Leveraging DiSC Communication Styles for Marketing Copy

Leveraging DiSC Communication Styles for Marketing Copy

This article is based on my 10+ years of observing people in business situations. People are not able to be cubbyholed, they are all unique individuals. But we can generalize for the sake of being able to have productive communications. Communication is much too vital to leave it up to mere chance.

Since communication only happens when the recipient of the attempt can absorb and understand what the speaker is trying to say, it’s important that we change our style of pushing out information to be readily absorbed by others. For marketing copy, it’s not only important that we know and understand our target market, but that we acknowledge that within our target market they receive communication in a variety of ways.

DiSC is a communication style system that basically rates people on 4 ways they prefer to receive communications. Hopefully you’ve heard of it before, but if not there’s a basic rundown here. Most of the time we’re trained to use DiSC for face-to-face interactions. But DiSC outlines how people are able to take in information in a variety of interactions, how they’re best able to hear and respond to your message. So here’s a quick break-down of the 4 communication styles and how that relates to marketing pieces you create, and examples of how to apply these communication styles to a chiropractic practice.

D = Dominance or “demanding” — love being in control, love the results

What’s my return on investment? Where’s your price list? How will your product save me time? money? How much time will it take? How many appointments will I need? If I pay, are you taking care of everything for me? Is there a guarantee?

Don’t waste my time or money, don’t beat around the bush. D doesn’t need exact numbers, projections and estimates are OK. Testimonials should be short and get to the point. Use executive summaries.

Example: The D communicator would need to know how chiropractic treatments will make it easier to do everything else. Less sick days. More productivity. How being able to move will improve their efficiency. Make sure to mention how easy it is to make an appointment, how long appointments will be, whether they can expect to spend a lot of time in your waiting room, and whether you have free WiFi (so they can multi-task). They may also want to know the average number of appointments needed to address health issues, and how long on average between maintenance appointments.

i = Influence or interpersonal — love connecting socially with people, love socializing

Will this enhance my image, make me more personable? Will it help me make contact with people? Stay in touch with people? Will it help me look good? Does it have a social component? Are you well connected? Will I get to interact with you? Will it impede my social life?

First layer of importance with this group is that they have been referred to your product from a trusted source, or more than one source. These are the people best reached through word-of-mouth advertising and honest reviews unless your service directly impacts their social interactions. Share testimonials lauding your product and you as a person.

Example: An I communicator responds well to personal referrals. When they have a health issue, they talk about it with their friends and family, and ask for recommendations. They’ll respond better to online reviews or radio ads. Your chiropractic practice would need an active referral program to best reach this group. You’ll hand them a brochure, and they’ll probably leave it on your counter unless they’re trying to be polite. You also might find this person through social media, trade shows or events, and you can stay in touch with them through text loyalty programs. Hit these people up for online reviews and testimonials, and to share their experiences on social media — offer an exchange of favors if they have a business, they love social currency.

S = Steadiness or sympathy — need emotional connections, need emotional support

Will this be fun, relaxing, enjoyable? How comfortable will it be? How will this help me feel more secure? Can I take my time making a decision? Is this a safe process or procedure? Will this process be scary? Will you be there to support me? When it’s over, are you still available for support and questions? Can someone I trust come with me?

S needs customer service and a great bedside manner. Take your time, show you care. Share testimonials about how the product or service made this person feel.

Example: Chiropractic can be scary, and intimate. These people need to know that you have a good bedside manner, they need to know how to dress for the appointment to be comfortable, and they need to know how they will feel when they leave your office. Will they need to remove clothes or jewelry? These people need a warm welcome when they come in the office, and won’t like being the only person in your waiting room, so they might bring a friend for support. They need more time between their intake appointment and their first treatment so they can make sure they’re comfortable with the procedure. In marketing materials, reassure the S that you’re there for them, that you’re friendly, that their emotional comfort and physical comfort is important to you.

C = Conscientious or calculating — needs details, facts statistics and to understand the process

What’s your success rate? How many clients have you served? What’s the cost-per-piece? How will this help me digest information? Where’s the independent study? What are the sources of this information? What are your reliability ratings? What are the measurements of this product? How much does it weigh? Where can I find more information? What are the technical specifications? What are the ingredients? Will you answer my questions?

No one else needs the same level of detail as your potential C customer. They don’t mind “just good” as long as it’s reliably good. No one else needs this information to make their purchase, in fact this level of detail will put the other 3 communication types off. But C types are patient and take a long time making a decision and they’re usually willing to scrutinize your website copy to find the “Under the Hood” or “How this Works” link, or follow an extra link on your brochure for these nitty gritty details. They want testimonials that are critical and detailed. They’ll read your lowest rating reviews too.

Example: These people want to know about subluxations, they want diagrams or X-rays of before & after. They want to see statistics about all the health issues that chiropractic cures, skim white papers and peer-reviewed journal articles, etc. They want a list of your resources: where did you get that data? They want a detailed explanation of the process: are you manually adjusting them? Using a machine? What is your success rate? How does the industry rate the machine you’re using? They want to know success rates, how quickly your care helps an accident victim recover versus rates without chiropractic care, etc. Let the data convince these people that your care is safe, effective, and will treat their problem.

Putting it into practice

I’ve created a quick sample of a trifold brochure that maximizes space by addressing each of these needs on a different panel. The front panel should have an attention-grabber specific to your target market (“Are you in pain?”), but can also have the executive summary and a phone number. That’s the D’s delight — don’t make the D personality do the work. When you flip open the cover, I would put more of the D-level details in quick bullet-points on the left (they will get the C’s attention too), while on the right folded “inset” panel I would put all the S-level personable details about the people in the company, the wonderful customer service & care, the assurances of the safety of the facility, the ease of the meeting, the warmth & comfort and similar amenities. When you flip open this panel, revealing the 2 right side-by-side panels, I would put the C-level details, statistics, grit, diagrams, charts, photos, whatever you think they need for your product or service, and a suggestion for a link to go to for even more detail. The D will glance at it if you still have their attention. The S may close that portion again and concentrate more on your personal details. If you want to cover the bases with your I type potential customers, put a brief glowing testimonial on the bottom of each panel, and have photos of people on the S-panel. They’ll try to figure out if they’ve met any of the people at your company before.

By leveraging the strengths of each communication style while still talking to your target customer throughout the piece, you will have the beginnings of a more successful brochure.

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