Take the TRAITS Survey and See What Really Drives Choice

As marketers, the holy grail of any survey method or model would have to be something that could help us predict how a targeted audience would react given a particular offer.   Conjoint Analysis and its ability to flush out the offering-price combination that a given demographic would choose has always been a favorite tool for developing irresistible offerings.  Then there’s the recent focus on fMRI work as described by Martin Lindstrom in his business best seller “Buyology,” where he outlines the peculiarity with which our brains are wired and driven by deeply ingrained emotional drivers.  Or how about Dan Ariely, the brilliant economist who studies our tendency for irrational decision making?

Well, if the models I’ve mentioned above aren’t enough for you, now there is something called a “TRAITS” model that’s been introduced by a couple of professors from Duke University, Scott De Marchi and James T. Hamilton.

The TRAITS model stands for six attributes that these two social scientists uncovered as part of their studies around why people choose to do what they do and how they choose to do what they do.  They’ve written a new book about it called “You are What You Choose: The Habits of Mind That Really Determine How We Make Decisions.

The six TRAITS attributes are:

  1. Time: Do you have a shorter term view or a longer-term view of life?  Scoring high on the “Time” trait means that you forgo short-term gain for long-term value.
  2. Risk:   A lower score on the risk attribute means that you are more risk averse, while a higher score means that you can tolerate more risk.
  3. Altruism: To what degree are your decisions driven by your focus on the welfare of others?  A low score means that you may simply have a lack of action or low interest in charitable activities and a high score means that you are “other centered.”
  4. Information:  If you are an information junkie, then you probably score high in information.  A lower score means that you do not seek out as much information to drive your decision-making.
  5. MeToo:  A high score on this attribute puts you in a sort of “status-seeker” category.   Think in terms of “keeping up with the Jones’.”  A low score means that you are more individualistic about your choices and not so influenced by what others are doing or not doing.
  6. Stickiness:  This attribute measures what role loyalty plays in how you decide.  A high score in this area points to being loyal to a brand or value while a low score means that you can switch easily to an alternative.  Think about being in a restaurant and having the waitress as “Is Pepsi ok?”  If you score high on Stickiness and love Coke, you might answer “NO!  Get me a Coke!”

What’s Your TRAITS profile?

Start your profile here: http://traits.time.questionpro.com.   At the end of each set of 5 questions, you will be re-directed to a “spotlight report” where you can see how your answers compare with other readers’.  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to see your score for each attribute.  You might want to print or save each spotlight report for future reference.  If you have problems, you can take each of the TRAITS profiles separately: TIME, RISK, ALTRUISM, INFORMATION, meTOO, STICKINESS.

The real power behind these TRAITS is in your ability to literally segment your markets and design your messages around what’s really important to these people.  Use these TRAITS as an enhancement to your existing demographics and watch your marketing results improve.

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers and the President of Third Force, a strategic marketing firm. She's the marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a frequent contributor to AMEX Open Forum.

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