Any fellow introverts in marketing, thriving in an extroverted world?
Throughout my career in HR, recruiting and marketing, it seems the spotlight has always been cast to shine the brightest on the extroverts.
Maybe it’s no wonder?
Their natural ease in social situations, comfort with public speaking, and seemingly endless energy for networking can make them seem like the ideal marketers, or the ideal for any role!
However, this perspective overlooks the unique strengths and contributions of introverts in marketing.
As an introverted marketing and communications entrepreneur, I’ve navigated this extroverted domain and discovered ways to leverage my introverted qualities for success.
And, not just as an entrepreneur but also in employer branding, personal branding, and the branding of our business, Employer Branding Agency Emine.
In this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast, I’m sharing some of my thoughts and experiences for us as introverts in marketing.
I’m hoping this episode works as an inspiration and a support element for my peer introverts in marketing and as an eye-opener for our extrovert counterparts on why we are the way we are and how to make the most out of our collaboration.
If you are new to this podcast, my name is Susanna Rantanen.
As one of the top employer branding experts and influencers globally, I’m here to inspire, educate, guide and hopefully also entertain those of you who want to learn how to use branding, marketing and communications for ultimate professional success.
Whether you are a marketing, communications, HR, talent acquisition or employer branding professional, with me, you’ll learn how to win sustainable attention in a world where attention is no longer a default.
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Misunderstanding the Introverts in Marketing
Introverts are often misunderstood as shy or antisocial, but these are misconceptions.
Introversion is fundamentally about how one recharges and processes information and how social situations are an energy taker for introverts instead of an energy builder like they are for extroverts.
Introverts tend to feel more energised by solitary activities and need time alone to recharge after social interactions.
They are often reflective, thoughtful, and good listeners – qualities that are incredibly valuable in marketing.
The Power of Listening and Observation
In my journey, I’ve found that one of my greatest strengths as a fellow introvert in marketing is my ability to listen and observe.
In a field where understanding consumer and talent behaviour and preferences is crucial, being a good listener can be a superpower. That’s something that often comes naturally for introverts in marketing.
By paying close attention to what clients and customers are saying, and perhaps more importantly, what they’re not saying, introverts in marketing can gain deep insights that inform more effective marketing strategies.
There’s a lot more going on inside my head that others will ever see from the outside. Introverts tend to be deep thinkers and need time to process their thoughts into words.
There’s a lot more going on inside my head that others will ever see from the outside. Introverts tend to be deep thinkers and need time to process their thoughts into words.Susanna Rantanen
When I was younger and didn’t quite understand my introverted character, I asked, ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ in, for example, a job interview scenario always made me ashamed of not having anything to ask.
Later in life, I understood I needed time to process and form my questions – preferably on paper. This discovery has helped me to plan ahead for those situations where I might be asked to ask questions.
In general, I organise information and my thoughts through writing.
This is what I discovered early in my entrepreneurial career when one winter, I broke the wrist on my writing hand and tried to instruct my team to take over some of my work.
I struggled to give the advice vocally and realised I needed to write it or doodle it first to organise my thoughts and then talk it through with my employees.
Deep Dive into Creativity and Strategy
Introverts often excel in deep thinking and concentration.
This trait is a boon in marketing, where developing creative concepts and strategic plans requires focus and contemplation.
In my experience, some of the best marketing ideas come from deep, uninterrupted thought, which introverts apparently naturally excel at.
In my experience, some of the best marketing ideas come from deep, uninterrupted thought, which introverts apparently naturally excel at.Susanna Rantanen
I’m at my most creative mind when listening to other thinkers speak.
It can be a keynote speech or simply listening to podcast episodes or non-fiction audiobooks, and suddenly, I find my mind wandering, plotting, creating and producing initiatives and ideas.
I love going for long walks alone, listening to some juicy non-fiction book or podcast episode and finding myself picking up my phone from my pocket only to send myself emails on various ideas and thoughts.
In the car, I stop what I’m listening to and record the idea or thought on my phone as a video from a specific angle that helps me recognise later this video is an idea or a thought I recorded for myself.
Any other introverts in marketing who can relate to this?
The Art of Written Communication
As someone who loves playing with words, I’ve found written communication to be a strong suit. I’m pretty sure many introverts in marketing can relate to me!
In today’s digital world, where content is king, the ability to craft compelling narratives, write persuasive copy, and engage audiences through storytelling is invaluable.
Introverts often find it easier to express themselves in writing, making them adept at creating content that resonates with audiences.
Introverts often find it easier to express themselves in writing, making them adept at creating content that resonates with audiences.Susanna Rantanen
Albeit, content creation does not have to be copytext, as in written content.
Many successful brands and content creators are better at expressing themselves on video instead of writing. So, if you relate to videos better, absolutely go for it!
In fact, short-form videos are likely to be more engaging than copytext. Unless you ace copywriting, of course.
I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars learning written communication techniques that I use in content creation and marketing for my business and our clients.
Building Meaningful Relationships
While introverts in marketing may find large networking events draining, they are often skilled at building deep, meaningful relationships. It’s the same for me.
