I believe the answer is a resounding “Yes!” This is a topic I’ve struggled with for the last 3+ years in school as I decided what I wanted to study, and as I get closer to graduating the issue grows more and more pressing.
First off, there is a common misconception that “introverted” and “shy” mean the same thing. I am both introverted and shy, but it’s entirely possible to be one and not the other. Being introverted simply means that a person obtains their personal energy by being alone, whereas shy is more about feeling nervous and jittery in the presence of others. Some people may be very outgoing when meeting new people, but after a while they just need some alone time, and there are others who may feel reserved at first, but eventually warm up to others and would be happy with constant company.
In regards to the field of marketing, I’ve often wondered if I’m at a disadvantage because of my introverted (and shy) personality. When looking at job descriptions I often see the same keywords: communication, sales, outgoing, energetic, etc. And frankly, sometimes the thought of having a job that requires frequent human interaction scares me. I wonder why I chose this major, and why I couldn’t have gone with something that wouldn’t require me to ever leave my house.
But then I remember just how much I love this field. I love studying the relationships between business and consumer, learning about new marketing channels and how to reach new target markets, deciding why certain advertisements work with some people but not others, and even interacting with people through social media or online forums to learn about marketing or advertising methods. Although I sometimes wonder why I couldn’t have just been born an outgoing extrovert to make my problems disappear, I’ve learned to accept (and even love!) my introverted-ness.
Why? Because we have amazing strengths all our own that make us an asset in the marketing world. The obvious one is that we just understand other introverts better than extroverts can. For example, say a company wants to hold a focus group for a new product and needs a variety of personalities. An introvert would be able to tell their teammates that other introverts may not be so keen to jump into a full day of social activity, thus lessening the diversity of the focus group.
A second asset is that we tend to think more before we speak (and write). In this fast-paced world, it can be tempting to want to say the very first thing that comes to mind to be the first one out there and get all the credit. But oftentimes those gut reactions can get people into trouble (or even cost them their job, if it’s a serious offense) so it pays to think things through before spewing off those initial reactions. Whether it’s speaking to a client about a new advertising campaign or replying to a comment on social media, every word counts (and can possibly be held against you in the future).
Thirdly, I personally believe that introverts can more easily adjust to the extroverted way of life when we need to (don’t tell the extroverts that!). It’s certainly not because we are better in any way, it’s just that introverts have to live in an extroverted world, so we get used to it. It would be a very rare situation when an extrovert was forced to stay home without any sort of human interaction (including cell phones and internet), but it’s just an average day when an introvert has to go out in the world and socialize with other people. So, in that sense, it could actually be the extroverts who are at a disadvantage because they haven’t been forced to learn how to live in both worlds, whereas introverts have been doing it since day one.
So (in my own humble opinion) I think that introverts not only make good marketers, we make excellent marketers. Although making a living from socializing and communicating with people doesn’t always seem like it would be a good fit for an introvert, we actually have a natural skill set that lends itself well to this field. Also, the fact that many introverts may avoid a marketing career makes those of us who love it an even greater asset.