Personality in Marketing06/02/2020
Marketers today are often leveraging more personal marketing campaigns. Understanding more about personality-based marketing and the future tactics that are shaping the industry can help individuals in a marketing based business to adopt some of the newest approaches to their work. Attaching behavioral science in the execution of a marketing campaign will help to make sure that marketers can exceed their targets.
One of the biggest problems that marketers face with personal marketing campaigns is recent controversies with Cambridge analytic and Facebook. These types of personalized marketing campaigns threaten the potential of marketers before they can customize a full campaign.
By using personal information for marketing, it is possible for marketers to have an extra nuance for all of their messages. With the way, the data is captured today however the personalization based off of demographics and other expressed desires of customers is set to grow a little more difficult.
Targeting individuals personally in marketing is now seen as more of a dark art. Using behavioral science and remaining careful with personal data on social media regarding ethics can help you with personalized marketing. Consumers and businesses alike can often have better experiences when their behavioral data is considered.
Personality science in marketing involves looking into the characteristics of patterns for the way that people will feel, behave and think as they are viewing an advertisement or accessing a page. Personality scientists have seen relationships between the way that people behave, their lineage and more. Personality tests have taken place over generations, and through some of these forms of testing and data gathering, it is possible to recognize some trends inconsistency and data.
For the use of marketers, some individuals are looking towards larger populations and searching for the promotion of various behaviors. By gathering data and working to predict behaviors are personality traits it’s possible to empathize with individuals and engage them with a particular message. Finding a way to resonate with an individual and a large population or demographic is something that marketers should be investing in.
Again, the theory is that if you can match the tone and framing of the communications or marketing with the personality profiles and thinking styles of potential customers, patients, voters, or those whose behavior you’d like to change, you can boost effectiveness.
For example, look at retail shoppers. Some do not particularly like shopping. They take a functional approach. It’s a chore. They are not wedded to brands and are motivated by price. Psychologists call them “utilitarian” shoppers. Meanwhile, “hedonic” shoppers enjoy shopping and love brands and join loyalty programs. They identify with brands and may use them to signal who they are and what they stand for. They may look identical when viewed through traditional demographic data, but you would be sorely mistaken to treat them the same way. Certain personality profiles correlate with utilitarian versus hedonic shoppers. So, if you can know shoppers’ personalities, you can customize how you engage them.
But these findings are not limited to retail shopping. In fact, tailored communication has proven highly successful in the context of health care and health communication. We know that people show higher compliance rates when receiving messages that are customized to their individual motivations, and we also know that such messages help in changing a number of cancer-related behaviors, including smoking, dieting, exercising, and regular cancer screenings. What if we could not only increase the chances that a customer buys a handbag, but improve their quality of health or the uptake of flu shots or vaccinations by tailoring the messaging to different personalities and cognitive styles?
The ethics of personality marketing
The essentials of gathering and using personality traits ethically should follow the general guidelines of other behavioral science research of consumers, employees or patients. They include: transparency of intent and usage; abiding by privacy laws and regulations; and aligning researcher/marketer interests with those of respondents (in other words, help them rather than exploit them).
That last principle is the right starting point for marketers: Is your use of personality research actually making your customers better off, or just helping you? As the field evolves, marketers should look to the research community for inspiration and guidance on transparency. And, of course, businesses must comply with the law.
Putting personality marketing in action
Given the promise and accessibility of this new form of communication, how should marketers get started?
In our experience, the first step is to understand the challenge or goal you’re trying to achieve. Is it to align employees with corporate goals, or to promote smoking cessation, or to increase uptake of vaccinations, or to change consumer behavior, or better segment consumers by what really motivates them (which they cannot articulate)?
Next, identify the cognitive biases and heuristics serve as barriers or drivers along the way to achieving the goal. (The Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science has built a tool to navigate thousands of studies to surface the relevant biases.) Map the biases to steps along the consumer (or patient) journey. Doing so will help you identify steps along that journey where creative communications or content can help consumers overcome specific biases or other hurdles to a decision or new behavior.
Once you have a strong understanding of the customer journey, you can run a personality test and combine it with other data to reveal correlations between personality traits and certain behaviors, preferences, or mindsets.
The final step and the “art” of personality marketing is to craft the messaging, advertising or content to match different personality profiles while also considering the stage of the customer journey at which you plan to engage. This isn’t easy, by any means. But it offers the opportunity to create the most effective and empathetic messaging with different groups of customers.
Personality marketing is just one aspect of a new, fast-emerging approach to understanding people from the inside out. We can now move from observational oddities of what makes humans “Predictably Irrational,” as the behavioral scientist Daniel Ariely has written, to decoding what truly moves individuals at scale and engaging them on their terms. How we do this will determine whether it is used for empathetic communication and positive outcomes, or for manipulation and exploitation.
Psychological traits in the past were often measured by official personality tests. Today however with the sharing of data and the digital footprints that people are leaving, it has become much easier to test personality. Digital psychometrics regarding questionnaire responses, consented likes, tweets, shares and browsing history can all lend a hand to producing a high-quality data set that can be beneficial for testing personality traits.
Even trends in America showcase that the average American is liking and sharing around 250 pages within an average year. This offers a wealth of data to marketers if they get involved with the right data collection company and begin experimenting with highly targeted advertising.
Personality-based marketing can offer some incredible advantages for the future of your marketing budget. This type of marketing and data collection for personality marketing needs to be done in a responsible and ethical fashion, however.