& Vals Essay, Research Paper
The use of advertising by companies today is an integral part to the relationship between businesses and consumers. Companies that know why their customers act the way they do can gear their advertising accordingly and thus gain a competitive edge. A popular technique businesses use to conduct research on customers is through the Values and Lifestyles (VALS) system. VALS categorizes U.S. adult consumers into mutually exclusive groups based on their psychology and several key demographics. VALS is said to be unique because it highlights factors that motivate consumer buying behavior, according to the Business Intelligence Center. Unlike other segmentation systems that are based solely on demographics, VALS goes a step beyond by looking at the underlying psychological make-up of the public.
Established in 1978, VALS is one of the first major consumer segmentation surveys based on lifestyle characteristics, demographics, and psychographics. The system analyzes results based on how people pursue and acquire products and services, and the experiences that shape their identities. These results can be used to identify certain target customers, to uncover what the target group buys and does, to locate where the target group lives, and to identify how best to communicate with that group. Consumer products and services companies throughout the United States have used VALS to improve product development, product positioning, promotion planning, advertising effectiveness, advertising implementation, and corporate image.
The system places respondents to the VALS questionnaire into eight separate categories based on distinctive behavior characteristics that may alter decision-making patterns. After taking the survey and submitting the results, the system places respondents in a primary and secondary category. My primary category was actualizer and secondary was experiencer. VALS describes actualizers as successful, sophisticated, active, take-charge people, and where image is of extreme importance. I could not agree more with my classification since I possess a wide range of interests, enjoy being in charge, and consider myself a future government or business leader. My second classification, however, was not as accurate. I do not consider myself offbeat, risky, or rebellious, and therefore I do not believe experiencer was a correct portrayal, regardless of its secondary ranking.
Finally, after studying the way VALS survey statistics are analyzed and reported, I found that consistency in answering the often simplistic and repetitive questions plays a considerable role in whether or not the system arrives at a correct interpretation. A precise analysis of a customer is extremely valuable information for a company desiring to sell them a product or service. Nevertheless, if I were ever targeted by a business, it would be highly resourceful for that business to utilize the data of systems such as the Values and Lifestyles questionnaire to ensure a highly profitable venture.