Level Up Your Consumer Research Game with AI-Driven Personality Data

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Level Up Your Consumer Research Game with AI-Driven Personality Data

May 11, 2021

Savvy marketers have been doing the work to understand their consumers for as long as marketing has been a profession.

Why? Because they know they can leverage consumer understanding to inform their marketing activities and forge connections between their brands and customers. And strong brand/customer connection means more sales, brand equity, and overall company growth.

It’s the stuff of marketers’ dreams.

Even though marketers have long searched for consumer understanding, it hasn’t always been as accessible as it is today. New artificial intelligence-driven technologies and social media methods are changing the consumer research game. You can now grasp your target audiences’ personality traits, and personality is the single strongest predictor of desire.

Better yet, these new consumer research methods don’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. Mid-sized CPGs can finally afford data previously reserved for food and bev industry giants.

Think of what this level of consumer understanding could mean for your CPG company.

The Problem with Demographics

Using demographics to segment and market to audiences has been the industry standard for quite some time. But demographic data points — like marital status, age, income, and so on — are way too broad.

Imagine you’re creating a new packaged food item and your research suggests that women in their 30s are your target audience. That’s literally millions of people. What about the many variables between women in their 30s, like culture and stage of life?

Consumers may all look the same through the lens of their demographics, but that’s simply too limited a perspective.

Leverage Psychographics for Deeper Consumer Understanding

Despite limitations, demographics aren’t all bad. And perhaps they were enough when consumers were mainly concerned with a product’s label. But today’s consumers demand more. Again, it’s all about that connection. They want an emotional, human factor in their products, and they want their products to share their value systems.

That’s why you need psychographics, too.

Basically, psychographics describe someone’s personality traits and psychological attributes. Segmenting your audience by psychographics means speaking to their desires, needs, problems, and interests — instead of just their surface-level identifiers.

Put another way, demographics are one-dimensional and psychographics are multidimensional. Psychographics color otherwise flat demographic data.

Data Supports the Validity of Personality-Driven Marketing

As mentioned previously, personality predicts desire, and desire predicts purchasing decisions. That’s because personality is composed of unconscious needs or drives — the core of human motivation.

This all sounds good, right? But why should you care about personality traits in practice?

Studies prove that people respond more favorably to messages tailored to their unique personalities. In fact, in one study, matching a marketing message to a consumer’s personality resulted in up to 40% more clicks and up to 50% more purchases.

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Typical Personas Are Too Much Guesswork

Say you have personality trait data. You’re convinced of its value. What should you do with it?

For one, apply it to your existing personas.

Your team is likely accustomed to using personas — or semi-fictional representations of your customers — in your work. The problem is that these personas aren’t as accurate as they could be. Creative types might whip them up using a combination of qualitative research and, well, educated guesses. Then, ‘Maggie the Stay at Home Mom’ is born, complete with a stock photo headshot.

Scientifically-Backed Personality Traits Bring Personas to Life

While you might get pretty close to a Maggie-type’s real-world characteristics this way, think of the depth scientifically-backed personality data adds.

When you know the personalities of your target consumers for sure (you’re not just taking your best guess), you can more precisely match your messaging to those traits. You can also use that data to inform design decisions, media placements, influencer marketing, and even new product launches. The applications are nearly limitless.

How to Get Personality Data — and What to Do with It

At this point, you’re probably wondering how you attain personality trait data. Typically, a third-party research partner completes the work. The researcher’s process is as follows:

  1. Use AI-driven tech to analyze social media profiles that fit a certain characterization. If they’re trying to recruit millennial moms, for example, they’d search for public posts about motherhood from moms who fit that target age.
  2. Recruit people who are in the millennial moms group to participate in the study.
  3. The tech then scrapes the participants’ public social media text and runs that data through an algorithm.
  4. The algorithm spits out personality traits and groupings for those participants based on their words from their own social media profiles.

At the end of the process, you’re left with data pointing to common personality traits among your target audience. The common model applies the “Big 5” personality traits to your group — extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism — along with sub personality traits, too.

Let’s take an example in action. According to the hypothetical data in our example, millennial moms are generally high on openness. Through well-established academic research, we know that people with high openness are more likely to try new things. They’re motivated by novelty. Perfect for the food and beverage industry, a person with high openness tends to be a foodie.

All of this means that, when you’re marketing to high openness individuals, you might:

  • Highlight newness during a product launch
  • Emphasize ingredients, nutrients, source quality, etc. to appeal to their discerning food-lover side

The Implications of AI-Driven Market Research

It might seem invasive to target consumers based on their personality traits. But we’re never manipulating our audiences. In reality, this new technology allows us to be more respectful of everyone’s individuality than too-broad demographics ever could.

With personality trait data in hand, you can understand your customers authentically and provide them with products that meet their stated needs on their own terms.