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Get inside your customers’ heads: How psychometrics can revolutionise your car sales.

What is it?

Psychometrics is an area of psychology that focuses on developing and using tests to measure abstract psychological concepts such as typology, personality traits, preferences, attitudes and cognitive abilities.

By understanding how your prospects and customers think, feel, behave, process, learn and decide, you can tailor your communication strategies to connect with them more effectively. The result will be an increase in your sales and customer retention rates.

We've seen conversion improvements of between10% and 45%, so psychometrics is not just a minor tweak but a strategic evolutionary must!

The principles are simple:

Every human has a typology that reveals a pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that tend to be consistent over time and in different situations. These are known as 'psychological typologies and preferences'. Each typology responds to different messaging. To elicit the same response (in this case, buying a car or service), you must tailor your communication (tone, reassurance, emphasis, sequence, and channel) to match typologies.

In other words, without employing psychometric segmentation, you'll likely captivate only 20% of your target audience, leaving 60% indifferent and alienating the final 20%!

To understand why, let's take a quick look at the science behind it.

Psychological typologies

There are several different frameworks for organising typologies, but one of the most well-known is the "Big Five" OCEAN model, which includes the following five dimensions:

  1. Openness. People who score high on openness are more likely to be interested in new ideas, experiences, and products. For example, you could emphasise the uniqueness and innovation of new cars or services and offer opportunities to try and explore them differently.

  2. Conscientiousness. People who score high on conscientiousness are more likely to value reliability, quality, and attention to detail. You could emphasise your cars' or services' quality and reliability and offer guarantees or warranties to overcome doubt.

  3. Extraversion. People who score high on extraversion are likely outgoing, social, and enthusiastic. For example, you could use bright and bold visuals and language, offer opportunities for social engagement or community building, and create high-energy events or promotions.

  4. Agreeableness. People who score high on agreeableness are likely to value harmony, cooperation, and empathy. You could emphasise your products or services' social or environmental impact, highlight your charitable or community-oriented initiatives, and use language and visuals that promote cooperation and empathy.

  5. Neuroticism. People who score high on neuroticism are likely to experience negative emotions and be sensitive to stress. You could use language and visuals that promote calm and relaxation, highlight your products or services' safety and security features, and offer discounts or promotions to alleviate financial stress.

Not everyone will fit neatly into one of these categories; there will always be some overlap. Also, personality typologies are not completely fixed, and life experiences, personal growth and conscious efforts to change oneself can gradually shift them.

In addition to the Big Five, there are other frameworks for organising psychometric typologies, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, HEXACO, D.I.S.C. or CORE models. Which works best? This largely depends on your data, target audiences and objectives.

How you can use it

Once you have your customer database segmented, you will be able to improve:

  1. Targeted marketing campaigns tailored to customers' personalities and preferences.

  2. Personalised recommendations for products or services likely to resonate with specific traits.

  3. Chatbots and conversational marketing, delivering more relevant, engaging, effective and satisfying interactions.

  4. Loyalty programs offering rewards, special promotions, or exclusive content based on each segment's needs or perceived value.

  5. Promotional and pricing strategies based on understanding the attributes a customer is more willing to pay for.

  6. Customer support using tailored support strategies based on understanding specific support requirements for each segment.

  7. Cross-selling, upselling and bundling based on the popularity of products and services within each segment.

Before we move on to how to practically collect the required data, let's first tackle the Cambridge Analytica elephant in the room.

Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica was a political consulting firm involved in Brexit, the 2016 United States presidential election, and other political campaigns worldwide.

The firm used a personality quiz app called "This Is Your Digital Life" and collected data on millions of Facebook users and their friends to build voters' psychometric profiles.

Cambridge Analytica then used these profiles to target political advertising to individual voters in a highly personalised and micro-targeted way, influencing their perceptions, behaviour and swinging elections in favour of its clients.

The use of psychometric profiling and data mining techniques sparked massive controversy and raised concerns about privacy and the misuse of personal data.

