How to use the Myers-Briggs Personality Test to Jumpstart Your Marketing
By Cameron John Robbins
While attending a networking event put on by The Trusted Business Community Association (TTBCA), hosted by Sean Hewitt, I heard a marvelous presentation on how to dial in your marketing strategy by Colin Needham. Most businesses approach marketing as if everyone is or should be a prospective customer. Thus, they craft their marketing messages accordingly. Most of the time, this approach results in weak marketing messages that fail to appeal very much to anyone.
A lot of Colin’s messages centered around developing a clear vision of your ideal customer avatar, which is a detailed description of the specific kind of person you are trying to communicate with, and why your product and/or service is perfect for them. In fact, some of the most successful marketing campaigns have made it very clear that their product is NOT for everyone. Who are Apple products for? According to Steve Jobs, they’re for rebels, troublemakers, visionaries, and paradigm changers. Rolls Royce put it another way – To the general public, Phantoms don’t exist.
As often happens, my brain started furiously connecting dots between what I was hearing, and things I’ve already internalized or heard before. So, if you’ll bear with me, I will try to outline the connections that I see.
Firstly, I am a portrait painter and figurative sculptor. This is relevant in two ways; 1. Reasoning that an artist will be bound to end up doing their best work, I have advocated for years that artists follow their strongest authentic attractions, rather than trying to create the artwork that they think someone else wants to see. If an artist creates the work which they feel most compelled to make, their job then is to find the people who will be attracted to collecting it for the same reasons they were attracted to making it; a common tribe on a common wavelength, if you will.
2. It has been suggested that while a portrait artist paints portraits of other people, on a psychological level, they are only ever painting themselves. This is probably true because while the portrait painter can render a convincing likeness of their subject, they don’t actually know them as a person very well. They do, however, know themselves as well as anyone can. So, any living presence captured in their work is likely to reflect their own personality more than that of their subject. This is fine, because whether as creators or viewers, we all see ourselves in others all the time. It is also possible that each patron chooses one artist over others because they unconsciously recognize a compatible personality or psychological correspondence.
Putting just these two concepts together, I wondered for the first time whether I AM my ideal customer avatar, at least in terms of my personality. Having taken the Myers-Briggs personality test some years ago, I know that I’m an ENFJ. So, I hopped onto ChatGPT, and asked it to outline the most persuasive and compelling marketing messages for ENFJ personality types. Then I wondered about personality types that are the most compatible with ENFJs, which are ISTPs, ESFPs, and INFJs. With that information in hand, I asked ChatGPT to outline the most persuasive and compelling marketing messages for each of those personality types.
After that, I asked it to create a marketing strategy for promoting original portrait paintings for high net-worth individuals with those specific personality types. Then I asked it to create a dominant marketing message or theme that will most appeal to this group. Lastly, just to be safe, I asked ChatGPT which personality types are most represented among high net-worth individuals. The response was good news for all of us – there is a roughly even distribution of personality types among all demographics.
Armed with all this information, I went back and reviewed the copywriting and marketing material that I’ve already produced. The results surprised me. I was already instinctively crafting messages that would resonate most strongly with my own personality type, and with those most compatible with me. However, instead of groping and hoping that I was crafting the right marketing messages, as I was previously, I can now crystallize, intensify, and double down on what I’ve been doing, confident that it will resonate with the right people.
Here are the conclusions that I’ve reached:
1. Your business is already saturated with your specific personality, even if you didn’t realize it. You saw a problem, and then designed a product or service to solve that problem. But which problem you saw, and how you chose to solve it were heavily influenced by your personality. Prospective customers who have similar personalities to you will be more likely to see the same problems you saw, and thus resonate more positively with the solutions you offer.
2. Generic marketing messages that hope to appeal to everyone usually fail to appeal to anyone. They just don’t resonate strongly enough with any specific personality type to inspire action, which is exactly what they are meant to do. So, don’t try to communicate with everyone. Instead, call out for your tribe like a lion roaring on the savannah, looking for its pride.
3. There are roughly 8 billion people on the planet, and there are sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types. If you craft your marketing messages so that they’ll resonate with your personality type and the three most compatible with it, you will be speaking the native language of about 2 billion people. As a prospective customer pool, I’d say that’s enough to be going on with.
As entrepreneurs and businesspeople, we are often concerned about attracting enough customers to carry on. This concern, quite logically, motivates us to be more inclusive in the hopes of increasing the odds of success. The irony is that this impulse actually works against us. By trying to be more appealing generally, we make ourselves more forgettable and less attractive to any specific group.
So, start with yourself, as that’s where the business started anyway. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you care about This problem more than That one? Why did you solve the problem with this specific solution, and why do you think that’s the best way to do it? It’s like the sales exercise Sell me this pen. Don’t waste your time talking to people who rarely use pens, or trying to convince all the world why they should use pens. You’re looking for the niche group of people who not only use them but are weirdly passionate about pens.
You are already part of a tribe, whether you’ve found others like you or not. Speak with your authentic voice. Tell your specific story and keep telling it truthfully. Your tribe will hear you and respond. And who is your tribe? Well, start with yourself. What are you like? Plumb the depths of that mine. Dig out the core essence of what makes you tick. You may find more gold there than you will ever need.