Personality Does Not Matter to Marketing Practitioners: a Debate

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Consumer Behaviour

Personality Does Not Matter to Marketing Practitioners: A Debate

Submitted By:
Chetna Mehra
FT13320

Introduction
Are you a chicken soup lover or prefer the good old tomato soup any day? Was it a jelly bean sandwich or the one with peanut butter last time you craved for? Popcorn or Pretzels? A peak into small choices that you make can bring an immense delight to a marketer, as he would know what to sell you and when? No, he is not a spy but a pro on understanding personality types. One of the best tools for marketer is an insight of his/her target customers' overall personality. Personality is defined as the inner psychological characteristics that determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment. The marketers has closely come to examine these psychological characteristics and use it to rev-up the not just the sales revenues but promote brand image and identity among the consumers. They have been successful too. Thanks to the media communication messages that focus on various personality traits of the consumers, these products and brands have not just found a trait in consumers' shelves now but hearts too. The inner characteristics or those special qualities, attributes, traits, factors, and mannerisms of an individual reflects his or her response towards a product or the marketing messages. A personality portrays three major properties:

* It reflects individual differences: Personality enables the marketers to categorise individuals on the basis of some specific traits. If each consumer portrayed different personality traits it would be impossible to segment the customers and develop similar products and media messages for them. * Personality is consistent and enduring: Although mostly the consumers' personalities remain consistent, their consumption behaviour may vary in case of shift in the psychological, environmental, behavioural, or socio-cultural factors. * Personality can change: The property may contradict the above point but personalities indeed change. In case of major life events such as marriage, birth of a child, death in the family the individual personality may register a shift psychologically and in terms of consumption patterns too. Theories Of Personality

Marketers have based their study of consumer personality on the basis of personality theories. Three of the most famous are: * Freudian Theory
* Non- Freudian Theory
* Trait Theory
The famous Psychoanalytical Theory of Personality by Sigmund Freud forms the basis of marketers' consumer personality research. Freud came up with three interacting systems of a personality called: * Id: The warehouse of primitive and impulsive drives such as thirst, hunger and sex for which an individual seek immidiate gratification. * Ego: It is an individual's concious control. Ego is driven by rationality and reality. * Superego: Superego develops as the individual develops. It encourages one to display ethical conduct and morality. Superego can be unreasonable demanding perfection and conscience. Consumer Personality and Freudian Theory

Research shows that consumers buy those products or service which are reflection and extension of their own personalities. A person channelise his or her personal desires by purchasing or using the products that corresponds to those desires. They want to buy the product but don't know the true reason behind the purchase. For example, according to a study called 'What flavour is your personality' by Alan Hirsch (Naperville, H. Sourcebooks 2001), Potato Chips consumers tend to be ambitious, successful, high achiever, impatient with less than the best whereas, the ones' who like Pretzels are lively, easily bored with same old routine, flirtatious, intuitive, may over commit to projects. Neo-Freudian Personality Theories and Consumer Personality

Freud’s colleagues (Alfred Adler, Harry Stack Sullivan, and Karen Horney) who did not agree with him...
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