The Initiator Marketing Personality: Opportunity Awaits!
by Chelsea Taele • October 5, 2020
In the world of online marketing, there are four basic personality types: Initiators, Implementors, Drivers and Refiners. As a unique individual, you probably have a mix of qualities from each of these types, but your dominant type heavily influences every marketing decision you make.
The better you understand your marketing personality type (and the marketing personality types of your coworkers), the easier it will be to position yourself and your business for success. After all, your marketing personality makes you great at some things…and not so great at others.
If you can put yourself (and those around you) in a position to shine, you’ll get great results. If you try to be something you’re not or expect someone else to thrive in a role they aren’t well-suited for, you’re cooking up a recipe for disaster.
With all that in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at the Initiator marketing personality type. What are Initiators like? What motivates them? What sort of role do they play in marketing? Let’s find out.
The Initiator Marketing Personality Type
Initiators are the idea-generators of the marketing world. In a lot of ways, Initiators are what most people think of when they imagine marketers: clever, creative men and women with a gift for communication.
That being said, Initiators aren’t perfect marketers. They bring a lot to the table, but Initiators really shine when you understand their strengths, weaknesses and what makes them tick.
As marketers, Initiators “get” people. They’re typically well-liked, gregarious types who thrive in almost any social situation. That social intuition gives them a lot of insight into their customer base.
Because people and relationships are so important to Initiators, they tend to be fairly “dialed in”—both in-person and online. They pay attention to social norms and trends and can insert themselves naturally into a variety of conversations.
In addition, Initiators tend to be highly creative. Exactly how that creativity expresses itself will vary from person-to-person, but it’s always there.
Some Initiators are great at coming up with new marketing strategies. Others excel with copy or design. Still others are overflowing with ideas on how to leverage tools in new and interesting ways.
But, regardless of their specific strengths, Initiators are always coming up with new ways to do things.
With their natural insights into human behavior and creative instincts, Initiators can be an endless source of new, clever ways to market your business. And, because ideas come so easily to them, they usually don’t get too attached to any particular idea, so rejection rarely stifles their creativity.
As a result, Initiators are an incredible source of marketing ideas and insights. If you’re an Initiator, you probably have an ever-growing list of ideas to try. If you have an Initiator working for you and you start to feel like you’re running out of ideas, talk to your Initiator for a bit. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of suggestions to try.
While Initiators are full of insights and inspiration, they aren’t always great at filtering through or executing on their ideas. Most Initiators have a long list of projects they’ve started…and never finished.
Unfortunately, Initiators are easily distracted. The untapped potential of the new and unknown is incredibly alluring to them. That makes them great at coming up with ideas, but more often than not, as the newness wears off, they often get bored and tired…and start looking for something more exciting.
That’s why we call this personality type “Initiators”. They’re great at coming up with new ideas and getting the ball rolling, but they’re sprinters—not long-distance runners.
In addition, because they rarely fully execute on their ideas, they have a tendency to underestimate the difficulty of what they’re suggesting. They often look at things in fairly simple terms or assume that things will be much easier to do than they actually are.
To make matters worse, many Initiators also have trouble prioritizing their ideas. Most Initiators live in the moment. That’s part of the secret to their creativity, but it also means that whatever they’re thinking about right now will often take precedence over everything else—even if what they were working on before was actually a better, more important idea.
If you’re an Initiator, it’s important to account for this as you come up with new ideas. Whenever you’re about to start a new project, assume that it will take at least 4x the time and effort that you think it should and then ask yourself, If it takes that much work, do I have the time and patience to see this idea through to the end?
If the answer is “no”, then you may need to reconsider how good the idea really is. If you talk to a few non-Initiators about your idea and it seems like a good time investment, you either need to buckle down and get ‘er done—or pass it off to someone else with more stamina.
The same idea applies if you’re working with an Initiator. Per their name, Initiators are great at coming up with ideas and getting the ball moving, but if you don’t have the resources to keep things going after they lose interest, you may want to keep brainstorming until you come up with more sustainable ideas.
Initiators on the Marketing Team
Initiators can be found in almost any online marketing role, but they really shine in a few specific capacities:
- Leadership: With their excellent people skills and natural creativity, Initiators make great team leads. Some even do well as Marketing Directors—especially if they have a strong secondary personality type that offsets some of their weaknesses. In leadership, Initiators tend to do best when paired with a team filled with other personality types that can provide feedback on the Initiator’s ideas and ensure that they are carried out to completion.
- Social Media Management: Good social media management requires excellent people skills, adaptivity and creativity—all areas where Initiators shine. To make things even better, the social media scene is constantly changing, which is great for the easily-bored Initiator. Best of all, social media puts Initiators in touch with their audience, which equips them with a wide variety of social cues they can use to come up with new marketing ideas.
