Personality describes a person’s disposition as other people see it. The following are the “Big Five” personality traits that psychologists discuss frequently:
- Openness. How open you are to new experiences.
- Conscientiousness. How diligent you are.
- Extraversion. How outgoing or shy you are.
- Agreeableness. How easy you are to get along with.
- Neuroticism. How prone you are to negative mental states.
The question marketing professionals want answered is do the traits predict people’s purchasing behavior? Can companies successfully target certain products at people based on their personalities? And how do you find out what personalities they have? Are the extraverts you know wild spenders and the introverts you know penny pinchers? Maybe not.
The link between people’s personalities and their buying behavior is somewhat unclear, but market researchers continue to study it. For example, some studies have shown that “sensation seekers,” or people who exhibit extremely high levels of openness, are more likely to respond well to advertising that’s violent and graphic. The practical problem for firms is figuring out “who’s who” in terms of their personalities.