The Myth of the Perfect Message
Just as people have a preferred hand, leg or eye, they also have a preferred way of processing information. C. G. Jung, one of the pioneers of psychology, developed a theory of personality types that accounts for differences in the way people take in information and make decisions. Briggs and Myers studied his theory for many years and developed the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which describes the different personality types. Understanding this can greatly impact how you write your marketing message.
Extraversion or Introversion (E/I) - Where you direct your attention in order to gain energy and vitality.
People scoring Extraverted pay attention to and get energized by things outside of themselves. These people need to “talk” out to develop ideas. Introverts tend to pull away from people in order to develop ideas. They need to go to a place where they can concentrate, come up with a really good idea, polish it and when they are satisfied with the result, come back to the rest of the group and present it.
The drawback of the Introvert’s approach is that it may make the Extravert feel excluded from the idea development.
Dr. Nick Grant, explains it beautifully:
The Extravert says (sarcastically) “Well, thank you very much for revealing THAT to the rest of us. Don’t you think the stone tablets are a bit much?”
The Introvert says “Well, at least I thought it through BEFORE I opened my mouth!”
Extraverts prefer speaking while Introverts prefer writing as a form of persuasive communication.
Sensing or Intuition (S/N) – What kinds of information you prefer.
Sensing types are practical, want concrete examples and use what they see in the moment to make decisions. Intuitive individuals pull back to see how the current problem is connected in the context of the bigger picture. They are typically seen as visionaries, more interested in the future, or some timeless principle.
A Sensing person asks, Who, What, When, Where and How.
An Intuitive person asks, Why? They get out of bed for “The Vision”.
The Intuitive type says: Here is the Vision!
The Sensing type thinks: You are way up in the sky. Come down or I’ll shoot you down.
Intuitive types die in friendly fire accidents everyday. They are “shot” by their own people. Sensing types usually outnumber Intuitive types. So, Intuitives, tread lightly.
Intuitive types think they are smarter than Sensing types. They aren’t, but they think they are. They write most books because they create reality with words.
Thinking or Feeling (T/F) – How people make decisions or come to conclusions.
Thinking types detach themselves in order to be fair and objective and using analytical logic to come to an objective conclusion.
Feeling types connect in order to make a decision. They create relationships with others. It’s relational thinking that is logical and based on trust.
Thinking types may seek conceptual or factual clarity in a dispute seeking to identify objective principles, whereas a person preferring Feeling may seek harmony or collaboration in the same dispute, seeking to bring the principals in the dispute together according to their personal values.
For example, in New York, the vehicle of business is the contract and then you go out for a drink. These are Thinking types. In the south, you meet your client at the airport, you drive them around and go out for BBQ. It’s relational. They are Feeling types.
Judgement or Perceiving (J/P) – How people run their lives. Lifestyle. Resource use.
Judgement types see the world through the lens of Newton. There is a plan, an order and they believe you should align your life with it. They use lists and timeframes to plan their day.
Perceiving types prefer to say “stuff happens”, life is uncertain. They may wait until the very last minute to make a decision. They are poised and ready for what happens next and prefer a more spontaneous approach to life and work.
Judgement types prefer governance and organization.
Perceiving types prefer politics and markets.
When these types work together change is managed skillfully. They are an ideal combination.
Judgement types invented project management while Perceivers bring poise and relevance to understanding things. Ps pivot while Js get angry. Js get mad at Ps because they seem unapologetic. The J wants to assign responsibility, have an investigative committee and do a critical incident report. They want to avoid crisis. Ps say “You can’t find out what happened. The train left the station already”.
Js want to know two things. 1. When the meeting will end and 2. What they are going to learn during that meeting. They want to know what is going to happen before it happens. They need goals and feel a sense of accomplishment as they check off each item on the list. Ps learn best through discovery where the teacher is a resource rather than an authority.
Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.
Being aware that these different preference types exist is essential to tailoring your marketing/sales message. A great communicator communicates the listener’s way.
Which personality type have you neglected?
Morty Silber, CEO
Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner
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