- Creative: There is no “set-it-and-forget-it” in online marketing. Even if you’re not looking to take your marketing to the next level, it takes a lot of creativity to figure out how to communicate the same thing in new ways. Initiators are great at taking what’s new, hip, trending…or just what works well for your business and coming up with clever ways to use it in your market. Best of all, these sorts of projects are usually simple and straightforward, giving Initiators the ability to get in, do their thing and move on.
With Initiators, the important thing is to play to their strengths. Initiators thrive on variety. New challenges and opportunities are a game for them and the more opportunities they have to flex their creative muscles and interpersonal skills, the happier everyone will be.
Working with an Initiator
Like all of the marketing personality types, Initiators do their best work as part of a team that incorporates all four personality types. Depending on your personality type, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
Initiators tend to feed off of each other. Put two (or more) Initiators in the same room and the sky’s the limit! Initiators get along well and love having a fellow idea-generator to bounce ideas off of.
The only downside here is that Initiators also feed off each other’s weaknesses. With multiple people around to suggest new ideas, Initiators often have a hard time staying focused on what’s most important. Without a fair amount of self-discipline (or oversight), Initiator-Initiator relationships can quickly spiral into an endless cycle of ideation…without any actual implementation.
Initiators and Implementors have a very symbiotic relationship. Implementors love Initiator creativity and are great at executing on an Initiator’s ideas. On the flip side of things, Initiators love having someone to carry the torch once they get bored—allowing them to stay in a creative headspace.
Where things can get difficult, unfortunately, is when the Initiator doesn’t take the time to get the Implementor’s honest feedback. This can lead to a lot of hurt feelings as the Initiator jumps from idea-to-idea, endlessly adding new tasks to the Initiator’s plate. Since the Initiator isn’t feeling the weight of executing on their ideas, they can quickly overload and exhaust the Implementor.
The good news is, most Initiators care deeply about their co-workers, so they usually respond well to feedback. A well-balanced Initiator recognizes the Implementor’s quiet efforts and asks them to counterbalance their boundless creativity. Similarly, a smart Implementor makes sure to jump in and explain the practical implications of new ideas before things get out of hand.
Working together, Initiators and Implementors do an excellent job of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. They get far better results by working together and collaborating than they ever would on their own.
Initiator-Driver relationships can be hard to predict. When Initiators and Drivers understand the differences in their personalities and the value they each bring to the table, amazing things happen.
Once they have an objective in sight, Drivers have a gift for staying on target and getting across the finish line. However, this single-mindedness often comes at the expense of creativity and adaptability—the Initiator’s strong suite.
When they work together, however, these personality types counterbalance each other nicely. In a pell-mell race to success, the Driver pushes the Initiator to come up with better ways to do things, while the Initiator appreciates the direction and helps the Driver stay flexible.
Unfortunately, without good communication, Initiator-Driver relationships can quickly become strained. The Initiator’s lack of focus can make the Driver crazy and the Driver’s dogged determination may seem frustrating and “out of touch” to the Initiator.
The key to preventing (or overcoming) these challenges is consistent communication. The better the Initiator understands and agrees with the goal, the more focused and relevant their ideas and behavior will be. And, the more the Driver understands how the Initiator is helping
them get to their goal, the more they’ll appreciate the Initiator’s contributions.
Of all the marketing personality types, Initiators and Refiners tend to butt heads the most. Ideally, the Initiator recognizes that the Refiner is perfecting their ideas and the Refiner embraces the new opportunities created by the Initiator.
Sadly, things often don’t quite work out that way.
A lot of the time, Initiators see Refiners as a stick-in-the-mud. They don’t contribute any ideas of their own, but they’re happy to shoot down or poke holes in all of the Initiator’s ideas.
On the flip side of things, Refiners often feel like Initiators “have their head in the clouds”. Refiners are focused on perfecting realities, not exploring possibilities.
The key to overcoming these gaps is understanding the value that each marketing personality brings to the table. Without Refiners, Initiators’ ideas would never reach their full potential. And, without Initiators to change things up, Refiners wouldn’t have concepts to perfect.
Initiators are a fairly common marketing personality type—and for good reason. Their creativity and people skills make them a perfect fit for finding clever ways to reach new customers.
To make full use of all that potential, however, an Initiator needs to be set up for success. They need to understand themselves and be managed by someone who understands their strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re an Initiator, you want to surround yourself with the other marketing personality types. This should come naturally to you and if you have the right people around you, your ideas will take flight and yield awesome results for your business.
If you’re working with an Initiator, you’ve got a great asset at your disposal. Interact with them regularly, make them feel valued and appreciated and take full advantage of all the creativity and insights they have to offer.
Either way, the better you understand your own marketing personality type and the personality types of those around you, the better equipped you will be to deliver great results for your business!
Are you an Initiator? Do you agree with this breakdown? How will this information change how you think about your marketing approach? Leave your thoughts in the comments.