11 Different Perspectives for Buyer Personas and ICPs

Knowing your customers is how you reach them. Businesses worldwide focus their marketing on reaching the right audience segments, and to do that, you must have a deep understanding of your ideal customer and their buying process. Understanding what they value, the marketing channels that appeal to them, their unique buying psychologies, and other significant factors that impact their spending habits will allow you to target them better. One way a company can do that is through buyer personas and Ideal Customer Profiles, or ICPs.

A buyer persona and an ICP are two different marketing tools that a marketing or sales team can generate that give important insight into the behavioral traits of a target audience. They reveal important details about the buying behavior of that segment, allowing sales and marketing teams to create relevant content that will generate leads and conversions.

There are differences between the two, even if they both function to generate information on consumers to better target customers. An ICP typically works best for B2B companies, as it focuses on what qualities make an organization a match for a product. It factors in the industry, company sizes, budget, location, and more. It is typically more quantitative and focused on finding the right company fit.

A buyer persona is different in that it focuses on the individual decision-maker. It focuses on qualitative, more hypothetical details about that person, such as their personality traits, buyer objections, and business objectives. These are useful for both B2B and B2C companies.

There are a huge number of marketers that utilize buyer personas and ICPs, each with unique and impactful insights that can help businesses refine their strategies. Frictionless has connected with marketing leaders across industries, who provided different perspectives to help brands improve their sales process. Here are 11 different perspectives from marketing professionals for buyer personas and ICPs that can greatly impact your content strategy, sales outreach, and more.

1. Let Real-World Insights Guide Your Persona Creation

We review our existing customer data to find trends across age, sex/gender, location, and job titles within those industries as a base for our personas. If possible, with help from our sales team, we will talk to those existing customers to learn more about the customer journeys they took when selecting our business to further color our personas. We’ll do additional online research on the job titles of the personas to learn more about where and how they consume media and do some competitor research to see how they may be speaking to similar personas. In previous jobs, I’ve also worked with companies that purchased data from companies like Forrestor if their own research did not provide enough detail.  –Julie Woon, Marketing Manager, Codal.

2. Pain Points are a Critical Aspect to Focus On

When conducting your research on the buyer’s persona, ensure you include the following key points: age, education, income, professional background, location, if they are a  decision-maker, their title, and industry. For example, we focused on real estate agents first because our CEO is also a real estate agent. Being one allowed us to understand them and identify pain points such as not being able to focus on what’s important and being stuck into non-revenue generating tasks. This is where your campaign objectives come in when targeting these people. Addressing common pain points will surely grab their attention and will generate leads for your company. –Sera Churn, Marketing Director, Virtudesk.

3. Focus on Bigger Picture Rather Than Shallower Metrics

Too many companies create and justify big-budget campaigns with minimal ROI based on touchpoints, impressions, and other “attention” based metrics.  However, customer personas and ICP enable our clients to develop focused campaigns for a fraction of the price but exponentially higher ROIs. Personas and ICPs provide a roadmap to identifying insightful dreams and fears of customers to create copy that speaks directly to them. –Chris Mancik, Founder and Chief Strategist, Mil-Speak Marketing.

4. Use ICPs to Determine Product Decisions

In creating your Ideal Customer Profiles, start with market research. Do primary research by examining your best customers. Conduct secondary research by looking up studies and trends of your niche. Determine the pain points of your ICPs and use them to develop better products and services to cater to them. Use your ICP to determine how to run your business, from product development to promotion. – Jenny Mae, Content and Business Development Manager, DataHyv.

5. Previous Customers are an Important Resource to Mine

In order to keep up with your customer trends, you can provide surveys for your customers and even one-on-one conversations with top customers in order to get valuable feedback. Whatever praises or concerns they may have, you can incorporate this information into your customer personas going forward. With any new insights and discoveries in terms of customer characteristics and feedback, you can keep modifying your customer persona. Even as a seasoned marketer, you should still keep paying attention to new customer and market trends while adjusting your customer persona accordingly as you go. –Amber Theurer, Chief Marketing Officer, ivee.

