mitigation.
The benefits of customer profiling are clear. It helps you to understand who is buying (or might buy) your product, what they need, and how to target them. It can also help you build a positive relationship with buyers to convert them into loyal customers who continue to engage with your business.
AI tools are there to help you build data-driven, well-developed ideal customer profiles. By using information from your existing customer interactions or wider market research, you can create buyer personas that truly reflect what people need. This will bring your business closer to making a real impact.
AI tools can also support you in crafting carefully-tuned, powerful marketing messages that really hit the spot for your ideal customers.
Using AI to create and refine your ideal customer profiles is definitely worth a try.
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.