Introverts in the Workplace
In the last decade we have witnessed what some have dubbed “the rise of the nerds” where “geek chic” entered the dictionary and comic book movies continue to dominate film and TV pop culture.
The digital revolution of industry is partly responsible, raising alpha nerds like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to the heights of economic and social power and influence. TED talks are now mainstream, Star Wars is for everyone and thankfully many more of our young people aspire to be entrepreneurs, inventors and startup creators than simply becoming “rich and famous.”
Those who traditionally may not have been seen as the most socially charismatic or the most gifted sales people have risen to the tops of some of our major industries and built businesses of global success.
We’ve come from a place of beauty over brains and the old adage of “who you know, not what you know” to create an equal playing field, where those who are skilled and passionate can succeed, regardless of their personality traits.
And yet Marketing is one area that is still viewed as being a turf reserved primarily for the gregarious. The business world as a whole tends to veer towards extroversion. Never more so than in a time of personal brand building and online networking, when we’re expected to push ourselves out there in a way no generation before us has ever done.
But introverts hold a particular set of skills and personality traits that, if utilised properly, will bring huge benefits to your Digital Marketing team and your business as a whole.
The Myths about Introverts in Marketing
Even those who know little of the business genre of Marketing hold the perception that in order to be good at it and deliver results for your own business, or someone else’s, then you must be bold, assertive and just generally outgoing.
That is a myth. And it joins a long line of myths reserved for introvert personality types.
The biggest myth being the idea that introverts aren’t socially savvy. In fact, many introverts are very good at charm offensives and socialising, they may simply prefer time alone in between to recharge.
Introversion is also unrelated to the oft-misquoted label of “shyness.” Introversion is a spectrum, like most personality traits, and we will all fall somewhere on the arc.
Much of the problem for Marketing in among these myths is that Marketing itself is the victim of many myths. The belief that it is primarily a pushy sales task and not the creative, technical, social profession that it actually is, is what leads many introverts to assume (wrongly) that they can’t succeed in it.
The Strengths of Introverts in Marketing
One of the most important elements of modern day Marketing is the (almost lost) art of listening. With the fast pace of change in online communications in particular, the focus is on two-way communications and the weight is tilted towards the messages that come back to your business. Agencies and brands alike spend a lot of their budgets on technical monitoring systems that are designed to collate and help us analyse this information to inform our activities.
Introverts make excellent listeners. Those who are predisposed to a level of comfort in silence, in just listening and surveying the behaviour and reactions of others rather than jumping in to speak just to fill space, those people have a very important role to play in Marketing teams. This is particularly key in situations such as pitches or high level meetings where everyone else has been so focused on engaging that it is the introvert who has properly read the room.
The benefits of this ability extend further into influencer marketing. The skill of blogger outreach lies as much in the ability to conduct solitary research, have meaningful conversations and build small but strong relationships as it does in pitching and sales techniques.
As members of a wider team, introverts can also help you to get across the finish line with projects when team motivation is failing. Why? Well because with introversion comes a sharp focus and a generally higher level of self-motivation than extroverts (in that they don’t need to be stimulated or motivated by their environment). When everyone else is struggling, introverts will knuckle down and get the job done.
The Strengths of Introverts in Digital Marketing
The role of Digital Marketing can actually suit those of an introverted nature very well.
Whereas in-person marketing can be draining or just daunting, the modern mediums require much less real life interaction. Digital brand communications from podcasts to blogging, email to social media, can all be conducted from behind a screen and often scheduled to take place at your own pace.
What comes with the job of listening in this fast-paced tech world is an abundance of data. The challenge of wading through it and making sense of it is the reason for the rise of the job title “Data Scientist” in the last decade. Introverts have innate skills of insight and tend to have more analytical brains. Their astute observational skills coupled with this ability to dissect complex information is a huge asset to your campaign planning work.
Of course it would be remiss of us to make the assumption of much of the general public and portray Digital Marketing as a solely technical occupation.
We know that almost half the success of any good campaign comes from creativity. This is an area on the CV where the myths of introversion are most unhelpful. Research suggests that creativity often comes from seclusion and moments of quiet and stillness. Just ask any writer, most of whom work alone.
Related to this, and resulting from the trend towards inbound and content marketing, is the fact that a lot of introverts also tend to be very good writers. And content marketing of all kinds whether its blogging, podcast scripting, web training compilation or simple website content – all requires those who are skilled in the art of persuasion with the written word.
So for anyone on the introverted end of the spectrum thinking of a career in Marketing or Digital Marketing – we assure you there is a role or three for you on any good Marketing team. And for those Marketing teams looking to hire – include introverts in your well-rounded team and know that all your bases are covered.
Omnia is the leading digital and branding agency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with a team of over 45 comprising some 15 nationalities, they build brand and digital partnerships to connect customers to businesses.