Few marketing coaches and experts consider personality when giving marketing advice. Such and such a technique is the hot thing, or it’s worked for “everyone” – and therefore you should pick it up and run with it, they advise, even if you feel uneasy, fearful or contemptuous of it. Time and time again, I’ve seen business owners and entrepreneurs dutifully try to execute the advice only to do it badly, half-heartedly or with their finger pinching their nose. Others receiving the advice promise to get right on it but delay, delay, delay until the uncomfortable recommendations slip quietly off their to-do list.
My perspective is different. If you feel that specific marketing advice goes against your grain, I encourage you to follow your instincts and ignore that advice. Look for marketing alternatives that feel more comfortable for you and better fit your preferences, habits and beliefs. They offer a faster, less stressful route to success.
A good tool for exploring your natural marketing style is the Myers-Briggs personality system. Let’s take a look at how it applies to one of the major introverted personality types. An introvert is someone who energizes and recharges best when alone, while feeling drained by too much social interaction. (In contrast, an extrovert would rather not be alone and feels most alive around other people.)
In the Myers-Briggs type system, the INFJ (Intuitive/Feeling/Judging Introvert) type is a gentle, caring, intuitive individual who values relationships and has endless curiosity about what motivates people. An INFJ tends to act spontaneously rather than with planning, cherishes deeply held spiritual or global ideals, and dreads conflict. For good or for evil, INFJs easily inspire others through their charismatic and sensitive intelligence.
According to introvert watchers, some well-known INFJs are Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Eleanor Roosevelt, Billy Crystal, Carl Jung, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adolf Hitler, Shirley MacLaine, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Mulan (the Disney Princess).
If a Myers-Briggs test indicates that you are an INFJ, then you will probably feel very good about marketing methods like these:
· Creating imaginative symbols, logos or images that crystallize your message or method of working
· Crafting visually interesting and verbally resonant advertising
· Incorporating your ideals into everyday business, such as through “green” initiatives
· Using your visionary thinking to issue and publicize predictions for your industry
· Leveraging key relationships to create leadership or publicity opportunities
· Offering insightful advice through a Q&A blog, column or radio/TV/video show
· Rallying your industry to a work-related, somewhat controversial cause
As an INFJ, you don’t normally seek out the limelight, but you don’t object when others nominate you for “___er of the Year” honors. With your great attunement to other people, you find it hard to set limits when clients need your help, and you may need to take special steps to prevent burnout. Avoid tasks or positions requiring great attention to detail. Also avoid roles where you might have to testify in court or defend your position to skeptics, since you usually come to conclusions without direct consideration of evidence. Choose employees, clients and project partners carefully so as to minimize conflicts. Be respectful of those who don’t share your commitments.
Above all, do not pretend to be or act like a passionless professional, because as an INFJ, that is most definitely not you! When you use the ideas above to incorporate your intense caring about people and the world into your marketing outreach, you will attract clients who share and respect your instinctive, deeply felt concerns – and are thrilled to be working with you.