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How Your Traits Shape Your Choices

Personality-Powered Marketing


Have you ever wondered why certain ads just speak to you, while others are utterly forgettable? Or why you’re tempted to click on one online banner, while swiftly ignoring another? The answer might lie deeper than you think – in your personality! Ready for a fascinating journey into the world of personalized marketing? Let’s dive in!

Beyond Age & Gender – The Power of Personality in Marketing

We all know marketers love demographics. Teenagers, soccer moms, retirees – advertisers spend big bucks to craft the perfect message for each group. But what if I told you there’s another layer, one that’s even more personal and powerful? Enter the world of personality-based marketing.

Jacob Hirsh from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management had a hunch: What if ads tailored to our very personality traits could be even more effective than those targeting just our age or gender?

The Science Behind the Strategy

Now, let’s talk science for a second (don’t worry, I promise to keep it fun!). There are five major personality domains, lovingly referred to as the “Big Five”:

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Emotional Stability
  • Openness to Experience

Each one corresponds to different desires and motivations. For example, if you’re high on Agreeableness, you value interpersonal harmony. But if you’re bursting with Openness, you’re all about intellectual and aesthetic adventures.

So, Hirsh and his team thought, “Why not craft ads specifically aimed at each personality type?”

Putting the Theory to the Test

Imagine this: Five ads, all selling the same snazzy cell phone, but each highlighting different features based on those “Big Five” personality traits.

For the vibrant extraverts out there, the ad shouts, “With XPhone, you’ll always be where the excitement is!” Meanwhile, those of you who lean towards the Emotional Stability side (sometimes referred to as neurotics – but hey, no judgment here!) see, “Stay safe and secure with the XPhone.”

Sounds pretty cool, right? But did it actually work?

The Results – Personality Wins!

Here’s where it gets exciting! Participants were shown these tailored ads and then rated their effectiveness. And guess what? The ads were a hit when they aligned with the participant’s personality. That means an extravert was more likely to be swayed by the excitement-pitched ad, while conscientious folks might resonate with an entirely different selling point.

Hirsh summed it up perfectly: “Although the product itself was the same in each case, its subjective value changed dramatically depending on the personal motives we highlighted in the advertisement.”

So, What’s Next for Us as Consumers?

With a whopping $530 billion splashed on global advertising in 2012 alone, it’s evident that getting the message right is crucial. And as our friend Hirsh highlights, understanding the interplay between personality and persuasion isn’t just a game-changer for advertisers. It can shape everything from promoting healthier lifestyles to pushing for civic engagement.

For you, the ever-curious reader, this opens up a world of introspection. Next time an ad catches your eye or a product seems irresistible, ask yourself: Is this aligning with my personality? Am I being understood on a deeper level? And isn’t it kind of cool to think that companies might be trying to get to know the real you?

In the vast sea of marketing, where messages bombard us at every turn, those that resonate with our inner selves stand out. Because, at the end of the day, we all want to feel seen, understood, and catered to. Personality-powered marketing might just be the next big step in that direction.

So, the next time you’re about to hit “add to cart,” take a moment to reflect. Is it just a great ad, or is it speaking to your very soul?

Written by
Madelyn Barrett

Madelyn Barrett is an accomplished reporter with a focus on entrepreneurship, startups, and business innovation. With more than a decade in the industry, Madelyn's writing has illuminated the path for many aspiring business owners. Her unique perspective stems from her experience as a former startup founder and her academic background in Business Administration. Currently residing in New York City, Madelyn remains immersed in the pulse of the business world, dedicated to bringing our readers the most relevant and impactful startup news.

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