Developing content requires you to think about the audience. You likely create customer personas around the demographic data. But have you considered the personality of your audience?
Knowing your audience’s personality traits can help you better understand their behavior and preferences, which gives you an advantage in implementing your content marketing strategy.
For example, if the audience is highly conscientious and values efficiency, you could target them with messaging emphasizing the convenience and time-saving benefits of your product or service. On the other hand, if the audience is open to new experiences and values creativity, you could highlight the unique and innovative aspects of your offering.
By targeting your audiences based in part on personality traits, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing. You can create more personalized experiences that foster long-term relationships, improve customer satisfaction, and connect with new, relevant audiences who share similar personality traits and preferences.
I shared some of my ideas at Content Marketing World, which you can watch in this clip. For more detailed thoughts and how you can do it, too, read on.
Demographics v. personality
Demographics provide a quantitative overview of the external characteristics of the broader population, such as age, gender, income, education, occupation, marital status, and ethnicity. Personality refers to the unique psychological characteristics and patterns that define an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Personality types and demographics can work in complementary ways to inform your customer personas and help you create more effective, tailored marketing strategies.
How to determine your audience’s personality types
You can assess the personality types of your audiences through surveys and similar research methods. Just ensure the questions are relevant to your audience and keep the survey length manageable to encourage participation. Personality assessment tests, such as DiSC, Myers-Briggs, Insights, or Enneagram, can work well too.
You also can determine audience personality types using the data you have. Monitor your audience’s public social media activity. Analyze the content they share, their engagement patterns, and the topics they discuss. Analyzing customer feedback and interactions can also provide insights into their values and motivations.
Lastly, conduct one-on-one interviews or focus groups with a representative sample. Ask open-ended questions and encourage participants to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to your product, service, or industry.
With this data, you can identify common personality traits among your audience and group them into different segments.
Categorize personality types by the alphabet
DiSC, Insights, Myers-Briggs, and Enneagram use different monikers for their personality types. They also address different aspects. DiSC and Insights explore behavior and communication styles, while Myers-Briggs delves into cognitive preferences. Enneagram goes into core motivations and fears. Whether you use one of those or draw upon the other methods, you likely can correlate your findings into the following A, B, C, and D personality types. They come from Understanding the 4 Personality Types by Hire Success and a few other related sources.
Competitive, ambitious individuals with a sense of urgency characterize Type A personalities. Often described as high achievers, they are driven to succeed personally and professionally. Type A individuals are often results-oriented and need control and organization.
They tend to focus on their goals and are often seen as workaholics. They are often impatient and may become easily frustrated when things don’t go as planned. Due to their competitive nature, they may also be prone to comparing themselves to others and feeling a sense of envy or jealousy.
Their intensive drive to succeed may make them more prone to negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety. They may struggle to relax or take time off and may even feel guilty when they are not being productive. Type A people are highly ambitious, driven, and competitive.
Categories under each test that fit Type A:
- DiSC: D — direct, controlling
- Insights: Blue
- Myers-Briggs: ENFJ, ENFP, INFJ, INFP
- Enneagram: Adventurer, achiever
Individuals who tend to be more relaxed, flexible, and laid-back in their approach to life make up Type B. They are characterized by a lower sense of urgency, a more go-with-the-flow attitude, and a lesser need for control than Type A individuals.
Type B personalities tend to be more reflective and contemplative, valuing quality time for themselves and their relationships. They are often creative, imaginative, and open-minded, able to see the bigger picture and think outside the box.
In contrast to Type A personalities, Type B individuals are less prone to stress and anxiety. They are more tolerant of ambiguity, uncertainty, and change and are less competitive and cooperative.
Categories under each test that fit Type B:
- DiSC: I — direct, supporting
- Insights: Green
- Myers-Briggs: ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ, INTP
- Enneagram: Helper, romantic
Type C people are detail-oriented, analytical, and cautious. They are often seen as logical, practical, and systematic thinkers who pay attention to detail. They tend to be reserved, preferring to think things through before taking action, and can be perceived as introverted or shy.
People with a Type C personality tend to be task-focused and driven, often working well in structured environments where they can apply their analytical skills to problem-solving. They may also be perfectionists, striving for accuracy and precision in their work.
In terms of communication, Type C individuals may not be as expressive or emotional as others, preferring to stick to facts and avoid conflict.
Categories under each test that fit Type C:
- DiSC: C — indirect, controlling
- Insights: Yellow
- Myers-Briggs: ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ
- Enneagram: Asserter, perfectionist
Individuals who fit the Type D profile tend to experience a high level of negative emotions, such as worry, anxiety, and irritability. These individuals often feel hopeless and helpless, leading to a lack of motivation and engagement in daily activities. People with Type D personalities may also have difficulty expressing their emotions and are prone to social inhibition, avoiding social situations and interactions.
Research suggests Type D people possess an increased risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders. It has also been linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other physical health problems.
Categories under each test that fit Type D:
- DiSC: S — indirect, supporting
- Insights: Orange
- Myers-Briggs: ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP
- Enneagram: Peacemaker, observer
Once you know the personality types of your audience, you can translate them into your marketing plan.
How to use personality types in your marketing
Using personality types in your personas requires a nuanced marketing strategy because you must adjust messaging and content. Craft personalized content focusing on interactivity for extroverts; provide introverts with in-depth information and thoughtful storytelling. Create a visual highlighting functionality and practicality for an analytical person, while more creative types will prefer a visual that is aesthetically and emotionally appealing.
TIP: Empower your sales force with this personality-based perspective. Equip them with the skills to recognize cues indicating the customer’s personality type and tailor their responses accordingly.
For example, a fitness brand markets to Type A customers by emphasizing the competitive aspect of their workouts, such as leaderboards and timed challenges. By showcasing the efficiency of their workouts — a greater workout in shorter times — the brand appeals to Type A’s ambition.
A hospitality brand aimed at Type B individuals could focus its messaging on the relaxed and rejuvenating aspects of travel, highlighting the benefits of taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The brand could also emphasize creative opportunities, such as exploring cultures and trying new experiences.
A financial planning service marketing to Type C customers could emphasize the thoroughness and attention to detail of its financial planning process. It might highlight using data analysis and tools to appeal to the customer’s analytical mindset. The marketing message could also focus on the peace of mind of having a well-thought-out financial plan, appealing to the customer’s introversion.
A wellness brand targeting Type D people might emphasize its calming and stress-reducing properties. The marketing message could focus on self-care and taking time for oneself, appealing to the customer’s tendency to worry and experience negative emotions.
Thinking about your business, how can you use personality types to inform your content marketing and messaging?
Use personality types as a tool
By understanding your audience’s personality types and demographic characteristics, you can better craft content that aligns well with them and your brand. But remember, personality types work well as a tool, not an entire strategy. Maintain a balance by considering your broader content goals. Regularly analyze data, gather feedback, and adjust to maintain a harmonious content mix that effectively engages your audience while achieving your marketing objectives.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute