Friday, September 24, 2010

Myers-Briggs and Why Your Customer Can't Understand You

If you are in Marketing/Advertising and you do not know of Myers-Briggs, have not learned more about personality types, you are doing yourself and your clients a huge disfavor.

I am an I/E N F P , you should take the test and learn what you are. Instead of getting into a very long and boring discourse I will give a few points:

N stands for Abstract Communicator vs S which is Sensate Communicator
This has nothing to do with understanding Abstract Concepts.

Abstract people are only 25% of the Population (Nature not Nurture). We tend to use analogies when we talk. Its not just Red. Its Red as a Brick. A Sensate communicator will just say it is red.

P stands for Perceiver. Perceivers take in new information and constantly update their view of the world. The opposite is Judgers. They tend to be traditionalists and never question things. George Bush was a Judger. In the face of new facts you could not change his view on anything. Once created its almost permanent.

45% of the world population is Sensate Judgers. It is very hard to change this Demographic's viewpoints. They were the ones who claimed the Earth was flat even after Columbus came back safely.

F is for Feeler. Vs T for Technical. The two types utilize tools differently.

I is for Introvert, E is for Extrovert. This is self explanatory.

So when you create, when you copyright, when you strategize this is hugely challenging. You might have a damaged brand, that a large portion of people will never give a second chance.  You possibly have large groups of people who will not understand your pitch just due to language. You will have large groups that won't grasp a concept that to you seems simple. I don't have a uniform answer. But you should be aware this exists.


  1. Good points and an important issue, especially in this increasingly "Social" powered world Howie.

    One runs across this in business situations constantly. How many people, clients, colleagues, do you run across each day with whom you somehow cannot communicate? We THINK we are being clear. WE understand what we are saying. We are using plain words that make sense to US, yet somehow a gap persists. Often the reason people don't get along with one another is simply they use inherently different styles of communication and don't like being made to feel inferior or misunderstood by someone else.

    When engaging a market, be it B2B or B2C situation, a company needs to take into account what is the CORPORATE voice being projected to the audience. Is the audience likely to be receptive to that style? Nothing is constant, but it is fair to say that a ball bearing buyer is likely to speak a different tone, language and attitude from a surfer buying new swim trunks.

    Knowing your audience and their demographic isn't simply enough. Understanding the STYLE of language they speak is just as important, ESPECIALLY if you want to retain them. All good marketers and sales people know this, but it is the finer points where loyalties can be won or lost.

    Ever wonder why certain people are better at sales than other equally qualified candidates? The ability to MATCH the style of the engagement required is the secret sauce. Why do some products come to dominate a market where other equally well designed, devised and manufactured products don't? Again, the voice going out to that audience is better tuned in one instance than the other. Being smart isn't the be all & end all. Meeting your partner face to face isn't enough. Speaking the language that goes on IN their head and heart is key, and truly the critical mission going forward as technology provides ever better tools for reaching out to a community.

    Understand that if you're not being understood, it is YOU who must change. To paraphrase the neat video of Jung above, Walt Kelly's variously oft quoted Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us!

    Darin Kirschner~

  2. Damn Darin thank you for bringing the ATX into the house contributing with such great views and observations. I think often we all are in our bubbles. I have been meaning to bring up this subject for awhile. Communication styles can be a huge source of friction, but understanding why helps make the tent a lot bigger. Knowing your customer, then figuring out the best way to communicate is very important. Especially via Social.