Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) delineate the specific type of person you’d like to target with your funeral home. The key word here is ideal. While you undoubtedly have an existing base of clients, an ICP refers to the specific type of person you wish to reach through your marketing efforts. 

In the funeral profession, your audience is most likely limited to locals; however, within this group, you’ll still want to carve out a niche of families. This is where an ICP will be central to both your outreach and greater business strategy. 

In the death care industry, age, ethnicity, religion, occupation, and wealth level will all play a role in planning your ICP. By understanding which people to target and developing a plan to effectively reach them, you can put your funeral home on the path to success.


Benefits of Having an ICP

On some level, we’re all familiar with how different people require different means of communication. For example, you probably talk very differently to your friends than you would with your 75-year-old mother. Consciously or not, your tone, diction, and even the content of your words will shift, depending on the listener. 

A similar concept applies to your outreach strategy. By taking the time to conceive an ICP, you can create communication and branding strategies that reach the right people. If you approach marketing from a general place––that is, trying to reach as many people as possible––you’ll likely not have the same impact as crafting a campaign that speaks to a very specific audience.


ICP vs Buyer Persona

While both buyer personas and ICPs refer to the types of people you wish to serve with your funeral home, buyer personas pertain more to improving the client experience. With an ICP, the primary goal is to provide a basis for marketing efforts. 

For example, a buyer persona for your funeral home might include the age, faith, and challenges faced by a client. This information will be used to figure out how your funeral home can help this specific type of person. An ICP, however, provides a more broad conception of who you wish to reach, one that considers geography, budget, and need.


Funeral Business ICP vs. Buyer Persona

Ideal Customer Profile Buyer Persona #1 Buyer Persona #2
  • Budget of $7,500 or greater
  • Resident of Clark County
  • Needs arrangements in one week or less
  • Linda (age 55)
  • Needs to arrange a funeral for her parent
  • Wants a traditional Catholic burial
  • Jorge (age 75)
  • Wishes to arrange a cremation for his partner
  • Is interested in alternative memorials
  • Speaks Spanish


Do You Need Both?

Inherently linked, buyer personas and ICPs can work together to improve both your operations and outreach strategies. Nested within your ICP, you’ll likely find several different buyer personas that have unique needs and challenges.


Creating an ICP

Different funeral homes require different ICPs. As such, you’ll want to take the time to collaborate with your team and develop an ideal customer profile that works for your funeral home. 

During this process, you’ll want to ask the following questions:


Who are your best clients?

Of your current families, you’ll want to figure out which of them provides the greatest value, has demonstrated loyalty, or converts quickly. This process may take some research.

The “best” clients aren’t necessarily the ones who’ve booked the most expensive services. Perhaps families who prefer cremation––a growing population––offer you a better return on your investment. 

Consider how these groups might fluctuate in the coming years. In the case of cremations, it appears as though the popularity of these services will continue to grow in popularity making those that use those services someone you may want to include as an ICP.


Which attributes do they share?

Among your families, consider which attributes they share. This could include budgets, locations, religions, and preferences for specific services. As you gather data on these attributes, both internal and external, you’ll gain a better understanding of the preferences of your families and how your funeral home might begin to address these.


What challenges do they face?

Create an exhaustive list of each group’s potential challenges (and opportunities). From this, you’ll notice patterns that will carry through to your ICP. For example, if price creates a barrier for many of your families, then you might consider developing a strategy that appeals to those with limited budgets.


Write it down.

Once you’ve contemplated all there is to know about your ideal families, you can create a document that clearly outlines each of your ICPs. Ideally, you’ll create a visual that can clearly communicate the ICPs to your entire team.


Guidance to the Right ICP

When developing an ICP, it’s essential to take the proper time to perform your due diligence. If you target the wrong ICP, you might attract families that don’t give you the optimal returns or––even worse––attract no one at all. To ensure that your marketing efforts are rooted in a well-researched ICP, it’s best to call in some outside help.

At Johnson Consulting Group, our team of funeral professionals has years of experience owning, operating, and marketing funeral businesses of any size. Our consultants can examine your current operations, perform research on potential clients, and create an ICP with an accompanying marketing plan. 

While a paid ad on Google can certainly attract thousands of eyeballs, an effective outreach strategy will also reach the people who need the services of your funeral home the most. With the help of the JCG team, you can ensure your marketing efforts reach the right families.