Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hormones - why they can improve your marketing campaign

When you think "target audience", don´t just consider age, gender and social status, but also lifestyle and personality.
Did you know that your personality - and shopping behaviour - is defined by which type of hormone that is dominant in your body? According to anthropologist Helen Fisher in her amazing book "Why him? Why her?", people think, feel, behave and love differently, depending on if they are influenced by dopamine, serotonin, testosterone or estrogen. You will also be drawn to people whose genes are mainly influenced by a certain hormone, matching your own.
So how can you find out which type you are? Fisher explains the four types in her book, in which you can also do a test to find out. In short, the types work like this:
Dopamine makes a person willing to take risks, constantly seeking novelty and new experiences. The “explorers” are adventurous, optimistic, curious, energetic and creative. They find it harder than others to settle, and they are the once who most often get divorced.
Serotonin on the other hand make people calm, social, cautious, loyal and fond of rules and facts. The “builders” are often conventional and good at building social networks. They are family oriented and like stability.
Testosterone makes you direct, decisive focused, analytical, logical, tough-minded, exacting, emotionally contained and good at strategic thinking. Most people who are driven by testosterone are competitive and bold. You can spot them by looking at someone´s forehead, since it is often  broad and high.
Estrogen is a hormone that makes people see the bigger picture and think holistically. The "negotiators" have good verbal skills and can read body language, tone of voice and facial expressions easily. They tend to be altruistic, idealistic and emotionally expressive.  You can see on a person´s round face and full lips that they are mainly driven by estrogen.
People who are explorers usually like and get lucky with other explorers, while builders like builders. For the other personality types, opposites attract; testosterone driven directors attract estrogen driven negotiators, and the other way around.
Of course, all of us have a little of every hormone, but usually one type is dominant with another as secondary influencer of personality.
This means for marketers, media planners and brand strategists, that you can´t simply say "people" do like this, because we are all so different. Someone who is a dopamine driven explorer want to try a new shampoo every time, while a seroton driven person might like the shampoo bottle to look cute - and to come in pairs so you can give one to a friend!
Looking at ways to separate people beyond the obvious physical traits that market research normally use, is a new way to gain understanding. When you broaden your view on people to include insights on personalities - through Ayurvedic body types, Myers-Briggs and other ancient or modern ways of categorising people - you will attain knowledge beyond lazy facts, and reach people´s heart.

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