A few weeks ago, I wrestled up the courage to attend a small dinner with HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah. Seated around a cozy dinner table, I asked him a question that’s been burning inside me since my very first day here: "Does HubSpot’s culture -- or, by extension, any marketing company's culture -- favor the extrovert?"

What I was really asking was, "As an introvert, can I fit in here?"

He assured me I could -- I wasn't the first introvert (nor would I be the last) to join the company. In fact, he told me that about half of the people that work here fall into the introversion side of the personality spectrum. And no, these people aren’t all software developers -- our fun-loving CEO Brian Halligan is also an introvert. 

Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, even notes in her book that at least one-third of the American population is introverted.

If you're not hiring -- or appropriately utilizing the talents of -- members of this vast portion of the population at your company, you're making a huge mistake. Introverts are predisposed to possess a unique and powerful set of traits and skills that can help you overcome your greatest marketing challenges -- four of which I've outlined below.

As we go through each challenge, avoid seeing introversion and extroversion as a black-and-white approach to personality traits. Just because introverts are more commonly associated with these characteristics doesn’t mean extroverts can’t possess them. In the same respect, some introverts can most definitely possess traits that are stereotypically considered extroverted. Personalities vary greatly, and many people are a blend of both worlds. 

4 Ways Introverts Can Help Solve Big Marketing Challenges

Marketing Challenge #1: An Increasingly Complex World

It’ll take you less than five minutes of reading or listening to the latest news on technology to figure out that we live in an increasingly complicated era.

We all know what "information overload" feels like in this rapidly evolving economy. But, it isn’t enough to just absorb information -- marketers need to understand, interpret, and demystify information.

How Introverts Can Help

Introverts are deeply insightful and analytical. They are able to dissect complex issues and solve the trickiest of riddles. For example, known as one of the most influential theorists to have ever lived, Albert Einstein was an introvert who did his thinking alone. Introverts can help extract and decipher meaning from your marketing campaigns through their astute observational and investigative skills.

On your marketing team, there'll be times you need someone to do a dive deep into analytics -- maybe you need the results from an A/B test or just a look at trend data to inform your marketing strategy for the next few months. Think about assigning that type of project to an introvert -- they'll do a great job of distilling simple insights from a complex data set.

Marketing Challenge #2:  An Increasingly Distracting Environment

Marketers are some of the busiest bees in town. We’re inundated with emails, meetings, and events, and we live and breathe in a ... oh, look at that!

Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, we live and breathe in an increasingly distracting environment that requires us to be always moving, always agile. Needless to say, it can be hard to simply sit down and GSD (get stuff done).

How Introverts Can Help

Introverts are known to possess a razor-sharp focus and an intrinsic ability to shut the world off. Introverts are also self-motivated and don’t rely on external stimulation to stay charged. For instance, acclaimed scientist Charles Darwin was known to politely turn down dinner invitations and take secluded walks through the woods.

When your team is in dire need of finishing projects at the last minute with lots of moving pieces -- like launching a new product or campaign -- an introvert could be your savior. They'll block out the noise to get to the job done.

Marketing Challenge #3: A Lack of Creativity 

Creativity, innovation, originality -- these are the alluring buzzwords that keep marketers up at night. How can I do something different? How can I get my company to stand out from the crowd?

How Introverts Can Help

Research suggests that creativity often comes from seclusion. Indeed, some of the most remarkable visionaries of our time consider themselves introverts who had their "Eureka!" moments when they were alone. Take J.K. Rowling as an example. Her idea for the wonderful, wizarding world of Harry Potter came to her on a train when she was traveling solo.

Studies, like this one from IBM, also show that a majority of CEOs cite creativity as the most important leadership quality. So, an introvert may be exactly who you need to helm the vision of an upcoming project or even your entire marketing team.

Marketing Challenge #4: A Lack of Transparency

A consequence of the information economy is clutter. There’s so much content and fluff out there it’s hard to ensure you are communicating clearly with your visitors, leads, and customers. 

How Introverts Can Help

Introverts are eloquent, compelling, and persuasive writers. They are also intensely loyal and authentic. Therefore, their words deliver clarity. Case in point: Introvert Mahatma Gandhi was a prolific writer who changed the direction of an entire nation, and to this day, his beautiful prose inspires millions of people across the globe. 

On your marketing team, you might think about how an introvert could help you create some in-depth, high-quality blog posts. Their focus on getting the right message across to the right audience at the right time could help you grow your traffic, lead volume, and even customer base.

By now, I’ve hopefully convinced you to invest more in introverts or see their quiet nature in a different light. This, however, does not mean that you should only invest in introverts.

Your marketing dream team should be a balance of both introversion and extroversion. Like Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, there is great power in the perfect pairing of people.

So, are you an introverted or extroverted marketer, and how do you tackle challenges? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.

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Originally published Jan 29, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017


Personality Types