Chasing Ghosts: How Personality Survey Scales Can Help in Building Targeted Campaigns

My stats guru and co-advisor, Jim Sidanius, used to tell me that measuring personality traits is like chasing ghosts. While Ghost Hunters is great for entertainment, over the last 75 years researchers and statisticians have developed robust methods to measure traits through survey scales to make this goal more attainable. 

Sidanius is right in many respects, because traits are not directly observable--only behaviors are observable; the real reasons that cause those behaviors are not. Traits are the holy grail of personality psychology--the study of individual differences--and the key to personalized online marketing. Personality traits are motivations, dispositions, and behavioral tendencies that are stable over time and across situations, that vary between people, which is how survey scales can help you get to know consumers and break away from chasing ghosts. 

This is great news for marketers because different messages and products appeal to different people; the potential for an in-depth understanding of personality traits means a refined understanding of why people purchase. Personality traits are the most efficient summary of what makes people unique. With this understanding of personality, brands can offer more targeted marketing campaigns and executions based around different targeted personas.*

So, What exactly are “Survey Scales”?
Survey scales are questionnaires built out of multiple items (i.e, statements or questions) with responses given on a quantified rating scale, such as a Likert scale, in which you respondents rate how much they agree with an item on a 1-7 scales that goes from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. A survey scale is built out of three or more related items that measure some underlying trait, and a respondent’s score on a given trait is simply the sum of his or her responses for all items on the scale. These scales must exhibit what is referred to as reliability and validity, also known as precision and accuracy, respectively.

The problem with existing scales is that they are exceptionally boring, and not well-suited to an online environment. We have developed a large set of scales that are more engaging, and designed to understand who people are and what motivates them in the most efficient way possible. We believe our scales are even more valid than many analogous scales in the literature today. Our proprietary psychographic scales can help marketers better understand their consumers without having to track their behavior, and target them with the ideal product and messaging.

*Personality traits “represent the optimal resolution of the trade-off between bandwidth and fidelity that characterizes all [individual difference] hierarchies.”


Traits vs. Types

personality psychology Consumer Behavior quizzes Traits and Scales Psychology and Marketing Motivation Surveys

Posted by Kyle Thomas on Nov 16, 2012

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