How Customer Modality Affects Top Of Funnel Marketing Success

How Customer Modality Affects Top Of Funnel Marketing Success

If you’ve been involved with content marketing for a while, you’ve no doubt spent time constructing detailed customer personas and creating quality content that (hopefully) will appeal to each type. Relevant, personalized content is critical to drawing new leads into the funnel.

A key challenge for digital marketers is getting it right as far as what “relevant” means to their target buyers. No matter how well we detail our personas, we’re still painting broad brush-strokes across a group of people. But there is another consideration that can help narrow the focus of your content: the modality of your target buyers.

What Is Customer Modality?

The “Eisenburg Buyer Modalities” philosophy comes from the book “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark” by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg and Lisa Davis. Buyers are segmented into four fundamental personality types with logic vs. emotion as one dimension and fast vs. slow speed as the other.

Image via Unbounce

Image via Unbounce

Here’s a quick rundown of the characteristics of each modality:

  • Competitive: Value smart, quick, decisive actions that will give them a competitive advantage.
  • Spontaneous: Easily distracted, so they like simple solutions. Prone to impulse-buying and the thrill of the quick purchase.
  • Methodical: Very organized and process-oriented. Drawn to more efficient processes, but will analyze everything.
  • Humanistic: Value creativity and personality. Interested in the “human” side and real-life, not theoretical, examples.

How Do These Modalities Affect Top-Of-Funnel?

These customer modalities will usually exist within every type of persona marketers have put together for their top-of-funnel marketing efforts. There could be four different prospects, each at the same stage of the buyer journey and with similar goals for what your product can do for their business, but they will be attracted to different types of content depending on their modality.

Let’s look at how you could use inbound methods to cater to each modality:


What works: Think about how you can give them smart, actionable content that can be consumed quickly. These customers need to be able to recognize unique value as soon as they see it, preferably something that could give them a jump on competitors. Consider cheat sheets, quizzes or short videos that concisely explain an advantage.


What works: Simple content that doesn’t give customers too many options is the best bet. These customers respond to urgency and are attracted to emotive ideals, such as how something will improve their lifestyle immediately. They are more likely to connect with a well-constructed, brief paid advertisement or other easy to consume content (infographics, short videos or step-by-step guides that clearly define the next step). Highlight elements, such as guarantees, that appeal to their spontaneity.


What works: The methodical person wants detail, so your content needs to present them with considered facts. They are more likely to read the entirety of an e-book or whitepaper, so present logical arguments that are backed up with data. Remember: The methodical customer is likely to compare your product or service to competitors, so ensure that your unique value proposition is crystal clear.


What works: Personable, humanized content will hit home with these customers. They will enjoy content that appeals to their emotions and provides a human face they can relate to. Case studies, testimonials and behind-the-scenes views are effective content types.

Putting It All Together

These examples are another reason why smart digital marketers segment their list by prospect journey and what content they signed up for. Learn their preferred modality and serve them more content that speaks to their type.

Don’t overlook customer modality when developing relevant, targeted content. Think about the preferences of each modality and tailor different types of content to satisfy each. It’s another way of ensuring that your brand speaks the language of your customers and makes a connection that the company can build upon.

customer modality, Eisenburg Buyer Modalities, persona