What is an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)? | How to Build One Using Market Research

One of the growing trends in the marketing space is the creation of an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA). An ICA is a persona or description of your perfect client or customer: what they like, how they behave, loyalty to your brand, and how they conduct business with you.

The concept is nothing new. An ICA is another version of what market research companies have been building on behalf of brands for years. ICAs of the past often go by names like personas, segmentation, and other forms of labeling different or best customers.

When it comes to building an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA), it is essential to use a foundation of market research.

Our systematic approach to building an ICA includes both qualitative and quantitative market research. Also, more critically, it is essential to develop ICAs using feedback from both internal and external audiences.

Internal Audiences

Internal audiences include a mixture of key personnel at your organization. This might include C-level positions such as CEO, COO, CMO, etc.

Other levels of stakeholders and departments include marketing, customer service, operations, etc. It is vital to get a healthy blend of feedback across departments, all of which have exposure or an impact on the customer experience (CX). This blend of feedback offers a full perspective on the ICA from an internal perspective.

External Audiences

Equally important is the external perspective. How your team views an ICA does not matter if the ICA does not align with your customers’ perspective.

If your internal stakeholders believe your customers are loyal due to the high-quality and customer service offered with your product, but your customers state they are loyal because of the quick-turnaround and shipping time, there is a clear misalignment with your ICA.

What is an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)? | How to Build One Using Market Research


Step 1: Internal Qualitative Interviews 

The internal perspective on your ICA is developed through in-depth interviews (IDIs).

These interviews are pre-scheduled and completed with our third-party market research company over the phone or through a video chat. Using a third-party moderator ensures the feedback is entirely objective and unbiased.

Our market research company works with the project contact to develop a list of stakeholders to include in the market research. For larger organizations, this may consist of a list of up to 10 to 12 key individuals.

After the fieldwork is completed, Drive Research summarizes the feedback and details the insights and characteristics which outline your ICA.

Here are the steps involved with the internal stakeholder interviews:

  • Kickoff meeting to review objectives
  • Workplan with key dates and deliverables
  • Building a list of internal contacts
  • Reaching out to the contacts via email
  • Scheduling the interviews and sending calendar invites
  • Holding the interviews with our moderators
  • Sending thank you messages to the interviewees
  • Summarizing the internal review of ICA profiles

Step 2: External Customer Survey

While the internal interviews are being conducted, the Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) market research company can also simultaneously set up a customer survey. The customer survey is typically completed online (via email) and takes about 7 to 10 minutes to complete.

Our team works with the project contact to develop a list of customers in a database for the invites. We draft a survey in a Word document with key questions to provide characteristics and traits of the ICA.

Once fieldwork is completed, our team of analysts reviews the data, and we develop a full report. The report includes charts and graphs and a comprehensive profile of what drives the ICA.

Our team looks at specific satisfaction and loyalty key performance indicators (KPIs). Most importantly, those who are highly satisfied with the brand are singled out.

Drivers to satisfaction and loyalty help our ICA company understand behaviors, patterns, and trends that identify an ideal customer.

Here are the steps involved with the external customer survey:

  • Pulling a list of internal customer contacts
  • Drafting the customer survey in a Word document
  • Sign-off on the survey script from the client
  • Programming the survey
  • Testing the survey
  • Soft-launch of the survey
  • Full-launch of the invites and reminders
  • Closing fieldwork for data audits
  • Analysis of the customer survey data
  • A full report of the customer survey findings related to the ICA

Step 3: Align Both Internal and External Steps

Now, the market research company blends the two components for the Ideal Client Avatar (ICA). The recommended ICA for your product, service, brand, or organization outlines a full and comprehensive profile.

Here are some examples of components which define an Ideal Client Avatar (ICA):

  • Demographics:
    • Age
    • Household income
    • Region or ZIP Code
    • Marital status
    • Child(ren) in household
    • Education
    • Other categorizations
  • Sentiment:
    • Overall satisfaction and loyalty
    • Drivers to satisfaction and loyalty
    • Word associations of the brand
    • Perceptions of the brand
    • Views on competition
  • Behaviors:
    • Types of products purchased
    • Quantity of products purchased
    • Method of product purchase
    • Time spent with product or service
    • Advertising channels used
    • Interest in other additional products
    • Budget for product or services

Contact Our Market Research Company

Do you need help building your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)? Drive Research is a full-service market research company and consultant who can assist your organization.

Our team of experts uses surveys and custom market research to collect information from both your internal stakeholders and clients to build a 360 degree perspective of the ICA for your organization.

Want to learn more about our ICA process? Need a quote, estimate, proposal? Contact us.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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