While introverts in marketing may find large networking events draining, they are often skilled at building deep, meaningful relationships. It’s the same for me.Susanna Rantanen
Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with people.
I get bored and uninspired when I spend too much time in isolation and lack connection to people. My weakness is that I’m terrible at making social initiatives with people I have not had prior contact with.
So, things like cold calling and going alone on business events is a big no-no for me.
However, I’ve found a way to overcome these weaknesses.
For example, building my brand through content was the way for me not to have to do cold calling.
I was very fortunate to start as a content creator already in 2009 when no one else was creating educational HR content in the business world, in Finland or elsewhere. My content quickly won attention and paved my way as a thought leader in my field.
And then, when it comes to business events, instead of going alone, I go with my colleagues or my best friends, who are way more extroverted than me. They provide me with the energy, introductions and fearlessness I need in those situations.
Networking is a Crucial Part of Marketing, but It Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming for Introverts.
I’ve learned to approach networking in a way that plays to my strengths.
Instead of trying to meet everyone in the room, I focus on making a few meaningful connections. I also prepare talking points in advance and set realistic goals for networking events, which makes them more manageable and less intimidating.
The good thing for me in the relevant Finnish business market and circles is that after over a decade as an entrepreneur and the leading employer branding expert, I’ve built a big enough network.
I already know many people and do not have to attend those events as an unknown person anymore. This helps me to approach people I know and let them introduce me to people I don’t know yet.
The Social Side of Introversion
Contrary to what many people mistakenly believe, us introverts can be super social when we are in the presence of people we already know.
It’s only strangers that make us very timid and reserved, hoping they make the first step.
It’s only strangers that make us very timid and reserved, hoping they make the first step. I love meeting new people and talking to many people at these events, but I find it difficult to approach people I don’t know yet. I wish they would come to me and say hello.Susanna Rantanen
I love meeting new people and talking to many people at these events, but I find it difficult to approach people I don’t know yet. I wish they would come to me and say hello.
My timidness is not a signal of cockiness or anything like that. It’s simply the introversion taking over and not knowing how to approach people. And it can make me appear very awkward at times!
Introverts tend to excel at one-on-one or small group interactions, creating strong bonds with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.
Fortunately, in employer branding, where understanding and communicating a company’s ethos is key, these deep connections and the ability to really pay attention, listen and pick up signals can lead to more authentic and effective brand representation.
I find this ability to read between the lines as one of my superpowers.
Leveraging Technology as Introverts in Marketing
In an increasingly digital world, introverts in marketing can leverage technology to manage social interactions on their own terms. And, that’s what I also rely on.
Social media, email marketing, WhatsApp, and digital content creation allow us introverts in marketing to connect with audiences without the energy drain of constant face-to-face or spoken interactions.
Social media, email marketing, WhatsApp, and digital content creation allow us introverts in marketing to connect with audiences without the energy drain of constant face-to-face or spoken interactions.Susanna Rantanen
As an employer branding expert, I regularly use these tools to build a strong online presence, engaging with my audience in ways that feel authentic yet manageable for me.
And it’s not just at work! I’m terrible at calling anyone, period!
Instead, I send messages, from text-only to audio, even video messages, memes and GIFs, to keep in touch with friends and family.
I do have one friend, one of my best friends, who is pretty much the only person I regularly call, unless she calls me first.
We have regular weekly calls during which we either go for a walk – each at our own end -or do house chores while we talk. And those talks are easily two hours or more! For us, a short call is around 30-40 minutes. And our husbands know this.
Embracing Quiet Leadership as Introverts in Marketing
Leadership in marketing, sales or in an organisation doesn’t always have to be loud or overtly charismatic.
Introverts in marketing can lead through example, demonstrating dedication, thoughtfulness, and a keen eye for detail.
Due to our introversion, we introverts are great at listening. This is a hugely undervalued characteristic in all leaders, including those introverts in marketing, sales, HR and talent acquisition.
Due to our introversion, we introverts are great at listening. This is a hugely undervalued characteristic in all leaders, including those introverts in marketing, sales, HR and talent acquisition.Susanna Rantanen
In my role, I’ve found that leading with empathy and understanding creates a work environment where creativity flourishes and team members feel valued and heard.
When it comes to marketing and branding specifically, introversion is more helpful for success than extroversion. Introverts are not good at talking about themselves but can excel as subject-knowledge experts, sharing insight and information and educating others.
I’ve found this to be another fortunate superpower of mine. I know that our audiences are mostly interested in how they can excel with the help of what we know.
When it comes to marketing and branding specifically, introversion is more helpful for success than extroversion. Introverts are not good at talking about themselves but can excel as subject-knowledge experts, sharing insight and information and educating others.Susanna Rantanen
Our audiences are not at all interested in being suffocated by content and information about how someone else excels. Unless, that is put into a format of an inspirational example to learn from.
This approach is particularly effective in employer branding, where the goal is to create a positive and authentic company image.
Susan Cain’s New York Times Best Seller: ‘Quiet’
Susan Cain has written a New York Times Best Seller book called ‘Quiet’.
This book is about the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. I’ve also seen her speak on stage – as an introvert- another area where introverts can shine even more (or as much) than extroverts. But I’ll get into that in a bit.
