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Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

Personality Does Not

Matter to Marketing

Submitted to : Dr. Bharadhwaj

Submitted By: Punit Nema

Personality Does Not Matter to Marketing Practitioners

A Debate
Being a marketer how do you look at people coming to store and buying products, do you find
any common trait in their buying behavior? Are their decisions informed or are they buying on
impulse? Are these behaviors repeated when observed over a number of customers or are they
unique to individuals?
Such question often shape the marketing approaches used by marketers when they try to increase
the sales of any product. Consumer Personality which is an important aspect shapes such
decisions and is often part of the decision making process. Personality which is described below
in much elaboration stands as an important pillar in this debate and study on personality can be
seen as both influencing impulse buyer and not impacting a informed buyer. Further as
ecommerce or online buying behavior is emerging as a growing sector, customer personality
traits when buying online and their preferences are also considered.

Although personality can be defined in various terms of human behavior but to match the context
of buying behavior Personality is defined as the dynamic organization of characteristics, visible
aspects of character, uniqueness of a particular persons physical and psychological needs, that
influences his behavior and responses to the environment. Some examples of personality traits
are Self-confidence (or lack of it), conscientiousness, individualism, friendliness, workaholism,



adaptability, authoritarianism,


aggressiveness, extroversion, competitiveness, ambitiousness. But when it comes to buying

behavior personality can be defined as the reflections that a person makes when he is subjected
to different buying conditions. For marketers these traits are of utmost importance as a study of
these can bring miraculous results in terms of growth of sales. A close examination of these
psychological characteristics and their use to promote brand image and identity useful consumers
segments for higher sales opportunities. With the use of Media Communications and effective

advertising marketers can not only target mind share but heart share as well to promote the brand
image and sales? They should capture the inner characteristics or those special persona,
distinctiveness, traits and mannerisms in which that an individual reflects as a response towards a
product or the advertising.
But this is not all very often our personal traits such as lifestyle, social class; reference groups
and cultural background influence the products and services that we buy. So how is that, a
marketer is preparing such effective advertisements to match closely to our personality traits and
thus not only draw out attention towards the product but make us buy?
So let us look at few personality traits and their impact on shaping marketing approaches.

Personality Traits and Reaction of Marketers

Your lifestyle is the way you live or pattern of your everydays life. It influences what things are
important to you and reflects your style of living.
Few commonly reported US trends of Lifestyle :
1. They worry more about financing their retirements.
2. Declining Marriage rate.
3. Number of young adults finishing high school and
4. Minority Vs Majority in terms of Racial/Ethnic.






advertisements and place them close to such subjects

which acts as grabbers and thus capture market share.
Tiger Woods has earned an estimated $1 billion over his
career, about $110 million a year in endorsements.
Photo taken April 4, 2006.
Source: By photo taken by flickr user Mono P CC-BYSA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Social "Identity"
Another important aspect that major marketers are aware of and capitalize upon is the fact that
social relationships are important to us. Hence they do their best to find out who we dwell with
socially. Keep keen interest on our favorite entertainers, websites, mail server we use and
opinion leaders we follow and once identified they use it to sell us what suits us best in that
context. They use ways such as making our favorite opinion leader and thought leaders as brand
ambassadors, though this can be a risky as proven by Tiger Woods (General Motors), Lance
Armstrong, and Madonna (Pepsi), because no one can predict their behavior as they are also
human being. Human beings are unpredictable, and because of this unpredictability their
behavior can have adverse effect on the product(s) they are endorsing.
Family Roles/Influences
Talking about family Roles/Influences they are in
turn result of expectation that others have from us.
Under this category our behavior is highly
influenced by our position within our primary
reference groups. Marketers work hard to keep up
with these roles that we hold throughout our lifes
that are so dynamic that they keep on changing
with growth of age and changes in the
environment that we dwell. Most decisions here
are part of family as a unit, also as families spend
less time together due to fast paced life most of
their decisions are left to be taken by kids in order
to lessen the guilt of not spending more time with
Mealtime is still cherished by many as a time to be together, as a family.
Source: By alisson designer via Morguefile.com.

Other Reference Groups

Apart from family there are other groups that an individual
identify with such as aspiration group that an individual
wants to belong to, and a "disassociate group" is one that
he doesnt want to belong to. Now as affiliation with the
group can influence the purchase decisions, any group
providing a positive or negative influence on a person's
behavior can be called as a reference group. Affinity
marketing is focused on reaching such consumers that
belong to specific reference groups.
An individuals vulnerability as per the reference group
influence and the strength of his involvement with the group
decides the affect on his purchase decision.
Sports teams/organizations represent reference groups for millions of fans.
Source: By MC Glasgow CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Social Class
A social class can be defined on the basis of their wealth or
income or qualitative attributes such as education culture but
cumulatively to be called a social class a group of people
should exhibit similar status, comparable power and wealth
etc. Sometimes we also use, race, ethnic groups and
possessions to divide people up into social classes.
The luxurious Bentley Continental GT.
Source: By Thomas doerfer (Own work) CC-BY-3.0, via
Wikimedia Commons.
While personal values/attitudes greatly influence to buying
behavior compared with the amount of money individuals

