Maximise your marketing success

In the USA alone, $170billion is spent on direct marketing each year.

A recent study revealed that 3% of recipients of physical mail bought something as a result, while the conversion rate for online ads into sales was a mere 0.01%.

Maybe it isn’t the direct marketing itself that is the issue, maybe it is the persistent habit of using demographic data like age and sex to target advertisements which result in your effort-laden ad being interpreted as impersonal junk-mail.

Not only is understanding personality a vital aspect of maximising sales and efficiency for any B2C company, it is hugely relevant to the effectiveness of marketing styles.

A study conducted by Jacob Hirsh from the University of Toronto found that individuals scoring differently on the Big Five personality traits found advertisements targeted to their personality profile were rated as more effective than universal advertisements.

Using 324 participants, they created five advertisements, each designed to target one of the Big Five human personality traits: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. For example, individuals high in Agreeableness value familiarity, compassion, and belonging, those high in Openness value intellect and aesthetics, and people high in Neuroticism tend to worry and value security and safety.

The advertisements consisted of a paragraph of text next to a picture of a phone with the text altered to target a certain personality trait. For example, Extraverted participants received the tailored ad reading “With XPhone, you’ll always be where the excitement is” while Neurotics had “Stay safe and secure with the Phone” with participants being asked to rate the ads on their effectiveness.

It was found that, in every case, the personality-targeted advertisement was rated more effective than the universal one.


Hirsh stated “This research has broad implications for the development of tailored communication strategies across industries. Personality-based message design may be useful not only for advertisers, but also for fostering any number of outcomes, from health promotion, to civic engagement, to environmental responsibility.”

Huge amounts of money is spent every day on advertising tailored for demographic groups. Using the Big Five personality traits to target ads can improve effectiveness and help you understand your customers needs and motivations as well as how your products should be sold to them.


PROFILE gives businesses insight into the deep psychological profiles of each and every one of your customers. It allows you to view detailed reports on personality, hobbies, spending habits, due diligence and more so that you can use this data to target your advertisements based on the things that truly matter.

Dig deeper into your consumer base. Find out more about PROFILE today.

Author Clare Palmer