Temperament Insights to Add a Bit of Science to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time marketing was an arcane talent – a mystical understanding of human behavior that enabled certain magicians to understand their customers and make sales.  These days, an increasing number of straightforward tools are available to help business people develop the craft of marketing as a skilled practice.    One of these tools is the Myers Briggs temperament model.  

In digital marketing, we don’t get the opportunity to meet our customers face to face.  There’s a whole world out there.  While we can’t understand our whole audience, we can make sure we’ve got reasonable coverage to appeal to different temperaments in different ways.  We don’t suggest that you try and do a detailed analysis — we do suggest that if you understand the 4 high-level preference groups you can craft your marketing message accordingly.

Four Basic Temperament Preferences

I learned about the 4 temperament preferences early in my career and it really made a difference to understanding those around me.  It was like the time I found out about the basics of perspective and proportion in drawing – there were actually tools that could help me to create a better communications result with less frustration.

MBTI preferences

One thing that I found out was that my feeling of being outnumbered and not understood was accurate.  My preferences lie in the Idealist quadrant – and being only 12% of the population, I AM outnumbered (as are the Thinkers).

The majority of the world has different preferences — so if I want to become a more effective marketer it’s going to be helpful if I accept this reality and learn how to operate more effectively with the other 76%.  It’s not that they totally DON’T care – but they do have very different priorities to mine.

Temperament Preferences, Needs and Values…

Let’s assume that you’re in one of the minority groups and want to understand the majority better.  Here are some broad-brush basics:

Guardians typically have core needs around membership/belonging and responsibility/duty.  Their values cluster around things like conformity, conservation, tradition and stability.

Artisans typically have core needs around freedom to act and ability to make an impact. Their values are likely to be around things like variety, excitement, stimulation, actions and aesthetics.

Both Guardians and Artisans prefer the concrete to the abstract, so real world examples of specific technology, processes and business practices are likely to be more effective than concepts and future possibilities.

With this understanding, I can inspect my marketing message to make sure it meets the patterns and values of my target customers and refine my strategies for influencing them. Here are a couple of examples:

Connecting with Guardians…

If I understand that membership and belonging are  important to Guardians, and that they value stability and measurement, then I can introduce them to the sound business people using my products and services and the measurable results they are getting.

Connecting with Artisans…

If I understand that action and impact are important to Artisans, and that they value variety and excitement, then I can introduce them to exciting new technologies and entrepreneurial business opportunities.  I can appeal to the aesthetics of my product or service.

So who do you want to influence?

Let’s get specific for a bit of practice.  Who is somebody in your immediate circle who has the authority to make a significant buying decision?  For the purposes of this exercise, choose someone you can learn more about.  It could be the Purchasing Manager in a business you know of, it could be the Maintenance Engineer in a local factory.

If you had to make a guess at their temperament preference, what would it be?   Given your interpretation of their preferences, how might you communicate differently?  What message elements would you choose?  What channels might you find to deliver them more effectively?

Your mission — should you choose to accept it — is to upgrade the quality of your communication (with apologies to Mission Impossible).

More on temperament types….

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)  measures preferences — it’s a useful tool if you use it for understanding rather than labeling and blaming. It has wide usage in education, counselling, management and psychology as well as marketing.

A great introduction to the MBTI for busy people is Linda Berens’ book “Understanding Yourself and Others. An Introduction to Temperament”. Its 35 pages are packed with visual information that’s explained in straight-forward language.

To mix scramble another TV metaphor — “Have fun out there!” Your mood is critically important to the success of your communication — but that’s another post.

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