I talked in an earlier post about the famous 4 Ps that we are taught in all Marketing 101 courses. This concept of Product, Placement, Price and Promotion was developed in the early 60s and has been widely adopted in corporations and classrooms since then. Because I am a market researcher, the application of the 4 P’s is something that I also utilize in my day to day work for clients, but recently, I have begun to introduce another P that I feel is just as important – Personality.
I have two kids, one girl and one boy. Despite their coming from the same parents, being raised in the same house and being treated the same in terms of rules, discipline and respect, they could not be more different. My daughter, the oldest, has always been a rule follower and people pleaser. She would sit quietly and do her classwork, begin projects way before the deadline and worried obsessively over making an 89 on any assignment. Give her a box of crayons as a five year old and she would organize them in “rainbow order” before meticulously completing a picture by staying carefully inside the lines.
In contrast, my son could really care less about his grades, proudly announcing that at least he “passed” the test. He loves school, not because of the educational opportunities and lifestyle it will afford him one day, but because it’s where his friends are. Look in the dictionary under “class clown” and you will see his picture. Some teachers tell me that he is “a hoot” – others just send him to detention. Give him a box of crayons as a five year old and he immediately would turn each into a pretend pistol, along with nearby sticks, pencils or French fries.
I’ve had discussions with other parents about this issue and have yet to decide if it’s a boy/girl thing or a kid one/kid two thing. I have friends with both similar and different stories, regardless of the number, age, gender or order of their children. None of us can make sense of it, other than agreeing that all the bad traits come from the spouse’s side of the family. The bottom line is that every individual has a different personality and marketers need to understand this when dealing with the other four P’s.
I used to work for a home builder. In one of our divisional offices there was a marketing director that, at face value, “looked” exactly like me. We would have both checked the same gender, age, education, marital status and income boxes on a standard survey. However, she was the type of person that wanted to buy an old home, gut it and build it back with historical details. In contrast, I love new homes. I will always have a “new” home. When my windows get dirty, I don’t wash them; I sell the house and buy a new one. OK, not in this economy, but you get the idea… I used this point a lot in my presentations to the division presidents as I tried to make them understand that you had to think beyond basic demographics when formulating your product and accompanying marketing strategy. They didn’t want to waste their limited ad dollars talking to “Her,” they wanted to spend their money finding and selling to “Me”. Using traditional research methods and standard demographic “check boxes”, this might be missed. A good market researcher will recognize the important role a personality can play in the outcome of a project and should consider recommending a “Psychographic” component to complement Demographic variables. And as a good parent, I recognize that having different personalities in my family can only make for more interesting parent-teacher conferences and dinner conversations. Give me a call and I’ll help you figure out what your customers are talking about around their dinner tables as well.