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Personality Targeting – What is It?


Personality targeting is about identifying and understanding different types of customer.  The point of doing this is to help you find out who what your best customer profiles are. It’s about making a connection with your target audience and really knowing what makes them tick and tailoring your marketing to encourage more of the ones you want.

What do we mean by customer profiles?

Well, think about your customers,  what kind of traits and behaviour do they have that make them fall into your best customers types list? How about:

  • Spend regularly
  • Loyal to brand
  • Recommend to friends
  • Respond to campaigns
  • Interact with the brand positively but honestly
  • Produce product reviews (they care enough to tell everyone else what they think)
  • Tell you when you get it wrong (but tell you why because they actually care and love the brand)

This is a very general list but you get the gist. So what about the worst types, this might include:

  • Spend little or maybe just once even
  • No loyalty to any brand
  • Demand a lot of your time and energy (and generally enjoy a good moan)
  • Complain heavily and publicly to get a discount or something for free
  • Create usually damning reviews (often purely to get a response or something for free)
  • Sign up to newsletters to get a discount then unsubscribe
  • Find ways to cheat promotions by using different email addresses (savvy, it’s always about getting the best deal)

So, which customers would you like more of?

philosophi-news-personality-targetingI think most brands would like to avoid the 2nd list of customers as much as possible, but how does one go about personality targeting and where to start? First to understand the different types of customer. Here are some key types as identified by analytics:

1. The determined one. This shopper knows exactly what he or she wants and just wants the best price and the fastest delivery.

2. The indecisive one. This shopper has a vague idea of what he or she needs but can get overwhelmed, make this easier with simple options and filters.

3. The informed one.  There is no such thing as too much information. This person will research until completely satisfied that they are ready to purchase.  Most likely to abandon a basket! but they’ll be back.

4. The reluctant one. A tough shopper to keep engaged, these types take a lot of effort to sell to, a personal touch like a live support shopping aid may well turn these guys round .

5. The practical one. Forget anything emotional here, it’s just a transaction and only for products that are completely practical and needed.  How to videos and product reviews will help this one convert.

6. The emotional one. That person who is inspired by a strong message or design, who buys on the spur of the moment. Responds well to personalisation.

7. The social one. This type is very concerned with what others are doing and buying.This is the Instagram shopper and they are usually happier buying there than on your site, make it so. Influencer marketing will help here.

8. The brand-driven one. Oh how we all love the brand fans, perfect customers who buy because they love what you do and your brand message. Loyal and advocates for the brand. Look after these people, they are priceless!  Give them special treatment.

People will fit into several of these categories of course but just by understanding the types, already has you thinking up ideas I bet.. do you cater to all of these types of people on your site or with your marketing campaigns?

Where can you get more data?

You might of guessed that the next section will be about data..and there are lots of sources of data out there. There are several key players in this market and Nielson are one of the biggest.

Please note; this is not a sponsored article and we are not affiliates!

One example of this kind of research can be found with Visual DNA who are a British company, started by Alex Willcock and now a Nielson company.  Their mission is to have a full perspective on every aspect of human behaviour, they do this in order to help businesses create the right messages, campaigns, imagery, tone of voice by recommending personality targeting methods.  They state:

When someone takes a VisualDNA quiz they generate a detailed and accurate snapshot of their personality. By then analysing that person’s online behaviour we can build up a unique, three-dimensional portrait of who someone is, and build on it to infer who others are.

Exponentially expanding data on the relationship between behaviour and personality, and vice-versa, we can discern an unknown users’ personality type from their behaviour, and we can then predict a person’s behaviour by relating it back to their character type. The tech has  been key in unlocking millions – about 340 million in fact – web users as real people.

Content Source: Visual DNA

Have a play with the Big 5 personality model (don’t forget to use the sliders on each personality type) and see what you recognise about your ideal customer types here.  If you click on the red plus icon,  you will see an example relating to how you might sell a  product, in this case a TV to this particular personality type.. it’s cool, we like it.

It’s not mumbo jumbo either, they have a team of psychologists, scientists, data experts, designers and developers, and it has been developed in conjunction with a university.

Where else to get data?

The big data companies are likely expensive and have got a long way to go on repairing the overall brand perception thanks to the negative media coverage of Cambridge Analytica and some election or other.  You can actually start to create a picture using information you already have,  Google Analytics holds a huge amount of behaviour data from your website, as should your email marketing reports. You should also try running customer surveys and polls, encourage product and service reviews and allow all of this feedback to help shape your understanding of the differences between your customers and what they want/need.

So, what can we learn from personality targeting? 

We know that when you talk to your customers in person that you learn invaluable feedback about your products, pricing, customer service, brand value etc and that this very often does, or should, form part of your marketing strategy in the future.

In short, being able to use personality targeting with your customers both online and offline can not only leave your customers feeling that you really do care and want to understand what they want, but ultimately help you to generate more revenue and who’s not up for that.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Online Shopping – The Young Ones

We talked to one young person to find out what inspires and motivates to buy online.

What is Influencer Marketing

A guide to using influencers to promote your brand

How To Improve Your Customers Online Experience

Making sure you do whatever you can to make your visitors have a positive experience with your brand