The Trusty Oak Blog

How To Expand Buyer Personas with Personality Psychology

July 2, 2020

As small business owners, we often evolve and adapt our services to meet our client's ever-changing needs. We aim to understand their pain points and provide new solutions to problems. The more we see inside the customer's head, the more effective our marketing efforts can be.

However, in stressful times, it can be difficult to communicate our own needs let alone predict the needs of others. Creating client avatars or buyer personas is a common tool marketers use to articulate target customer goals, challenges and demographics. However, buyer personas tend to focus on the baseline everyday habits of clients.

What happens when this buyer persona encounters a crisis? Or a world-wide pandemic? How do the client's needs change based on different circumstances? Which pain points remain the same no matter what? How can entrepreneurs adapt buyer personas to understand customer behavior in a variety of scenarios?

Personality psychology can offer valuable insights when answering questions like these.

Related: How to Establish an Ideal Client: A Buyer Persona Guide

Choose a Personality Psychology Model

Exploring psychographics may help you understand your ideal clients' primary decision-making traits and cognitive patterns. Whether they are out and about, working from home, or focusing on family, they will most likely perceive experiences from the same vantage point. 

There are a variety of different personality psychology models to consider when expanding your buyer persona. Feel free to choose the model that resonates with you the most.

The Big Five Personality Model (OCEAN) is one of the most internationally accepted personality frameworks. This psychometric tool is the culmination of decades of psychology research from Raymond Cattell, Lewis Golderg, Paula Costa and Robert McCra. The philosophy measures the five dimensions that drive human behavior and rates the degree from 0-100.

    • Openness: Degree of abstract thinking, curiosity and imagination
    • Conscientiousness: Degree of determination, organization and responsibility
    • Extroversion: Degree of sociability, responsiveness and assertiveness
    • Agreeableness: Degree of empathy, compassion and trust 
    • Neuroticism: Degree of emotional instability, fear or anxiety 

When expanding your buyer persona, choose a numerical value for each personality trait. For instance, if your client has a low level of openness (0-20), how can you promote curiosity more in your messaging? How can your business help your client grow personality-wise?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the more secular personality typing tools and is based on psychiatrist Carl Jung's theories. His philosophy profiles 16 personality types and defines four core dynamics:

    • Introvert/Extrovert: Gain energy primarily from inner self or outer world
    • Sensor/Intuitive: Receive more sensory information or interpret its meaning
    • Thinker/Feeler: Make decisions using more logic or emotion
    • Judger/Perceiver: Desire more structure or spontaneity 

When creating your buyer persona, consider which dynamic dominates your client's behavior pattern. Does your client primarily make decisions based on external, cold-hard facts? Or internal, subjective feelings? How can you integrate this information into your sales funnel? 

For even more psychology insight, consider exploring the DiSC Personality Assessment, Enneagram Type Indicator and Clifton Strengths Talent Assessment.

Dive Deeper Into Your Own Psychology

If you're not sure how agreeable or intuitive your buyer persona may be, consider exploring your own behavioral patterns. The NERIS Type Explorer Test (16 Personalities) is a popular, free personality test that combines both the Big 5 and Myers-Briggs models. The psychometric tool profiles 16 archetypes and explores the personal and professional aspects of each type.

Articulating your own decision-making preferences can shed light on the most compatible buyer persona for you. For instance, intuitives tend to attract other intuitives. If you have high levels of organization, your ideal client may have low levels of organization, and therefore need your help more than a skilled organizer.

Food for thought: Our ideal client is often a previous or future version of ourselves!

Expand Buyer Persona

If you've already created a detailed buyer persona that includes demographics, long-term goals and pain points, now is the perfect time to add psychographics to the mix. You may even consider taking an assessment as if you are your client! Try answering the questions from the perspective of your buyer persona and observe how you answer the questions differently.

Once you know your buyer persona's personality type, identify how your strengths help increase and balance your client's traits. How does your archetype help your ideal client grow in every aspect of his or her life? How can your personality traits influence your client's habits even during times of crisis?

Review your marketing messaging including website, social profiles, videos, documentation etc. Confirm if you're communicating to your buyer persona from both demographic and psychographic perspectives. Does your messaging describe how you can increase your buyer persona's Big 5 traits? Do your call-to-actions align with how your ideal client primarily makes decisions?

Adapt and Connect

While personality typing doesn't cover all the facets of human interaction, psychometrics are helpful when exploring customer behavior. As businesses grow and reach new milestones, buyer personas can continue to expand.

Many entrepreneurs enjoy building long-term relationships with clients. As we ourselves grow, our favorite clients will grow alongside us. Our respective dimensions, dynamics and personality traits will expand. Technology continues to evolve and so does the nature of the economy.

While the world looks different every day, there will always be fundamental qualities that bring us closer together, human to human.

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About the Author

Alli Blotter

Alli is a marketing strategist and copywriter with over 15 years of storytelling experience. She believes every entrepreneur’s journey is inspiring. Every leader is a beacon of light blazing a new path for others to shine. Alli has owned and operated her own marketing agency for over 6 years. She provides content strategies for non-profits, coaches and wellness practitioners nationwide. Personal development is her jam and it’s to the tune of immersive experiences. Alli specializes in providing conscious content solutions for event campaigns including conferences, retreats and workshops.

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