In 2018, Cambridge Analytica was shut down, and its executives faced a lot of scrutiny and legal action. The scandal led to a global debate about the ethics of data collection and the use of personal data in political campaigns. It impacted how personal data is collected, used, and regulated today.

How to ethically and effectively collect data

Firstly, you must collect them legally and in compliance with relevant data protection laws, such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and similar regulations in other regions and countries.

Secondly, you must collect high-quality data from a diverse and representative sample of your customers and use appropriate statistical methods to analyse it. Although there is no minimum amount of data required, the more data you have, the more accurate and reliable the profiles will be.

Thirdly, you must not turn this into an academic exercise. Your data collection, analysis and segmentation process has to be practical and feasible. That will exclude the following methods, which are anything but.

How NOT to do it

Paradoxically, you have to ignore the methods that would give you the best and most accurate insights into your target audiences' personalities, behaviours and preferences They are:

  1. Self-reporting questionnaires. One of the most widely used methods for psychometric profiling, where individuals complete a series of questions assessing their personality traits, attitudes, and other psychological constructs.

  2. Interviews. Great for assessing more complex psychological constructs such as cognitive abilities or emotional intelligence.

  3. Observations. Includes observing people in their natural settings or creating a controlled observation environment.

  4. Biometric measures. Measuring heart rate, skin conductance, and brain waves measure physiological responses to stimuli.

  5. Online surveys. Gathering data on visitors' personality traits, interests, and values through questions about their favourite activities, beliefs, opinions, motivations and goals.

  6. Customer feedback. Determining your customers' personality traits, interests, and values through asking for feedback and experience interacting with you.

They all are fantastic for academics and research institutions but impractical, time intensive, and expensive for car manufacturers or retailers.

What you need to do instead is analyse your existing data.

Analyse your existing data

You have all you need in your CRMs, Lead Management, and Call Centre databases. Although they were not designed to collect data for psychometric profiling, they hold enough information to create very comprehensive profiles, including:

  1. Demographic information, such as age, gender, and income all help to identify patterns and correlations with psychological traits.

  2. Purchase history and transactional data provide insights into consumer behaviour, preferences, and attitude to risk.

  3. Customer behaviour data, such as browsing history or engagement with marketing materials, provide insights into their interests and motivations.

  4. Social media and online activity data provide insights into customers' preferences, interests, and behaviours.

  5. Loyalty program participation provides indications of certain psychometric traits.

  6. Customer service interactions and frequency, such as emails and chat transcripts, provide insights into consumer satisfaction, preferences, behaviour, language, tone, and communication style.

These are just a few indicators a scientific analysis will use to identify patterns and effectively segment your customers.

What to do next

After finalising your segments, there are three additional steps to take.

First is identifying a few existing marketing or follow-up flow campaigns to test, validate and optimise your segments. Comparing the new and previous performance on each will give you a better understanding of what works much faster than starting from scratch with a brand-new campaign.

Second is crafting the messaging for each email and follow-up sequence for each segment that uses the language, tone of voice, assurances, context, sequence, visuals, and channel most appropriate for each personality typology.

The final step is setting it all up on your marketing automation platform (you can't do this using Outlook), launching it, evaluating the results, and optimising segments, messaging and sending rules.

After that, you can apply the rules and learnings to the rest of your database, channels, and communications flows and automate the entire process.

The good news is that with the right partner, none of this is as difficult or expensive as it might sound. You can be up and running in weeks, not months or years, and since the ROI is an absolute no-brainer, psychometrics profiling could be the most visible improvement you make this year.

Where should you start?

Start by contacting us.

Your analytics or marketing teams are unlikely to have all the right skills or experiences, and you would need external data analysts and consumer psychologists to make it work. You might also need the right marketing automation experts to help.

We have the right people and partners to make it happen quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Contact us today. We can help.


Got questions or thoughts you'd like to share? We love a good conversation! Let's discuss your insights.

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