First about this book, which I strongly recommend you read.
Even though, it is a non-fiction book, it has been written in a story format making it quite nice to follow if you are not that into non-fiction books.
First of all, this book successfully argues how the worlds of business and work dramatically undervalue introverts.
When I first started in HR, everyone hiring was asking for ‘a social extrovert’ and everyone applying for jobs claimed to be one. Even when they were not one.
Introversion, just like extroversion, is a personality trait
Introversion, just like extroversion, is a personality trait. And in the spectrum, they fall on the opposite ends. Most people are around the middle on this spectrum, so they have both traits dominant in their behaviour. Only about 4% of people are only introverted or only extroverted.
I too, have also extroverted characteristics, but my most dominant introverted traits are to do with other people, the need for solitude and thinking a lot in my head.
In comparison, out of my three best friends here in Finland, two of them are highly extroverted in social circumstances and need regular doses of social energy to keep them rolling.
I’m exhausted by the number of social activities they have scheduled for themselves on nearly every day of the week! For me, one social face-to-face activity per week is probably enough!
On days, when I have lots of meetings with our clients, I do love all those meetings. I am energised by the social interactions with those clients who I already know and work with.
But if those are sales meetings or a meeting with a new client or other contact for the first time, I won’t interact with anyone after work.
And, for the life of me, I could not handle going out and meeting with people, even my best friends, every weekend. Once a month is good for me!
Introverts are equally important at work and equally intelligent and resourceful as colleagues and employees than extroverts.Susan Cain in ‘Quiet’
What we can learn from Susan Cain’s Quiet, is that introverts are equally important at work and equally intelligent and resourceful as colleagues and employees than extroverts.
In some roles, extroverts are likely to succeed better naturally, but in some other roles, they can be a nightmare. And the same for introverts.
This book encourages us introverts to embrace our true nature; those strengths that are unique to us introverts and valuable to our organisations, self and the wider society.
A must-read for all introverts!
My Five Top Tips for Other Introverts in Marketing
#1 Preparation Releases Anxiety for Introverts in Marketing
Whether it’s a client meeting, a presentation, or a networking event, being well-prepared can help alleviate anxiety and boost confidence.
I spend some time researching, planning, and even rehearsing, which allows me to feel more in control and less overwhelmed in what might otherwise be high-stress situations.
#2 Find Balance Between Your Professional and Personal Life
It’s important for introverts in marketing to find a balance between their professional and personal lives. Ensuring there’s enough time for solitude and activities that recharge your batteries is crucial.
I’ve learned to schedule downtime after particularly social or demanding periods at work, which helps me maintain my energy and enthusiasm for my job.
#3 Embrace Your Authentic Self
In a field [of marketing] often dominated by outgoing personalities, it’s easy for introverts to feel like they need to conform to a certain image.
However, embracing your authentic self is not only liberating but also beneficial in marketing.
Authenticity resonates with people, and in employer branding, it’s essential for creating a genuine and relatable company image.
By being true to myself, I’ve been able to connect more deeply with my audience and clients, creating more meaningful and effective connections and building an audience who appreciates and likes me for who I am.
The thing about branding is to differentiate yourself from competition and the only way to make it consistent and sustainable is to be authentic.
Base branding on the authentic traits, values and behaviour of yourself, your organisation and your business.
That makes your brand magnetic attracting those people who relate.
#4 Utilise Your Introverted Qualities in Employer Branding
The Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️ provides you with a systematic approach to applying storytelling and creating a narrative showcasing your company’s culture and values.
Introverts, with their propensity for deep thought and reflective thinking, are well-suited to this task.
They can really dig into what makes a company unique and articulate this in an engaging and authentic way. In developing the Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️, I’ve leveraged these qualities to create a modern approach that resonates both, with employers and potential employees.
#5 Keep Learning and Adapting
The marketing world is constantly evolving. Staying informed about the latest trends and technologies is crucial.
Introverts often excel in areas where continuous learning and adaptation are required. By dedicating time to education and skill development, introverts can stay ahead in the field and bring fresh, innovative ideas to their work.
This is what I love doing and it’s one of the winning traits of my personal brand. I’m very good at staying ahead and updating my knowledge all the time. This is what my introversion side supports.
Okay, let’s wrap this up.
If you are an introvert in marketing, recruiting, HR or employer branding, remember that you have unique qualities that can be incredibly powerful in the marketing world.
By embracing your natural tendencies towards listening, deep thinking, and meaningful communication, introverts can thrive in this seemingly extroverted field.
As an introverted marketing and communications entrepreneur, I’ve found that leveraging these strengths, along with a focus on authenticity and continuous learning, has been key to my success in employer branding and marketing.
As fellow introverts in marketing, you should feel empowered to use your innate abilities to create impactful, innovative, and successful career leveraging branding, marketing and communications yourself.
Okey, this is it for this week!
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Stay tuned for more insightful episodes on mastering branding, marketing and communications in talent acquisition, employer branding, career development and even as a solopreneur HR professional getting more sales and building your solopreneur brand!
My name is Susanna Rantanen!
Thanks for tuning in! Until next week!