The premise of the 1921 book, “How to Analyze People on Sight: The Five Human Types,” tells us that there are certain characteristics in how muscle and bones are formed that become a person’s traits. Now, this is, of course, not a real science, it’s umbrella-ed under the pseudoscience of eugenics, but it does have some fun fodder for those of us that design experiences and those that market them. Using the Five Human Types, we’ll take a look at how this past-its-prime pseudoscience can be refashioned and reimagined to inform the present in finding the hidden “fat” customer. He is one of the final frontiers in making your marketing campaign effective. If you know who your consumer is, have identified their likes and dislikes, then you can find your skinny-fat man that likes cakes!

In order to determine what type your market is, you’ll need to discover what customer types  may be interested in buying, and what larger platforms are optimal to advertise on. For example, the alimentative type, or the fat man, has rounded shoulders, childlike baby fingers, and a tendency to be overweight—according to the 1921 book. The “fat” type doesn’t guarantee that person to actually be fat (don’t worry, this isn’t about fat-shaming!), but it does mean a likelihood for that (customer) type to be larger than normal, or to enjoy certain things, such as fine food and soft, comfortable clothing. 

Continuing to use the Five Human Types model, take a look at the alimentative type, or “fat man” again, the one who likes soft clothing and good foods, as well as the thoracic type that likes fine foods and expensive clothing. What they share is a love of soft, possibly expensive clothing, and fine, good foods. Thus, it makes sense if you sell gourmet cakes, then advertise your cakes in a place where you can hit both markets—like a locale that’s close to a slightly schmancy clothing store. Finding similarities between types is a great place to start identifying cross-over areas, it will also help provide visibility to the unrealized customer. 

Modern Group Projecting & Salesmanship in the 21st Century

Modern theory on group projecting tells us that we can find our target market through who are market already is. We don’t sell people things, we find people who may need or want our product and make it available to them.

The American salesman has been dead since the '50s and the car salesman is going out with him. Don’t sell: Get people to buy.

For example, if we know professional women buy our delicious chocolatey spread, we may focus flyers and emails on offices with female dominated fields, or we may use Pinterest to #clientgifts, as women use Pinterest with greater frequency than men, and Pinterest generated 400 percent more revenue per click than Twitter.

Finding new people to advertise to can be difficult, but by finding your fat man in skinny man’s clothes, you can exponentially expand your market.

Finding the Fat Man

The demographic that is missing here is the customer who wants to buy, but may not be the number one current demographic. I would like to write about how to find those orphaned customers, and how to market to them. I’ve got cake in a room full of skinny men, I will find the “fat man” who wants this cake.

1. Take a full narrative of your current clientele

Finding out who your current client base is, is absolutely vital when looking to invest anything into marketing.

Asking questions like:

Finding out all you can about your customer and client. That alone can find existing markets to explore. Or people who are being underutilized. A collection of zip codes helped the Point Defiance Zoo increase membership by 13 percent in 2014 by distributing membership discounts in neighborhoods that held frequent visitors. A strong start is a focus on the market as it exists, get people who are already coming, or are already part of you current crowd.

2. Search for any missing platforms used by your audience

Companies thrive on Twitter, and answer more questions on Facebook, but many companies miss opportunities to diversify their social media portfolio based on local needs.

Find any missing markets not being addressed that are similar to your current clientele. This may sound a little silly, but getting a fresh set of eyes really helps. A wool company may be hitting their key knitting clients hard, but totally forgetting crocheters. Hitting similar markets also means diversifying your social media. Companies thrive on Twitter, and are able to answer more questions on Facebook, but many companies miss opportunities to diversify their social media portfolio based on local needs. One company who owns international recruiting by utilizing an array of social sites is Telekom. They recruit on Xing in the DACH region (and recruited four times faster than the average German company), Linkedin in the US, and Viadeo in France. By diversifying their outreach to each country’s prefered platforms they are outreaching to their highest potential.

3. Find the Skinny-Fat Man & Target Your Niche Market

Find your skinny-fat man. He is one of the final frontiers in making your marketing campaign effective. If you know who your consumer is, have identified their likes and dislikes, then it is time to utilize the larger untapped market, your skinny-fat man.

By painting a caricature of your consumer by fitting them into one of the molds you can look at their other interests and invest there. The osseous (bony) type, physically this person may look like their joints are too large for his body, but is stubborn and hard, is the most unlikely to part with his money according the book—but he likes driving himself forward, taking charge of his future, climbing hills. He is the most likely to enjoy activities like marathons, or fasting.

If you are a seller of expensive flowers, he is the opposite of your target market, but selling your flowers as something that is both an economical and exquisite gift for other people, or by advertising your flowers as a goal (a poster of a flowers on top of a mountain with people having to climb towards it) you harness the unrealized market of flower buyers who would have seen flowers as excessive otherwise.

Spring Into Pastel Color Palettes… And Stay Awhile

The skinny-fat type hides in unexpected places. Use the information about your consumer that is not directly related to your company. Perhaps you uncover during your research that people who buy expensive cakes dress differently than people who visit book stores. In bookstores you may find small, smartly dressed children or people dressed down and in bright colors, whereas in cake shops, you may see people in more comfortable fabrics, lots of cashmere and jersey dresses, more polo shirts. By advertising your expensive cake store near places where people can purchase more of that comfy, but sharp, attire, you will pick up more of your market that may not exactly match your target: the skinny-fat man.

For example, if you are selling luxury vans to new families, you would be looking for high earning, married families who are looking to make a smart choice. Advertising in upwardly mobile markets is a good idea, and of course around upper middle class suburbs and in family-friendly comedies on TV, but an unrealized demographic may be in Hindi neighborhoods. Hindu families may be your unrealized “fat man,” demographically speaking, most Hindus are married, 48% of them have postgraduate degrees, and as earners in America, they are beat only by Jewish families.

Location isn’t everything in advertising, certain types of people also prefer different colors, so by diversifying your advertising to include some of your larger market will make you stand out. If you are a bookstore, with blue and gray signage to signify trust, you will stand out more among red signs used in many small eateries, or in a brick-based downtown.

If your market is too niched, if you have explored all of your core market, then exploring interests of your core market that do not directly relate to your business and marketing there will pick up a larger chunk of people that you may not have realized want and need your product. Find your skinny fat man, and sell him as much cake as he can eat.