Most marketing gurus prescribe favorite “marketing musts” – outreach activities that they tout as necessary for any business owner, manager or entrepreneur intent on survival and growth. Sometimes the “musts” are relatively new tactics, like blogging and tweeting, while other times, the “musts” are old standbys, like cold calling or networking.
My approach is different. I encourage people to be suspicious of any across-the-board marketing recommendations that purport to apply to everyone. Why? Because one-size-fits-all prescriptions do not take into account the human factor – the role of distinct individuals carrying out the marketing advice. Over and over again, I’ve seen people struggle with how they’re supposed to market when the marketing tasks run counter to their personality.
Much easier than managing a personality transplant is to select marketing methods that fit your personal tendencies, beliefs and values – tasks that you can carry out without venturing far beyond the limits of your comfort zone. When marketing tasks match your instincts and habits, stretching you just a little, you have a much faster, less burdensome shot at success.
To explore your natural marketing style, start by taking the Myers-Briggs personality test. Let’s say the test indicates you’re an introvert – someone who becomes energized in solitude and tends to feel drained by social interaction. (An extrovert, on the other hand, feels drained and out of sorts when alone and recharges with other people.)
In the Myers-Briggs personality system, an ISFJ (Intuitive/Feeling/Judging Introvert) is a loyal, friendly, responsible and conscientious person who strives to create harmony at work and at home. Warm-hearted, hard-working and cooperative, ISFJs instinctively believe others are well-intentioned, and they are therefore vulnerable to being conned. They are quietly sensitive to the feelings of others and skilled at arranging a comfortable and tasteful environment
Personality experts tell us that celebrity ISFJs include Louisa May Alcott, Johnny Carson, William Shatner, Barbara Bush, Charles Dickens, Nancy Reagan, Melanie from the novel Gone With the Wind and Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
If Myers-Briggs testing reveals that you are an ISFJ, you may feel rather uncomfortable with the idea of marketing, preferring to believe that virtue, skill and knowledge should attract attention on their own. Your best marketing tactic may therefore be teaming up with someone who enjoys being in the limelight. You in turn support the partnership in ways that take advantage of your strengths, such as:
· Hosting gracious get-togethers that introduce leading figures in your field to newcomers and vice versa
· Running free, highly interactive introductory teleseminars that put everyone at ease with challenging subject matter and each other
· Creating and showing a video of you interacting effectively with clients
· Letting it be known that you are happy to work with people who feel easily intimidated, clumsy or slow at mastering certain tasks
· Organizing “meet and greet” sessions in exotic settings, such as museums, yachts or aquariums
· Sending very thoughtful, perfectly appropriate gifts to people you want to meet
· Maintaining warm, long-term relationships with everyone you’ve ever met networking
· Writing insightful and appreciative comments on the blogs of potential clients
· Following up patiently and sensitively with those who have expressed interest in becoming clients but have not yet signed on the bottom line
Tendencies to watch out for as an ISFJ include a difficulty in saying “no” to clients and volunteer projects, a tendency to become depressed when people don’t respond as you anticipated and a horror of controversy and conflict. You need a receptive audience and a positive environment to perform at your best and thrive.