During a recent business trip, I was speaking with a colleague about personality typing. She had just read a book, "Understanding the Enneagram: The Practical Guide to Personality Types," by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, that talks about nine different character types. These, oddly enough, map really well to the mental states of many email marketers I talk to. So what "type" of email marketer are you?
Type 1: The Reformer
Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, Perfectionist
Your goal is to whip your email program into best practice shape. You are what some affectionately refer to as "the email snob." Everything should be a certain way -- no ifs, ands or buts about it -- and it is your daily fight to make that happen. In doing so, you can alienate those you work with internally and possibly drive your program to underperform. Remember, best practices are a rule of thumb, not a way of email life.
Type 2: The Helper
Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, Possessive
It's your email program and you are going to show those in your organization how it is properly done -- if it's OK with them. You walk the line between doing what you know is right and giving internal entities what they want. It is important to remember that you are the expert and you serve as the beloved instructor on how to engage in this wonderful world of email.
Type 3: The Achiever
Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, Image-Conscious
You want your email program to be the best it can be, and you want everyone around you to believe this, too. When you are motivated towards success, there is a constant effort to do more or be better -- which is OK, so long as you have the metrics you need to prove your success and have hypotheses stated so you know when you've gotten there. Otherwise, that road could be never-ending -- and may ultimately hurt your email program in the long run.
Type 4: The Individualist
Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, Temperamental
Translation: creatives. You are the man or woman behind the genius of that great headline or clever call-to-action, and you want everyone to know it. If you are not the Individualist, someone on your team likely is. It is important to make sure your email resonates with its recipients, so if it is all about you and what you like, you just might be missing the bus.
Type 5: The Investigator
Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, Isolated
You are the tester. You want to make sure you have tested all of the possible elements of your email campaign to best ensure its success -- twice. You pick up on the nuances of your reporting, your recipient behavior and want to figure out why it is happening. You serve a very important role to the team, but need to be careful that you don't find yourself testing, just to test...if nothing is gained, nothing is learned.
Type 6: The Loyalist
Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, Suspicious
This is the one that many call the "brown-noser." You want to follow all the rules, please your superiors -- and will, oftentimes, blindly follow their direction, regardless of whether that direction is well-founded or not. You likely conflict with The Investigator in situations where (s)he has data to support a direction that is in direct conflict with your management team. Pledge your loyalty to your email subscriber base and you should be just fine.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, Scattered
You love email! It's not just a job, it's a passion - and you are always looking for the newest, coolest thing to pull into your program, at a moment's notice. You will try anything once and are likely juggling a number of programs, ideas, tests and analysis simultaneously. You need to find some moments to slow down and focus to really make your email program be all it can be.
Type 8: The Challenger
Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, Confrontational
Wrong or right, your way is the only way. Once you have made up your mind about how you want your email program to run, you make it so -- and entertain no other interpretations of what you are putting into practice. This can be very successful if your approach is the right approach. However, I have seen far too many clients head down this path at the cost of an effective email program. Don't find yourself in an "I told you so" moment. Someone else just might have a good idea, too.
Type 9: The Peacemaker
Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, Complacent
Everyone is right, no one is wrong -- so long as we keep the peace. This is not a likely scenario in any email marketing organization. There are always going to be differing opinions about how to approach the customer, interpretation of the brand -- heck, even what color you want your buttons to be -- so don't make yourself crazy trying to make everyone happy.
Your email team is likely made up of a host of characters, and the strengths of each of them will make your program succeed or fail. Recognizing these personality types, assembling and managing them to drive the most success for your email program is a best practice we often overlook -- but should not forget. I think I am probably a "7" -- who's with me?
Up next, Dr. Phil....