What Is Personality in Marketing and How Can You Use It?

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 29, 2021

Personality-based marketing is a strategy that has gained popularity in recent years and is currently shaping the marketing industry. By gaining a deeper understanding of the ways specific personality traits influence purchasing decisions, businesses can design and launch more effective campaigns and establish stronger connections with prospective and current customers. In this article, we discuss what personality-based marketing is and provide steps on how to test consumers for their personality profiles.

What is personality in marketing?

Personality in marketing is the combination of personality and behavioral science with marketing strategies. This approach helps companies avoid delivering non-effective, generalized messaging based on basic demographics, and instead allows them to deliver targeted content and communication based on the specific personalities of their consumer base.

What is personality science?

Personality science, or personality psychology, is a discipline within psychology that seeks to understand the psychological patterns that are responsible for shaping and developing a person's personality. Personalities encompass many phases of the human character, including:

  • Motivations

  • Behavioral patterns

  • Thinking patterns

  • Emotions

  • Attitude

  • Intellect

  • Temperament

  • Skill

Through scientific research and empirical studies, personality science examines how these patterns are expressed in a person's life.

Why should you use personality-based marketing?

Integrating data-driven insight on personality traits and how they impact consumer behavior in your marketing strategies can help to build and grow your business. This approach helps to create stronger connections with existing and prospective customers by allowing businesses to create effective marketing campaigns that deliver content more likely to resonate with their target audience.

How to test consumers for their personality profile

Beyond understanding the concept of personality science, there are a few simple steps you should consider when applying it to real consumers, such as:

1. Use the Big Five personality model

The Big Five personality model is a five-factor model that encompasses five key characteristics of a person's personality. It ranks people high or low on these five personality traits:

  • Openness: Openness is correlated with characteristics such as creativity, imagination curiosity and adventurousness. It can reveal how open someone is to new experiences.

  • Contentiousness: Contentiousness corresponds with traits like organization, work ethic, dependability and self-discipline.

  • Extraversion: Extraversion relates to qualities like friendliness, sociability and activity level. It can reveal how outgoing someone is.

  • Agreeableness: Agreeableness reveals how cooperative and compassionate someone is and how well they're able to get along with others. It corresponds with traits like being group-oriented, good-natured and helpful.

  • Neuroticism: Neuroticism relates to how reactive and emotional someone is. It's associated with emotional stability, anxiety, depression and vulnerability.

This framework can be used to analyze and interpret various data collections.

Related: Big Five Personality Traits: Finding the Right Jobs for You

2. Use web analytics

Web analytics is the measurement and analysis of data on the behavior of visitors to a website. This data provides key information, including where a person lives, their age, interests and overall consumer behavior. Web analytics can yield an abundance of data, so it's important to recognize what information is most relevant to your business objectives and effectively use it to guide decision making. Integrating web analytics in your research can provide actionable insights that can help to clearly identify the various personality segments that make up your consumer base.

3. Analyze digital footprint

Digital footprint refers to the available information about a person as a result of their online activity. A person's digital footprint includes:

  • Browsing history

  • Purchasing history

  • Preferred social media platforms

  • The type of content they engage with

  • How they engage with content, including commenting, sharing and liking posts

Analyzing digital footprints can reveal behavioral tendencies and thinking patterns that correspond with certain personality traits. They can provide detailed insight into the psychology and personality of your target audience.

4. Use market segmentation

Market segmentation aims to divide an entire consumer base into smaller groups, or segments, based on different criteria. Some criteria researchers use are demographics, geography, psychology and behavior. Dividing consumer bases into segments provides businesses with a more detailed look at the personality traits that make up their target audience and helps them to avoid drawing inferences based on generalizations.

Related: What Is Market Segmentation?

5. Conduct surveys

Conducting surveys is one way to get to know your customers better. It's important to formulate targeted questions that will provide you with information that corresponds to your marketing needs. Surveys don't have to be extensive or elaborate, and they can be delivered in many forms. Creating polls containing one or two questions on social media platforms, for example, can provide you with valuable information about specific personality traits and overall consumer behavior.

How to use personality science in marketing

Businesses and marketers can analyze and draw conclusions about their target audience by applying personality science frameworks and theories to their data collections and research. The detailed information derived from their data can be used to inform marketing strategies and drive action accordingly. Here are ways you can integrate personality science into your marketing efforts:

Related: How To Identify Target Market

1. Create customer profiles

A customer or consumer profile is a comprehensive document that provides a detailed and unique description of a company's ideal customer based on gathered and analyzed data. It's typically presented as an in-depth description of an actual person and goes into detail about various aspects of a potential customer's lifestyle, including:

  • Education level

  • Occupation

  • Values

  • Goals

  • Habits

  • Hobbies

  • Interests

  • Pets

The specifications provided by customer profiles can provide direct insight on what a consumer wants and how they want to attain it. With this information, you can improve the performance of targeted messaging.

2. Deliver targeted communication

Understanding a person's psychological patterns can reveal the preferred style and mode of your consumers. Traditionally, business-to-consumer communication delivered one generalized message that didn't take personality traits and their corresponding communication preferences into consideration. One way to target communication is by creating variations of your messaging that are tailored to the specific segments of your ideal customer. Consider the tone of any language used, word choice and the means used for communicating.

3. Customize visual content

Leverage the information derived from your data to deliver compelling visual content most likely to resonate with your target audience. Certain personality traits can reveal preferences with visual components such as font styles, color schemes and the overall layout of content. It can also reveal which medium they prefer to engage with, including images, videos or infographics.

4. Launch targeted campaigns

Targeted campaigns that are representative of your consumer base can dictate every phase of their buying journey. A detailed look into your target audience is essential in understanding the complete buying process, starting from initial brand awareness to their decision to purchase your product or service. Carefully curating strategies based on research is key in optimizing your marketing efforts.

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