For decades, marketers have longed searched for ways to reach, engage and nurture their customers. And while technologies such as smartphones and beacons, to name a few, have surely helped determine an additional layer of context of today’s savvy shopper — from where they are to times of day they shop to their favorite brand names — not enough emphasis has been put on why a consumer’s behavioral traits influences the way they shop.

Shoppers aren’t just a collective group with a standard set of characteristics. Like me and you, they are individuals who are often difficult to understand. Take two 27-year-old women for instance, who we know from data, both make the same income, shop at the same stores, and may even purchase the same brand name. Or, maybe we can tell one is a Mom, while the other is single. But, what we may not know is that one of them feeds off emotion, while the other analyzes every situation until the cows come home. How are your marketing initiatives different for each of them? Are you able to identify each of their moods, emotions and behaviors and then personalize and tailor your message to them? Or, are you unknowingly pushing one away because you’re only considering the data you have on their purchase history, instead of tapping into other contextual insights that help ascertain what motivated them to purchase your product to begin with?

Standard demographics marketers have become accustomed to can only show borderline information of shoppers – not necessarily what truly moves, motivates or annoys them. We’re not saying this data is necessarily the ultimate difference maker – we’re just asking that you question the level to which it’s being analyzed. Understanding why your ideal customer decides to walk into your competitor’s store instead of yours after you’ve collected mountains of data on them and pushed them countless offers and intriguing promotions, requires a much deeper analysis of why that shopper made the decision she, or he did. It’s just not enough to solely use a shopper’s makeup anymore – their income level, occupation and even their favorite stores – if you want to have an impact on them through your omnichannel marketing initiatives. The good news here is that many of the answers in shopper behavior can be found in their animal nature – their temperament – their why.

Below, we analyze the four temperaments, a proto-psychological medical theory that was developed to help treat patients by the great Greek physician, Hippocrates. We also give you suggestions of how to adjust your marketing campaigns and strategies to each temperament so you can tap into your consumer’s why, personalize their buying experience and ultimately convert them into long-term customers.

1. The Sanguine
Fundamentally, the sanguine is an impulsive, pleasure-seeking social butterfly. They yearn attention and thrive at being in the center of it. I bet you can picture a sanguine you know right now! Their expressive, optimistic attitude enables this type to be quite the motivator and influencer to those around them. Not too many sanguines make decisions based on logic, as they tend to let their emotions get in the way.

Because sanguines naturally have a show-off appeal to them, it would be smart to have these individuals as your brand ambassadors – your influencers. Making them feel like they are a valuable piece of the puzzle to your brand, can push them to have a say about your product, as well as share promotions with their social groups – which most sanguines are the leader of their pack. A rewards or loyalty program would be an excellent way to get a sanguine on your team.

2. The Choleric
You will know right away when you come across a choleric individual. Their intensity is well, intense, and though many refer to them as a “type A” personality, they can also be highly sensitive and easily hurt. Cholerics need to feel like they are in charge and tend to come off as bossy. However, the choleric is extremely savvy, logical, analytical, and has an excessive energy output which makes them quick and decisive when making a decision.

Marketers need to proceed with caution with these bold-headed individuals, as they can be quick to dismiss and no apology, or incentive will have them turning back. Fortunately, choleric types have a hard time missing out on an opportunity. Your messaging should convey urgency but, be mindful to have your promotions get right to the point, as a choleric has no time to beat around the bush when their mind is set on making a purchase. A coupon wouldn’t hurt too for these savvy shoppers!

3. The Phlegmatic
Can you think of someone you work with or maybe a relative that always seems so cool, calm and collected? These cool cats are your phlegmatics. They seek harmony, peace and meaningful relationships. Unlike a choleric, phlegmatics keep their emotions on a tight leash and often avoid conflict at all costs. However, they can be quick to judge and resist change.

Marketers can look at a phlegmatic in two ways. One is that this temperament could be very easily sold to because they have an extremely difficult time saying “no” but, they often rely on the approval of others first. For your sake, hopefully they have some sanguine friends talking them into it. On the other hand, they can be slower than a snail when it comes to making a decision. Our advice would be to test the boundaries with these indecisive introverts. See what happens after the first, or even second interaction with them. The key is to build up their confidence and take a nice, slow and steady walk with them on their purchasing journey.

4. The Melancholy                                                                                        Melancholies thrive on set routines and traditions, and anything out of the “norm” for them can feel miserably foreign. The absolute defining characteristic of this breed is their need to be perfect. Their logical thought process often has them carefully considering and reconsidering everything until a rational and safe judgment can be made. While some would consider a melancholy as the Debbie Downer of the group, others would argue that they are incredibly thoughtful, organized, and best at attending to details.

We’re not going to lie – a melancholy can be a tough cookie to steer down a path to purchase. Because they can be incredibly analytical, slow to process and set in their ways, it could be a challenge to find a happy medium with them. Our recommendation is to eliminate the guesswork, lay out all of the facts, make them feel “safe”, and not rush them on their buying journey. Your secret sauce to cracking a melancholy? Use customer testimonials to reinforce the “value” of your product.

Hippocrates believed that the four temperaments had to do with the concept that four bodily fluids – the four humors – affected human personality traits and behaviors. By segmenting these temperaments, he was able to care for individuals better and provide them with a more distinguished and personalized treatment. Like Hippocrates, marketers too, should incorporate the four temperaments into their targeting strategy to identify the behavior of their ideal customer. Not all customers will express only one temperament however, so it’s important to examine your customer’s full story before assuming they resemble only one particular type. Lastly, temperaments should not be treated like a list of demographics, but rather, a complex set of elements that can be used in conjunction with your shopper data so you can be fully equipped to guide them successfully down their purchasing journey.

So, how do you tap into shopper’s temperaments? ShopAdvisor can give you a head start by providing a deeper understanding of your ideal consumer through our contextualized intelligence. You can click here to learn more about our capabilities. 

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