Guest Contributor: Matt Hillman, Creative Director
As mentioned in my previous “Behind The Mind’s Curtain” post, it’s hard to truly understand what it’s like to be someone else, to see things from their perspective. But as marketers, we’re all bound at the very least to try.
With resources like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the team at Personality Hacker—two practical examples of Jungian psychology at work—we can dive deeper into personality matrixes to better understand what makes this person tick where others might tock. What might energize or engage one set of personalities might, in fact, be toxic to another.
Where the previous blog touched on “Judging functions” of Jungian psychology—true/false vs. right/wrong—we’re going to explore the “Perceiving functions.” These are the ways our psyches literally perceive and process information, whether it’s based on sensory inputs to determine what’s real or based on ideas to determine what’s possible.
(Again, it’s important to note that human psychology is complex, and even people with same personality types don’t share the same environments, experiences, and opportunities, so while the following concepts are true more often than not, they are still generalizations and should not be used as substitutes to research and personae-based insights.)
GROUP 1: The Realists
Function: Extraverted Sensing
For Realists, the world exists as it is. They take in information with the senses and deal in the here & now, typically not distracted by “what if” and “it might.” Their minds are drawn to the concrete and the known, valuing facts and empirical evidence.
Look for: pragmatism, reference to statistics, seeking additional inputs
Promote: data, evidence, immediate results
Avoid: possibilities, metaphors, “gut feelings”
Weakness: “it is what it is” fatalis
GROUP 2: The Traditionalists
Function: Introverted Sensing
Think of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and you’re thinking of Traditionalists. What has been gathered through experience, what is truly known, is what matters most. As a result, life’s certainties are not only predictable but comforting.
Look for: deliberate action, careful consideration, leveraging experience
Promote: proven results, comparison, history
Avoid: improvisation, interpretation, “change for change’s sake”
Weakness: resistance to new ideas or systems
GROUP 3: The Dreamers
Function: Extraverted Intuition
With Dreamers, everything contains possibilities, whether it’s found in systems, situations or people. The idea of “what if” is pervasive and irresistible, and it drives them to seek new approaches and consider information in different contexts.
Look for: rapid-fire ideation and brainstorming
Promote: possibilities, exploration, potential
Avoid: practicality, statistics, “tried & true”
Weakness: inability to stay focused on single issue
GROUP 4: The Perceptives
Function: Introverted Intuition
Working mostly in the subconscious, the Perceptives are always searching for meaning behind the ideas—connections and patterns—that often lead to “a-ha!” moments. They build and explore complex mental models to better understand the world around them.
Look for: heavy use of and appreciation for metaphor
Promote: connection, pattern, symbols
Avoid: details, dwelling on past experiences
Weakness: presuming mental models can provide all necessary insights
Understanding how and why your audience processes information is the first step to better connecting with them through your marketing—don’t expect Dreamers to respond to spreadsheet data and don’t ask Traditionalists to “imagine a world of possibilities!” Providing a variety of formats is the surest way to get your message through a broad set, but when space is tight and time is a premium, knowing what type of information your particular audience prizes most can help your marketing cut through the clutter and get noticed.