Connecting with people in the age of personality

It’s been said that we live in the age of personality. With new tools like biometric data tracking, online personality tests and social media platforms, we now have the ability to understand, document, shape and communicate ourselves like never before.

As marketers, it is clear that this information about people and their preferences is invaluable, giving us a way to create messages that are more personalized and relevant than ever. But that all hinges on being able to identify the right insights and take the right actions. Let’s take a look at some of the different tools and methods that can help us do that.

Data gathering

Research has always been the first step in learning anything about your customer base. That hasn’t changed — what has is what needs to be learned. While demographic information was a main focus of businesses in the past, it’s becoming more and more important to know about a customer’s personality instead. In fact, it’s even been suggested that psychographics are now more valuable to marketers than demographic information.

You might already have this information and not even realize it. Website analytics, for example, can give you clues as to why your audience visited your site. If a large portion of your traffic comes from clicking through a coupon, it might indicate that your audience is frugal, or that they see your product as something that should be purchased on sale.

Here at Banfield, we use several different analytics tools to get data about our clients’ customers. Apps like FollowerWonk allow us to see information about a client’s Twitter followers, while TweetReach and Keyhole let us track hashtags, topics, and accounts on a variety of social media platforms, so we can see what posts are the more effective.

Personality theory

Having data about your customers is interesting, but it’s not always helpful by itself. Luckily, the key to unlocking the relevance of this data has been in development for hundreds of years: psychology. While we can never hope to know everything about the human mind, the personality models developed by philosophers and psychologists over the years provide a good outline into the factors that make people who they are.

One of the most common personality theories is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which sorts people into one of 16 categories based on whether they are introverted or extroverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Other types of theories involve grouping people by colour based on their most dominant traits.

By applying personality theories to what you already know about your customers, you can make assumptions about who they are, and what their behaviour might look like in the future.

Audience personas

Many organization use marketing personas as a way to better capture the personalities of their target audiences. If you’ve never used one, a marketing persona is essentially a semi-fictional character based on collected data and educated guesses about a segment of your audience. They create a story about the market segment’s day-to-day life, with information on things like their job, hobbies, and lifestyle.

This helps businesses understand and “feel” the people behind the demographics, so they can create content that is more relevant and meaningful to their audiences. They also lead businesses to insights about their audience that they might not have previously realized, such as a preference for a particular media vehicle.

Having these personas on hand is also a great way to target the most relevant audience. When you’re working from a persona, you already know which segments you should be targeting, and have a predetermined set of characteristics to pull from to properly reach them. On platforms like Facebook, which lets you target to factors like location, interests, and political views, this means more efficient and effective communication.

Of course, both personalities and marketing are always changing, and there is always more information to be learned about your audience. So continue to research, collect data, and stay up-to-date on what makes your customers happy.

If you’re interested in learning more about your customers’ personalities, we’d be more than happy to help — give us a shout!

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