Feelings, nothing more than feelings: getting psychometrics right in the social profiling game


Psychometrics or psychographics is the field of study that attempts to measure and quantify the classic descriptions that psychology insights offer us. The use of a psychometric formula in order to measure a characteristic allows us to assign its value an actual number for any given individual. With psychometrics we can measure things that aren’t usually thought as measurable such as personalities, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, values, lifestyles, interests and activities.

So far psychometrics is widely used by companies for recruitment and also by educational institutions for the assessment of students. Companies like Assessment Systems, Pacific Metrics Corporation or Revelian, offer software that facilitates recruitment and assessment. And well-known companies such as City Group, Ford Motor and Hewlett Packard have incorporated psychometrics in their recruitment systems. Suffice to say that modern psychometrics go way beyond the IQ test and can measure many aspects of a candidate’s personality.

Perhaps the time is ripe for psychometrics to be incorporated to other business sectors such as marketing since, when used correctly it can offer valuable insights on individual personalities and preferences. Individuals are unique creatures and not everyone likes the same things; no two people are identical and hence marketing has to group individuals into different categories and target them accordingly. Knowing who to target and how instead of sending generic messages leads to higher success.

Consumer behavior is ultimately the result of psychological processes and an optimal target for measurement. Using a psychometric measurement formula can offer a channel of valuable insights and psychological dimensions become a powerful resource for all aspects of marketing and brand management. One needs to realize that where demographics were once the king, now psychographics are the rule. Whilst demographics can tell you who’s sitting in your funnel, psychographics will tell you why they are there and how they are interested in your brand or when they might buy from you.

Using psychometrics in customer segmentation could, in certain circumstances, decrease subjectivity and increases reliability in customer categorization, allowing you to build buyer personas for each grouping. The numerical measures of the psychological constructs generate new insights that allow a lot more flexibility and creativity for evaluating consumer behavior. This evaluation is grounded in psychology and allows you to develop a strategy based on more solid and valid data.

There are eight core human emotions that allow us to evaluate human reactions to situations or products: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust and joy. Integrating psychometric profiling with end to end customer experience information provides a marketing team with the quantitative certainty required to understand who is buying and how. Moreover we get actionable insights that can determine where to allocate the marketing budget and which customer groups to prioritize.

Ultimately marketing could be more than merely the art of persuasion. It has to be propelled by vision, leadership and creativity as much as by thoughtful data analysis. Time and again, we need to resort to emotive segmentation for understanding the motivations, aspirations, attitudes and values of the customers since emotions are the key to understanding our audiences.

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