Personality Typing to Become Next Promotional Trend

Advertisers are always looking for new ways to improve the effectiveness of their marketing. In recent years, they've shifted from targeting demographic groups to consumer behavior. Researchers are out with a new study that adds more insight into the buying process and they say advertising could yield better returns if it connected with consumer personalities.

Researchers from the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) and the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), interviewed about 300 consumers and studied their reactions to a variety of advertisements about mobile phones. The 5 different messages in these ads were manipulated to appeal to 5 different basic personality types:

  • Extraverted
  • Aggressive
  • Conscientious
  • Emotionally stable
  • Open to new experience

For example, the tagline for conscientious consumers would have included text to remind the potential buyers that the phone would help them track urgent tasks that required attention.

In the course of the study, participants rated their own personalities. Researchers noted that advertising which targeted the primary personality of each person resonated most strongly “in every case.”

Lead researcher, Jacob Hirsh reported, "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.” The results of this research are certain to get marketer attention and they may well begin to tweak their messaging based on personality type instead of age or ethnic group.

[Source: Marketing is More Effective When Targeted. Psychologicalscience​.org. 21 May 2012. Web. 15 Jun. 2012]


Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.