January 3, 2012 8 Comments
Modern demographic information may not be enough to understand consumers today. Instead, companies are using a new form of market segmentation known as psychographics. Psychographics segments the market based on values, personality, and lifestyle (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 102). Probably the most used and best-known psychographic classification is the VALS system from SRI Consulting Business Intelligence (visit http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/ for more information on the VALS System). The VALS system divides the market based on two dimensions: primary motivations and resources (Arens, Schaefer, & Weigold, 2009, p. 102). VALS places the consumer into eight groups: Innovators, Thinkers, Achievers, Experiencers, Believers, Strivers, Makers, and Survivors. For example, the motivating factor for experiencers is self-expression. Typically, they are young and enthusiastic. They seek variety, excitement, and are not afraid to take risk (Strategic Business Insights, 2011). I am sure you can name several experiencers off the top of your head.
To see how the VALS works in advertising, let us look at two recent commercials put out by America’s most popular pickup trucks the Chevy Silverado and the Ford F-150.
The new Chevy Silverado commercial shows a child playing with a toy version of the Silverado and other toys strewn about the living room. After completing several ‘chores’ the boy returns the toy truck to a toy home, where the male action figure is greeted by a female action figure and states “Hi Honey,” in his best female impression. This is where the boy hears the door of the real Silverado shut outside, he knows the Dad is home. This commercial targets the believer psychographic. Believers follow established routines and center themselves on home and family (Strategic Business Insights, 2011). Typically, believers are motivated by ideals. The Silverado commercial is full of material to mirror the believer group. The boy represents the family aspect and his admiration of the father is one that is strong. After a long day of work, the father returns home, completing the established routine. Successful advertising creates a positive response to the brand and product in the minds of the consumers. Believer consumers can identify with the father in the ad, the idea home and family, thus creates a positive reaction to the brand and product. In this case, the brand is Chevy and the product is the new Silverado.
Ford targets a different psychographic, the makers. The Ford commercial begins by explaining the new features of their product. Most of the time I recommend not to explain the features of a product, instead demonstrate the rewards; however, the end of the ad explains how these new features benefit the consumer with more towing power and better fuel economy. The Ford ad is aiming at the maker psychographic. Makers experience the world by building it (Strategic Business Insights, 2011). More towing and better fuel mileage allows makers to create more for less. It is the idea that the Ford F-150 can create more with better fuel economy is the positive reinforcement of the ad, creating the positive response to the Ford Motor Company and the F-150 Brand.
I highly recommend that you take the VALS survey and research the eight groups in the VALS system, as it is a powerful tool for a more effective form of market segmentation.
Arens, W. F., Schaefer, D. H., & Weigold, M. (2009). Essential of Contemporary Advertising. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Strategic Business Insights. (2011). VALS. Retrieved from strategic business insights: http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/