Using Macro Personalties to Develop Customer Personas

How well do you know your customers? Can you relate to them? Do you understand their needs? As marketers, it is extremely difficult to persuade someone to take a specific action without knowing what motivates them. In order to predict behavior, you need to know what makes your customers tick. Enter persona marketing.

Persona marketing is when we develop fictitious representations of our ideal customer. Basically, we compile market research and real data to create fake customers that possess the attributes of our ideal customer. We look at demographics, personality types, behavior patterns, and more to help us develop a better understanding of our customers. Why? By better understanding our customers, we can create content that “speaks” to these individuals.

We need to know who the person is, what they value, and how best to speak to them. A great starting point is to identify your customer’s personality type. While there are thousands of different personality types out there, we can lump most people into four different personalities:

  • Competitive (15% of the population)
  • Humanistic (15% of the population)
  • Spontaneous (30% of the population)
  • Methodical (40% of the population)

As a matter of fact, an eye-tracking study conducted in 2007 by Jakob Nielsen confirmed that there are four different approaches to how people used the web: Search Dominant (Competitive), Navigation Dominant (Methodical), Tool Dominant (Spontaneous) and Successful (Methodical). By identifying and understanding your customer’s personality type, you can begin to build more robust personas and create content that resonates with them.


Competitive types are interested in being the best. They want to know why an idea is superior to everything else out there so they can have a competitive advantage. They are fast and logical and are looking for proof and validity. This personality type tends to be the hardest to sell.

Give a clear explanation of what your idea is and why it is so good. Systems, results, case studies, backgrounds and assessments all resonate with competitive types. They want to know your competitive advantage and why you’re superior to the competition. What can you do to give them a leg-up on the competition?


Humanistic types are interested in making the world a better place. They want to connect with and help others and are motivated by emotion. This personality type is slow to make a decision and deliberates more than any other personality profile.

Give a clear explanation as to why your product, service or event makes tomorrow better than today. Humanistic types want to understand more about the organization and its trustworthiness. Stories of comebacks and beating the odds resonate with these individuals, as well as, examples of success and the triumphs of ordinary people. What can you do to make them feel safe, secure and better about themselves?


Spontaneous types are interested in entertainment. They want to be surprised and to have some fun. They desire instant gratification and really don’t care about the competition. They are impulsive and driven by emotions that will make them feel good. They are highly interactive by nature making it difficult to maintain their attention.

Create excitement for these individuals. Your content needs to be compelling and more importantly, engaging. Spontaneous users act quickly but lose interest even faster, so don’t bore them with unimportant details. Are you able to spark interest and entertain with your words?


Methodical types are interested in details. They want instructions, steps, and checklists. They do tons of research to ensure they are making the best decisions. They want the facts and every piece of information you can provide before they make any type of decision.

Provide all the facts for these individuals. They need to know the who, what, when, where, why and how. Statistical and factual information works best. They are problem-solvers and look everywhere for information. Did you provide all the details?

Other Considerations

Now that you have identified and understand the four primary personality types, you can begin creating in-depth customer personas. Some additional information you will need to gather (via surveys or interviews) include: demographic information (age, gender, income, etc.), goals and challenges, hobbies, how they consume information, who they follow, what social platforms they visit and the types of media devices they use. The idea is to understand what really motivates these people, so be sure to ask that very question!

Once you have all the information, you can create your customer persona. You may find that Customer A is a 32-year old computer analyst with a methodical personality. He has a wife and 2 kids, makes 40K a year and hopes to one day open his own consulting business. He follows a couple of specific tech publications, hates the Android platform and does not participate in social media. He’s sick of working for the man and is motivated to become an entrepreneur. Wow! That’s some really good information. Now that we have a buyer persona, we can tailor content for Customer A and other individuals with similar persona types.


Persona marketing is a great way to gain a better understanding of who you are speaking with. It begins by recognizing that most people fall into a certain personality type. Once we identify the personality type, we can begin incorporating additional information to create an in-depth persona. Once we know what really makes them tick, we can create content that is specifically tailored for their needs, resulting in better engagement with your content marketing initiatives.