Thought leadership

Let’s admit it: online marketing shares more than a few things in common with online dating. In each case, you’re faced with a sea of profiles, but meaningful information about the people behind them is rare. As Valentine’s Day draws closer, you know that many of the newcomers to your site will be good matches—but without insight into individual personalities, those with the strongest potential are easily lost in the crowd.

For retailers and brands courting new prospects in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, help is at hand. The latest advances in psychological profiling enable marketers to go beyond the scope of conventional tools and understand what really motivates their online visitors. Researchers in this field have spent decades building rich models based on the “Big Five” personality factors: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

 If there’s one thing that Valentine’s Day shopping highlights, it’s that customers react favourably if marketing strategies are aligned with these unique personality traits. Promoting racy lingerie might drive high conversion rates among risk-taking Dramatic Lovers—but no one would expect the same result for the risk-averse Tender Hearts. By the same token, personalities that prefer to spend weeks deciding on the perfect present will react very differently to a time-sensitive marketing campaign than those who habitually leave their purchasing decisions to the spur of the moment.

 Generic, catch-all approaches to advertising and marketing can turn off even the keenest prospects. To spark imaginations and capture sales, leading retailers have realised the need to combine psychographic, demographic and behavioural data to understand and communicate with their online audience on a one-to-one basis.

 Crunching big data on thousands of customer profiles offers unprecedented insights into the personalities of online visitors. Within moments of a prospect arriving on the site, retailers can identify their propensity to purchase, and respond with the appropriate messaging to capture their interest—even if they have never converted there before. And thanks to emotionally intelligent retargeting strategies, a new relationship needn’t be a casual thing.

By reaching out to prospects with messages that connect at an emotional level, retailers can go beyond the seasonal sell and transform first-time purchases into life-long loyalty. With highly accurate segments based on customer personality types, relationship statuses and more, retailers can uncover hidden affinities between seasonal and perennial purchases. The result is highly engaging and effective advertising and marketing campaigns that keep customers coming back all year round.

 On Valentine’s Day and beyond, analytics and psychology are a match made in heaven—and retailers that can combine these disciplines will gain valuable competitive advantage. There’s never been a better time to get up close and personal.

Ed Weatherall is Client Director, VisualDNA

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