If you’re marketing certain products or services, it’s easy to identify your target audience. For example, it doesn’t take too much head-scratching to know that baby care products are best pitched to women between the ages of 20 and 40, the lion’s share of expecting mothers. On the other hand, many items defy such pigeon-holing, and trying to come up with an advertising strategy requires more thought and research. In any situation, you need to know who you’re selling your wares to before you should spend a cent of your ad budget.

Personality vs. Demographics

Typically, marketers start the target audience identification process by using purely demographic information like gender, age, income level or geographic location. This is useful, and there’s nothing wrong with this approach. However, this purely demographic data often only tells you who your customer is, with little insight on how to effectively reach them with your messaging. This is where focusing on customer personality is incredibly powerful.

Measuring Data

Not very long ago, any effort to key in on a target audience by personality would have required extremely sophisticated and expensive research. In the age of search engines and social media, however, most people have a customer profile online. If you advertise with any of these methods, these analytics are available to you with a small amount of data interpretation.

“The Big Five” Model

Let’s now dig a little deeper into what personality data can tell you. A widely excepted theory of this is the “big five” model, which shows five key personality types: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism. The open person is curious and seeks new experiences.  The conscientious person is methodical and organized. The agreeable person is caring and friendly. The extrovert is gregarious and hyper. The neurotic is nervous, overthinking, and oversensitive.

Putting the Information to Use

So how do these personality types help you market? You can see the drastic difference in the big five types. If you can determine which one of them is most likely to want, need, and use your product, you can write and produce commercials, banners, and other marketing materials that speak to their states of mind. For example, the neurotic person might be overly concerned with safety. If you sell locks or gates, you can speak to them by promising peace of mind, and less to worry about.

Nothing about advertising is an exact science but finding your customer by personality type can give you a whole new perspective and reinvigorate your strategy.