In a data-driven world, personalisation has quickly become one of the most effective ways of connecting with customers. But anybody can insert a [FIRST NAME] on an email campaign and call it personalisation, what if there was a way to truly understand your customers and tailor your campaigns to their specific needs and interests? That’s where personality insights come in. We spoke to behavioural scientist Patrick Fagan about the magic of personalised persuasion to predict messaging preferences in your campaigns.
Personality insights are all about understanding the individual attributes that can make a person more receptive to your message. According to Patrick, “people have personality traits which are underlying dispositions”, which can ultimately predict how they may behave in certain circumstances.
Patrick shared a fascinating study in which researchers attempted to predict personality type based on people’s interaction with their Facebook feed. If the algorithm had more than 224 likes, researchers were able to predict your personality more accurately than a friend or a family member. In fact, the only person who would know you better is your partner.
This is important for marketers. We spend so much time building detailed buyer personas, but how often do we really think about the kind of personalities we’re trying to appeal to? It’s possible to argue that by deeply understanding personalities, we’re better able to tap into marketing messages that more deeply impact our intended audiences.
This is demonstrated by a 2017 study into Facebook, which found that adverts specifically targeting to people’s personalities had conversion rates up to 50% higher than standard targeting. Why is that? By tailoring our campaigns to personalities, we’re creating resonance, which is “basically speaking someone’s language in a way that their brain just vibes with”, says Patrick.
Patrick discussed three key types of people when it comes to messaging preferences: the Rebel, the Lover, and the Thinker. Each personality type has a preference for how they want to be spoken to, influenced through nudges and the kinds of aesthetics they prefer. These are all useful insights to guide your marketing and even branding strategies.
For example, if you wanted to appeal to a Lover personality type, you may amp up your branding to be more aesthetic and colourful, drawing on pop culture and music to influence your art style. You may use more sensory and visual messaging, using emojis and appealing to their emotional, sensitive side as opposed to using hard facts or fear to persuade.
We also discussed the different aesthetics that these audiences might respond to and the qualities that motivate them, such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, disagreeableness, and neuroticism. Here is just a snapshot of which styles of messaging may be most effective with each personality trait.
We wanted to know more about how real marketers are using personality insights - at both strategy and campaign level - so we surveyed a selection of marketing experts to get their top tips. Here are the key points to bear in mind when using personality insights.
With so many personality traits, it’s not surprising that there are a selection of personality models marketers can use. The most important takeaway from our conversations with marketers is to find the one that works best for you. Seth Price, Partner at Price, Benowitz LLP, told us they use the OCEAN technique, also known as the Big 5, in the “planning and analysis phases” of their marketing campaigns, using insight to “speak to our specific audience in a specific way, resonating with their personalities and helping us improve ROI”.
Matt Seltzer, Market Research Consultant at S2 Research, revealed that he prefers to “treat every project fresh”, using concepts from a variety of models as the project requires. Matt shared a case study of using personalities to inform buyer personas for a software company with a “very specific niche audience”. “We ended up creating a whole new brand name and adding new features… dictated by the audience’s real wants and needs”.
In addition to the variety of personality models, there is no one way to use personality insights. Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations at Force by Mojio, revealed “we use it in the planning stage… we also use it when conducting analysis about what worked and didn’t work in any given campaign”. Even better, “there is a high ROI since our ability to market to highly specific niches in what drives so many of our sales”, clearly demonstrating the value of personality insights in developing laser-focused buyer personas.
Simon Elkjær, CMO at avXperten, agreed, telling us “the best thing about personality insights is that it helps you dig deeper… what [customer] needs are, what they want to see from brands, and how they want to see it.” Simon added “it has been particularly helpful during our content creation process and strengthened our content marketing strategy”.
What matters most in using personality insights is consistency. Felix Maberly, Manager at Tiger Supplies, told us they used insights end-to-end. “The planning stage is vital since it holds the backbone of marketing”, he told us. He emphasised the importance of consistency, “making sure there is consistency across all channels to improve the credibility of your brand… consistency is achieved by setting out a clear action plan, design guidelines and content style”.
Rachel Renken, Content Manager at Kodabrands, takes a unique approach to using personality insights. “A marketer needs to be aware of his or her own personality to ensure that there is a fit in meeting objectives”, Rachel told us. By taking the time to understand her own personality and the messages that resonate most, she felt better able to “step up and take charge of people-centred campaigns… the first step in any successful marketing campaign needs to be ensuring you have the right personality heading it up”.
Many of the marketing experts we spoke to told us that they had successfully used personality insights for their email marketing campaign. Catherine Way, Marketing Manager at Prime Plus Mortgages, revealed that personality insights helped them gauge “how to interact and nurture new leads”, resulting in a staggering ROI of around 75% thanks to a “greater connection rate than in previous campaigns”. Alina Clark, Marketing Director at CocoDoc, told us that their annual January email campaign “depended on personality insights to a large extent”. She also added “personality insights can help you draw the line between ethical and unethical marketing”.
But don’t forget to innovate! Miranda Yan, Founder of VinPit, used personality insights to drive engagement in influencer campaigns. “We first determined our goals, then we looked for the right influencer… we understood how they could attract and educate”, Miranda shared. “We also used it for creative designs, we asked our promoters and influencers to promote our brand’s identity through their art”. Similarly, Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass, told us “we use OCEAN to help us make choices in the design and voice of our marketing.” This is crucial because “by figuring out where customer personas fall… we are guided to make informed decisions about how to market to them”.