6. ICPs Should drive social Media Advertising

Having concrete Ideal Customer Profiles is essential when doing any type of marketing – but especially important when leveraging paid social media advertising. Knowing the primary and secondary traits about your perfect consumer will allow you to tailor your ad content to them directly – as well as giving you the ability to serve them ads based on their secondary interests. One of the simplest ways to identify these personas is by listening to your client’s sales calls with prospects in order to hear first-hand who they are and what matters to them. –Lee Dussinger, Lead Marketing Strategist, WebTeck.

7. Be Willing to Alter Your Personas Situationally

If you want to be a real pro, design a buyer persona for each of your services, as they might be slightly different. For instance, a client that hires us for a local SEO project will be greatly different from someone hiring us to do SEO for their e-commerce (nationwide) business. Respite the process at least once per year, as customers or buying behavior can change. Or even the way you work can change. –Miguel González, Digital Marketing Executive, Dealer’s League.

8. Go In-Depth for Deeper Insights

Go beyond the conventional demographic factors when creating personas and ICPs. While basic criteria like age, gender, and location play a paramount role in audience targeting, these alone cannot create highly effective ad sets. Remember, thousands of other businesses operate in the same niche as you or your client, so you have to stand out. I suggest going in-depth to understand the underlying needs of your supposed target market—zero in on the driving factors behind the buying process. Assess the psychological factors, such as learning, perception, motivation, and morality by identifying the resources your prospects refer to for decision making. –Devin Schumacher, Founder, SERP.

9. Buyer Personas and ICPs Should Be Used Differently

Use Personas to help craft your messaging and inform team members and stakeholders of the motivations behind the customers. The Ideal Customer Profile goes a bit deeper, looking more closely at things based on demographics, psychographics, mindset, and needs. Use Ideal Customer Profiles to target marketing campaigns to customers, find a new prospect and understand the value of each different type of customer. –Brogan Renshaw, Director, Firewire Digital.

10. Consider It a Marketing Art Form

This is one of the crucial and important tasks that every marketer should know about. Many marketers are not able to define their ideal customers and hence fail to target their product or services to the right audience. Defining a persona or ICP is an art. You must have experience in finding the intent of the users, what they like, what they dislike, what their interests are, how they are engaging with users, what topics they are searching for on the internet, and more. –Jaimin Dave, Marketing Specialist, attri.

11. Use Personas to Make Your Business More Customer Oriented

A buyer persona can be defined as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on the research and data collected. Their purpose is to help you focus your time on prospects that are qualified, guide product development to suit the needs of the target customers, and, most importantly, align efforts across your organization from sales to after services. If this is done properly, your business will be able to attract high-value customers that will be retained with you over time. Buyer personas help your business to understand your customers better and make it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, targeting, and services to meet the specific needs, behavior, and concerns of your audience in the best way possible. –Saad Qureshi, Digital Marketing Specialist, Ivacy.

So much of marketing is trying to understand the people to whom you are selling. Finding common traits, shared experiences and pain points, as well as typical buying habits, will help you tailor your marketing and product development to the right customer base. Buyer personas and Ideal Customer Profiles are the strategy development methods that provide a framework for this process. Utilizing personas and ICPs can improve the buyer journey and help you refine your business model, making it as customer-centered as possible.

Taking insights from the business industry experts with top-level experience leveraging ICPs and personas into successful strategies will help you develop your own sales and content marketing plan. The 11 above experts are all successful marketers across B2B and B2C industries that have emphasized getting to the root of what drives their consumers and used that information to drive their decisions. The invaluable lessons and experience they offer should help your business along the way as you focus on creating your own strategy.

There are many different ways to craft and utilize personas and ICPs, but making sure you partner with the right team is an important step in the process.