“I just need to make sure I have it right.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Well, that’s me. All day, every day. I’ve been described as precise, fair, responsible, and, ultimately, a perfectionist—yet sometimes critical, opinionated, or inflexible. Doesn’t sound fun, right? I used to think that.
What Is the Enneagram System?
Several years ago, I was introduced to the Enneagram system, which models nine different personality types. Before this, I always brushed off any personality tests that came my way. I thought that surely there wasn’t any real value in them. I saw it as a label that people use for fun conversation. But, the moment I read the description of the Enneagram Type One, “The Perfectionist” or “The Reformer,” my jaw dropped. I had never felt so heard in my life. Suddenly, it all made sense, and I could proudly own my descriptors like “opinionated” or “fair” that used to make me feel uninteresting and rigid.
The Enneagram is based on our core motivations, meaning your Enneagram type helps you understand why you do the things you do. I’m motivated by doing things right and, for me, that means doing everything perfectly. What I’ve found more than anything is that the key to using the Enneagram is focusing on the other eight types just as much as you focus on your own. Once you understand how those around you are motivated, you can personalize your interactions with them based on their own type. This is my favorite recipe for happier, productive communication.
For instance, as a Type One, I thrive on clear direction, and I expect you to be fair at all times, including taking your share of the responsibility. But a Type Three might expect you to communicate efficiently and effectively to not waste time while acknowledging the success they’ve worked so hard for. Type eights, on the other hand, like for you to be direct and confident while showing them your feelings to let them know you’re safe to confide in.
3 Ways to Use the Enneagram in Marketing
So, what does all of this have to do with marketing? Everything.
Relationships are at the core of marketing. Every business must understand its customers’ motivations and personalities to not only effectively communicate with them but keep them coming back. Here are three ways you can use the Enneagram concept in marketing, just as you can in your everyday life.
1. Fostering Leadership and Teamwork
It’s no secret that the difference between success and failure is a great team. Culture is built from the top down, and it shows in your work. As a marketing agency, it’s key for everyone on your team to maintain a high level of self-awareness to acknowledge things that may hold them back from effectively communicating with each other.
This self-awareness is especially crucial because marketing agencies wear many hats. Marketers work with clients in many different industries, with countless projects moving at the same time. The more you can understand your leadership style and team members’ motivations, the more efficient you are in your work, and the better your results are for your clients. With simple reminders like posting your Enneagram Type to your office door or regular team-building sessions, your team can begin to understand and appreciate each other’s motivations and use that as a foundation for better work.
2. Understanding Your Audience
Understanding that your motivations are different from your customers’ is crucial for success in marketing. For instance, you may be an early adopter and are always the first person in line to purchase the new iPhone. You always want the newest, shiniest gadget, no matter how long it’s been on the market. In Enneagram terms, you sound like Type Three, “The Achiever.” You care about your image, and you want the most innovative, time-saving tool available.
However, if you’re selling home security systems, your early adopter mentality will not match the motivations of your audience. Your audience, in this example, is more likely to have the thought process of a Type Six, “The Questioner.” Sixes are skeptical and motivated by the need for security. In this situation, you’d adjust your messaging to sell to your customers the feeling of safety they desire by removing fear from the situation.
3. Enhancing the Customer Experience
Curating a positive customer experience, especially in marketing agencies, is always a top priority. For agencies, you’re not only enhancing your client’s experience but also managing the experience of their customers. The first two points in this list equip you with the tools you need to excel in customer experience. The better you can work together, and the more you understand your audience and learn to speak in their language, the happier they’ll become, and the longer they’ll stick around.
To illustrate this point, say you’re selling a fun outdoor experience like zip-lining. You know that your audience is filled with people who identify with the Enneagram Type Seven, “The Adventurer.” Through your research, you know that people of this type want to feel free and happy. Because of this, you’ll learn to forget the details and, instead, approach them with adventure-filled opportunities that promote feelings of outrageousness and excitement. Overall, the more you can customize the experience for your customers, the more unforgettable you become.
Applying the Enneagram to Your Business
As you begin to incorporate The Enneagram into your everyday life, adding it to your marketing toolkit will become more and more natural. At its core, using the Enneagram will allow you to better understand and communicate with your audience by understanding its core motivations. Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers isn’t something new in marketing, but understanding why they do the things they do through an Enneagram-like lens is indispensable.
Visit The Enneagram Institute to take the test and read more about each of the types, wings, centers, and more. And if you’re curious about how to effectively communicate with your audience, contact Green Apple Strategy today. Through strategic marketing, we can help you identify your target audience and channel their inner Enneagram-like motivations to reach them.