• Sarah Macpherson

Ogilvy: The Real Who, an investigation of behavioral science in marketing

Updated: Jun 12


A report from Ogilvy Consulting details the key to the future of marketing: behavioral science. Known by many names, behavioral science is the study of the cognitive processes that underlie decision-making and behavior. While marketing has historically relied upon understanding customers by sorting them into superficial, “outside-in” traits (Slide 36), Ogilvy highlights that it is time to understand people from the “inside-out” (Slide 37) -- meaning a focus on underlying motivations. Per Ogilvy, one of the core elements of this “inside out” customer understanding, or cognitive segmentation, is personality (Slide 39).


Numerous academic studies, including some by two of Pinpoint’s advisors: (1) Dr. Sandra Matz (Money buys happiness when spending fits our personality); and (2) Dr. Michal Kosinski (Psychological targeting as an effective approach to digital mass persuasion), have indicated the intimate link between personality and purchase-level decision making (Slide 40). Aligning marketing messaging with customer personality is an effective and powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal. Ogilvy uses the same psychological framework that we do here at Pinpoint - the “Big Five” or “OCEAN” model (Slide 41). OCEAN is the gold standard in quantitative psychology, and enables quantification of personality traits across the Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism factors Worth noting that Pinpoint further extends the model to what is referred to as the “Deep OCEAN”, capturing personality scores for six unique facets under each of the Big Five factors (enabling predictive power from a total of 35 personality dimensions).


Most importantly, Ogilvy uses this framework to illustrate that two consumers who would be logically grouped together from superficial demographic and/or behavioral traits, frequently have very different personalities (Slide 48) - and therefore respond very differently to engagement messages. This is exactly the type of discrepancy that Pinpoint addresses with our Thinkalike® targeting and creative optimization services.


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