have still social class influences many aspects purchasing behavior. For example, upper middle
class Americans tend to prefer luxury cars.
There is a clear differentiation between people belonging to various classes from upper to lower
in terms of their buying decisions, also as lower middle classes tend to stay close to home in
terms of their purchase behavior and do not invest in much pre-purchase information gathering
hence retailer attempt to attract this prospect.
Culture and Sub-culture
Valus, ideas and attitudes that are accepted by a homogenous group of people and that goes on
from one generation to another constitute a culture. It affects the buying decisions of people as in
how they buy, what people buy and when they buy. Product advertising uses cultural aspects of a
region, it uses what customer prefers what they wear where they eat where they like to travel etc.
For example, Time scarcity is a big problem in American culture, hence saving time has been the
driving force that marketers sell.

Types of Personality and ways to deal with them

Of course every customer is unique but on the basis of past research done there are four basic
personality types in which customers are segregated in order for marketers to deal with them:
1. The Director
These are demanding people, they believe in taking charge, they want what they want and they
want it now, they are not into small talk but want facts in order to make a decision as quickly as
How to Deal with the Director Personality

Eliminate as much small talk as possible, lay out the facts, give your reasons why they should
purchase something and make it brief and to the point. Generally these personality types have
high self-esteem, almost to the point of being obnoxious about it. One of the most valuable tools
you can use here is to compliment their direct style and decisiveness.

2. The Analytical Personality

They have professions that require accuracy and analysis. These would include jobs such as
accountants, engineers or scientists, whereby they conduct research and analyze all the
possibilities before making a decision. What motivates this type of personality when they come
into a retail store to buy? Facts, details, product descriptions, Consumer Reports information; this
personality type wants data. They read manuals, directions and the fine print. Like the Director
type they are unaffected by small talk or the niceties that can accompany a retail store visit.
How to Deal with the Analytical Personality

Give them facts and data. Do not make a statement unless you can back it up with pertinent
information. If the product has detailed labeling, give it to them. There is one major advantage
when it comes to dealing with the analytical personality.They have done their homework and/or
comparative research. In many cases they will actually know more than a salesperson or owner,
which makes them a valuable source of information.
3. The Belonging (or Relater) Personality Type
This personality is referred to as the Relater. Relaters/Belonging types have a strong need to
feel part of a group. I like to use the my test on this personality type. This means when a
customer refers to my accountant, my doctor, my garage, my electrician, my lawyer,
or my store, your store becomes part of their network. They always know someone who knows
someone who knows someone - the classic example of three degrees of separation.
How to Deal with the Belonging Type

The reason we refer to this shopper as the Belonging Type is because they take an ownership
position in anything they do. The easiest way to sell to this personality type is to simply ask
them, What is your opinion of this product and do you think we should carry it? Their response
might be something like, I think it looks good and I think you should carry it. I might like
something like that. Let me see it. The bottom line is to include them in any way you possibly
can, because they want to feel a part of the decision making process.
4. The Socializer
Socializers are exactly as the name implies. They are outgoing, love to talk and love to make new
friends. The Socializer wants to build a relationship with people who work in the store. This
personality type places likeability as one of the most important buying criteria. If they dont like
you they are not going to do business with you.The most important thing to the Socializer is to
build friendships. If you talk to them like an Analytical personality, with facts and figures, they
will shut right down.
How to Deal with the Socializer

The most important thing to remember is that its not all about the merchandise; it is about the
relationship. Always remember that the first thing you are selling is yourself. You can be giving
merchandise away, but the Socializer wont care if they dont like you. Use compliments
liberally. Do whatever you have to do to remember the names of these people. Dont lose sight of
the fact that although they look at the shopping experience as a fun, social event, your goal is still
to sell them merchandise.

Personality matters to Marketers another perspective

As of now we saw that there has been a direct impact of personality on marketing but conversely
in various researches it has also been proved that due to utilitarian aspects of products
personality impacts is not seen. Consumers belonging to any class, culture, Age, Sex, Attitudes
have to consume products on the basis of their needs. Utilitarian goods are purchased for their
practical uses and are based on the consumer's needs. These are items that are purchased
frequently and are a regular part of the consumer's life, which allows the consumer to be more
prices sensitive towards these goods because they are purchased and used frequently. These
items can be cleaning fluid, laundry detergent, clothing, toilet paper, or other items that a
consumer uses regularly.

Wise consumers always have proper information about the products they purchase and are not
influenced by advertisements and marketing tricks.