The Myers-Briggs Temperament Test is an increasingly popular way to identify what makes a person tick. The Myers-Briggs Test, originally developed in the 1950s, is now used worldwide to identify patterns of behavior and attitude. The expansion of the test’s popularity has been spurred in large part by Dr. David Keirsey, who refined and expanded the Myers-Briggs types in his books, Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II.
Human temperament theory states the following: all individuals can be categorized as one of four basic personality types. These personality types can each be broken down into four sub-types based on introversion/extroversion and the person’s preferred role as leader/follower, but those sub-types are irrelevant to the core values of the main types. Each holds a specific core value–the thing that drives people of that type.
Artisan (Sensing Perceiving – SP). There are many Artisans, perhaps 35-40% of the population. Artisans want to be excited, stimulated, to make an impact on the world. They trust their impulses and aspire to virtuosity in their chosen field.
Guardian (Sensing Judging – SJ). Guardians are the most common, making up roughly 40-45% of the population. They are concerned about their lives, families, communities, responsibilities. They trust authority and seek security and belonging.
Idealist (Intuitive Feeling – NF). Idealists are rare, making up no more than 8-10% of the population. They are enthusiastic and romantic, seeking self-discovery and recognition of their efforts. They help others, and in so doing walk the path to enlightenment.
Rational (Intuitive Thinking – NT). Rationals are even more scarce, comprising as little as 5-7% of the population. They are calm, collected, trusting their reason and intellectual capacity. They live their lives in search of knowledge, fascinated by the systems that drive the universe.
With this basic knowledge, a good copywriter can craft a message to appeal to all these types, or even more specifically to those types most likely to be interested in the message. One can develop marketing messages to maximize impact on certain personality types, or include hooks to appeal broadly to all four. Most of the hooks that will work on a Guardian will not likely work on an Idealist, because each type is driven by different internal forces.
One general difference between the types is that Artisans and Guardians operate most comfortably, and respond most favorably, to concrete things, such as tools, results, real-world things. Idealists and Rationals, on the other hand, are more likely to respond to abstract things, such as holistic concepts or systems.
Your job as a marketer is to craft a compelling message, and human temperament theory can be an absolutely priceless tool in your inventory.
How do you visualize your target audience when crafting copy? Are you a Myers-Briggs fan? Do you use a different approach? Please share what works for you.
Source: Keirsey, David. Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence. Del Mar: Prometheus Nemesis. 1998.