On any given day, I get to work directly with a variety of business owners and leaders. I maybe sitting down to coffee with a yoga teacher to go over her individualized plan for getting more private yoga students. Later that morning, I might have a conference call with some Realtors to go over their listing presentation ideas. By the end of the day, I need to send off an email with the latest draft of content for a therapist’s website.
I believe marketing is everything you do to draw people to your business. In other words, the way I start a conversation, the timeliness of my emails, the quality of my services are all opportunities to draw people in. And as a client-based business, the way I approach each relationship is different.
Throughout the day, I am staying grounded in my own self-awareness. But I also use my knowledge of the Enneagram to tailor my services to each client I interact with. None of my clients are experts in the Enneagram, nor have we had a discussion to discover what type they are. That’s not the point—nor do I make a practice of “figuring out” what type each person is that I come across.
But I do use my understanding of the Enneagram to empathize and connect. This ancient personality typing system that points out the distinct ways each of us sees the world and the underlying motivations that powerfully influence the way we think, feel, and behave. So the Enneagram helps me see past people’s behaviors to get curious about what makes them tick.
Below, I give a broad overview of each Enneagram Type. You may recognize yourself in a few—and perhaps a few others will remind you of your family and friends. You may also see some familiar traits of your clients. From the lens of marketing, I will share some ideas on how to best connect and empathize with each type on the Enneagram.
Type One: The Reformer
Enneagram Type Ones are called the Reformers or Perfectionists. They are moral, ethical, conscientious, reliable, and kind. Their core motivation is to be right or good. They have a loud inner critic, and sometimes their drive to do things “the right way” can cause them to be critical or impatient with others.
When marketing to Ones, remember the details matter—a lot. They may need a lot of back and forth dialog so they can feel confident they are making the right decision. They are typically drawn to ethical businesses making a positive impact on an unjust world.
Type Two: The Helper
Enneagram Type Twos are known as the Helpers or the Befrienders. They are empathetic, relational, and attuned to the needs of others. Their core motivation is to be needed or desired, but sometimes their genuine desire to be helpful can have a hidden agenda of desiring affirmation or approval to get their unspoken needs met.
When marketing to Twos, remember that they experience their world through the context of relationships. Personal touches and making them feel seen and cared for will go a long way. Remember, they’re seeking out your product or service because they need help, but asking for help feels vulnerable, so tread lightly and lead with empathy.
Type Three: The Achiever
Enneagram Type Threes are known as the Performers or the Achievers. They are confident, charming, and productive people. Their core motivation is to be seen as successful. While their driven nature often has good intentions, they can sometimes slip into workaholism or inauthenticity for the sake of their perceived success.
When marketing to Threes, remember they have a strong desire to be productive and look good doing it. Be direct and help them see how your product or service can help them get ahead. Marketing opportunities that include a friendly competition or put a Three in the spotlight can be quite effective at drawing them in.
Type Four: The Individualist
Enneagram Type Fours are called the Individualists or the Romantics. They are often very creative people, attuned with their emotions, and comfortable with a wide range of feelings. Their core motivation is to be recognized and seen for their uniqueness. They can simultaneously love marching to the beat of their own drum and feel angst over feeling like no one understands them.
When marketing to a Four, remember that they want to surround themselves with their own distinct version of beauty. Cater to their unique aesthetic sense, and when possible, offer an individualized experience for your product or service. Own your quirks and what sets you apart—Fours love authenticity.
Type Five: The Investigator
Enneagram Type Fives are known as the Investigators or the Observers. They are observant, independent, and very much in their head. Their core motivation is to understand their world and to acquire knowledge. They can be more reserved and even detached from their environment because they have a lower capacity and less energy than other numbers.
When marketing to a five, remember their desire to understand. They are the ones who will spend hours researching your product or service, delving into the far reaches of the internet to look at reviews, the details of where your product was made, and an in-depth history of your industry. Share as many of the details as you can with a five, but give them time and space to process it on their own.
Type Six: The Loyalist
Enneagram Type Sixes are known as the Loyalists or the Questioners. They are the most reliable, hard-working, and the most anxious bunch of all the types. Their core motivation is to feel secure and to protect themselves and their loved ones from worst-case scenarios. Some experts estimate that half of our population are sixes. Some sixes alleviate their anxiety by putting their trust in an organization, leader, or group, while other sixes will address their fears by being suspicious and self-protective against authority.
When marketing to a Six, remember they are constantly assessing their environment for threats. Don’t belittle their concerns—help them think through their worst-case scenarios. Work to help them alleviate their fears and you will have a loyal customer for life.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Enneagram Type Sevens are called the Enthusiasts or the Adventurers. They are the life of the party, spontaneous, and always focused on the next big adventure. Their core motivation is to avoid difficulty and pain, which can fuel their grass-is-always-greener mentality. Sevens are eternal optimists but sometimes can shrug off responsibility or commitment.
When marketing to a Seven, remember their desire for an unforgettable experience. They are thrilled with variety and novelty, so don’t be afraid to shake things up! Keep in mind they may have a shorter attention span, so be clear and keep things light in your communication. Give them space to make their own decisions and keep their grand visions for the future.
Type Eight: The Challenger
Enneagram Type Eights are called The Challengers or the Asserters. They are self-confident, intense personalities with a heart for the underdog. Their core motivation is to avoid weakness and to maintain control. They have a hard time being vulnerable, but underneath that strong exterior is often a soft, squishy, tender-hearted person!
When marketing to an Eight, be direct and confident. They have no problem with confrontation and have no time for weakness, so don’t be afraid to go toe-to-toe with them, but don’t mistake their assertive nature with a personal attack. And avoid flattery—that will evoke suspicion.
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Enneagram Type Nines are known as the Peacemakers or Mediators. They are easy-going, complacent, and kind-hearted. Their core motivation is to maintain a sense of peace, both internally and in their environment. They will avoid conflict at all costs, going along to get along, but they may become stubborn or passive-aggressive if they feel forced into something.
When marketing to a Nine, remember their desire for peace. Because they can see all sides of an argument, they may struggle to make a decision. Offer your knowledge and expertise, but don’t try to put pressure or expectations on a Nine to make a decision—they may not outwardly oppose you, but they may avoid taking action.
Learn more about the Enneagram—here’s a podcast episode that lists a ton of great resources to get you started.
If you speak Meme fluently, this might help you understand the Enneagram better.
This free service sends you an Ennea Thought of the Day, tailored to your Enneagram Number.
Wondering how your type interacts with others? This resource breaks down what each type brings to the relationship and potential trouble spots.