… with the help of the perfect buyer archetypes!
It is my firm belief that the trend in marketing is to move away from manipulative seller-buyer relationships to a more organic and healthy long-term marketing relationship.
What do I mean by that?
For quite some time now marketing has been all about triggering the right kind of emotions and responses in your buyer. Making the buyer believe that what you have to offer is not just exactly what they need, but what they want. As marketeers we wanted the buyer to see themselves in the brand: the brand as the personification of the buyer’s personality. As a brand, it was your primary goal to form that emotional connection between you and the buyer that would have the latter return to your products again and again, regardless of quality or features or other alternatives available.
Here at Growmance, we don’t want to feel like we manipulated a buyer into choosing our product or services over those of our competitors. Rather, we want to nurture an organic long-term relationship between us and the buyer that is based on fit. What we offer should fit the buyer’s needs as determined by the buyer himself. Our product or service should help the buyer achieve his or her goal, as set by the buyer himself. And we should function as the guides that help the buyer address his problem, achieve his goal, and take care of his needs.
But, even the buyers that are a perfect fit for the services or products that we are offering, we still need to connect with them to establish this kind of long-term marketing relationship. And to connect involves connecting emotionally. So, we don’t deny that we as humans buy based on emotions, and only afterward justify our purchasing decisions with facts.
Buyers have more choices than ever. Through social media, they are bombarded with messages about what they supposedly need. We have to find a way to get through all the noise to engage with our perfect buyer. We cannot establish a marketing relationship if they do not notice us. This is where the Jungian Archetypes come in: as a shortcut that allows us to create this organic connection. Here the Jungian Archetypes are in service of the perfect buyer archetypes.
The Perfect Buyer Archetypes
Before you delve into the use of archetypes to connect with your perfect buyer, we need to take a slight detour. To the original archetypes as defined by Jung. And how they found their way into every branding effort of the past two decades.
The Jungian Archetypes
A little refresher, according to the dictionary an archetype is defined as
“a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, or image, universally present in individual psyches.”
Carl Jung developed his archetypes to better understand and illustrate what it is that subconsciously drives and motivates us. Over time his archetypes found their way into literary analysis, art critique, dream psychology, and yes, marketing and branding.
Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson in 2001 introduced Jung’s archetypes to the marketing world in their book “The Hero and the Outlaw.” Using Jung’s theory, they listed 12 archetypes that are now widely used for marketing and branding
The 12 Archetypes
The overview of the archetypes is often presented in a circular fashion, see below. The outer ring names the archetype, the middle ring states the dominant personality trait and the inner ring describes a connecting theme.
Each archetype has its own set of values and personality traits associated with it. Below is a quick summary.
There are twelve archetypes: The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.
- The Innocent: Identified with happiness, goodness, optimism, safety, romance, and youth.
- The Everyman: Defined as being supportive, faithful and down to earth. Looking for forging connections and finding a place to belong.
- The Hero: Recognized as courageous, bold and inspirational with a missionary streak to make the world a better place.
- The Rebel: Defined as a rule breaker, someone that questions authority and longs for revolution and rebellion.
- The Explorer: Identified as someone that years for travel and discovery, a risk taker that thrives and is inspired by new experiences.
- The Creator: Seen as an inventor and builder. Someone that uses imagination to create things imbued with meaning and value.
- The Ruler: Recognized as someone that creates order from chaos. The flip side of the ruler’s controlling and stern behavior is responsibility and organization.
- The Magician: Seeks to make dreams a reality and turn the ordinary into something special. Seen as a visionary.
- The Lover: Defined as being passionate, devoted to love, romance and commitment with a focus on creating intimacy.
- The Caregiver: A protector and carer of others who is seen as compassionate, nurturing and generous with his time and emotions.
- The Jester: Recognized as a mischief-maker who seeks to bring fun and irreverence to joy the world.
- The Sage: Seen as a trusted guide and advisor who is described as thoughtful, wise and committed to helping people gain a deeper insight.
Brands usually try to position themselves as one of the archetypes (or as the dominant archetype in an amalgam of traits). All their marketing and advertising will be in service to that archetype so that their customers can identify themselves with a particular brand and its products.
But this is not the way we at Growmance are thinking of the Jungian archetypes. We are not trying to create unmissable branding, we are thinking of connections.
Your Perfect Buyer
The road to your perfect buyer begins with a journey. Not yours, but your buyer’s. Remember, in his mind, the customer is always the hero in their own story, whereby the ‘hero’ in this case is not the ‘hero’ as defined in the Jungian Archetypes. But because buyers perceive themselves to be the hero, you (as a brand) should think of yourself as the guide that helps them get to where they want to go. The destination in this case is the solution that the buyer seeks for a perceived problem or a need that the buyer has identified that he is seeking a product or service for to address the underlying issue.
You as their guide seek to help them achieve their goal. So, in your marketing materials your focus should be on what is the problem that they are seeking a solution to, and how does your product or service support them in achieving their goal?
But knowing the problem you are trying to solve for your buyer is only one step in figuring out how to engage your perfect buyer. The question you need to answer before you can work on creating a healthy long-term marketing relationship is: What archetype is your perfect buyer? Only once you have determined your perfect buyer archetype can you truly engage your buyer and create that long-lasting marketing relationship.
Your perfect buyer archetype
The perfect buyer archetypes help you determine how to communicate with your buyer and help you understand what kind of meaning or imagery will resonate with your buyer. Basically, you are flipping the traditional understanding and application of the Jungian archetypes on its head.
You are not using the perfect buyer archetypes to try to sell something, anything. So, the focus is not on determining your brand’s dominant archetype that would give it meaning in your customers’ minds, rather, the focus is on what is your perfect buyer’s archetype and how do the traits associated with that perfect buyer archetype structure communication and relationships. Let the perfect buyer archetype be your guide in how to reach out to the customer, how to engage the customer and how to respond to the customer. Your goal is not a simple sale, your task is to help the customer achieve his goal. And finding the right communication tools is key.
In short, your job is to help your perfect buyer achieve what they want to achieve. The perfect buyer archetypes help you to communicate and engage with your perfect buyer better and faster.
Looked at it from this perspective, the perfect buyer archetypes are used as communication shortcuts, as mechanisms or tools for engaging buyers and enabling the establishment of meaningful long-term marketing relationships that are beneficial to both parties.
Of course, thinking about engaging with your perfect buyer through the lens of the perfect buyer archetypes is no guarantee that a long-term marketing relationship will develop. What it is likely to do is to force you to think about your communications with your perfect buyers as telling a story. And people like to hear stories, especially stories that resonate with them, and so you, as their guide, can aid them in their attempt to fulfill their goals. The perfect buyer archetypes can guide your communication, making it more efficient and better understood.