Could personality testing be a tool for marketers?

17 Oct Could personality testing be a tool for marketers?

This weekend I was hanging out with a friend and we were talking about this quiz he took, called the 16personalites quiz. It’s a take on the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test but beefed up a bit with insights in career, friendships, and strengths and weaknesses.

Reading his results, it made total sense how he had jumped from marine to cop to now firefighter. As an ENFP, he’s someone who enjoys helping people and a campaigner who sees work as having so many options to try out. This intrigued me and so I decided to take it myself. I’ve taken these types of personality tests before and my result never changes– a true ENTJ through and through. The statement “failure is not an option” rang true in the description as did my projected career and aspirations.

Although these types of tests dispense purposely vague results, it got me thinking – wouldn’t it be great if you could just setup a campaign to target specific personality types? So, for example, you could cater your language one way for ENFJs and then revise it with less emotional appeals for an ENTJ?

In marketing, we target other interests and factors like age, interests, locations, etc. But how can we account for something as ambiguous and abstract as personality? Consider: you and a coworker have the same job, are around the same age, are both single, like trying new things and enjoy running. You would make great targets for Nike, but, based on the message language; it only connects with one of you because you’re different personality types.

Many companies already use these tests in hiring people; in fact according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 13 percent of US employers use some type of personality assessment. While all tests are not 100 percent accurate, could this tool be an option for marketers?  By aligning our target audiences in specific personality types would we be able to segment better with a focused purpose and understanding of our audience? I honestly don’t know the answer, but I think it’s an intriguing idea worth exploring. What are your thoughts?

Take the quiz and see for yourself.

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