What’s it: VALS stands for values, attitudes, and lifestyles, a framework for psychographic segmentation. It combines psychological and demographic characteristics to explain consumer behavior.
Under the VALS framework, customers in the target market are divided into eight groups based on two dimensions. The first dimension represents the resources consumers have, such as income, education, self-confidence, intelligence, leadership skills, and energy. Meanwhile, the second dimension represents the primary motivation of consumers: ideals, achievement, and self-expression. These two dimensions describe the dynamics underlying consumer self-expression, decisions, and purchasing patterns.
The eight categories of VALS are as follows:
Achievers are highly achievement-oriented consumers. They are successful career and family-oriented people. They tend to avoid things that can change the status quo.
Achievers are politically conservative and respect authority. They like prestigious products and services that can demonstrate their success to their peers.
Innovators love challenges and change for the better. Thus, they are open to new ideas and technologies. They dare to take risks because they have the highest income and abundant resources. They are responsible for people with high self-esteem. All of this allows innovators to enjoy any or all self-orientation.
Image is important to innovators because it is an expression of taste, independence, and character. They prefer goods or services that make life better.
Thinkers are people who have high resources and are motivated by ideals. They are mature, responsible, and highly educated professionals.
Their recreational activities center on the home. Nonetheless, they are well informed about what is going on outside because they actively seek out the information when making decisions. They have high incomes but become practical consumers and enjoy durability, functionality, and value in products. Apart from that, they are also rational decision-makers.
Believers consist of people who are low resources and motivated by ideals. They are conservative consumers. Their buying and consumption behavior is relatively predictable, where they like products with established brands. Their lives are centered on the family, place of worship, community, and nation. They have a moderate income.
Strivers are a group of low-resourced consumers who are motivated by achievement. They have scores very similar to the achievers but have fewer economical, social, and psychological resources.
Style is the primary consideration in consumption. They try to imitate people they admire.
Experiencers are a group of highly resourced consumers who are motivated by self-expression. They usually consist of young people with an age range of 25 years.
Being younger than other segments, they have a lot of energy for physical exercise and social activities. They are avid consumers, spending heavily on clothing, fast food, music, and other young favorites. They are also open to new trends or products and services.
Makers represent low resource consumers who are motivated by self-expression. They are practical people who value independence. They focus on family, work, and physical recreation. They are less interested in the broader world outside their focus. As consumers, they value practical and functional products.
Survivors consist of consumers with the lowest income compared to other segments. They have minimal resources and self-orientation.
In terms of age, they are the oldest compared to other categories. Their approximate average age was 61 years. With their limited capabilities, they tend to be brand loyal consumers.
Why is VALS important
Each segment of VALS has different characteristics in responding to the marketing mix. Understanding each group is essential to:
- Determine the consumer target. Companies can divide consumers into the above eight categories. Each category shows different consumer preferences and behavior.
- Finds unique communication channels and messages for each segment. It enables a more effective and efficient communication strategy.
- Provides more in-depth insight into the consumer profiles in the target segment. That way, marketers can develop the right marketing mix.
- Describe attitudes and anticipate consumer behavior in each category. That way, the company can develop a customized offering. For example, when achievement is the primary motivation, consumers look for products to show their success to their peers. So, to target them, companies can offer products that give off a luxurious and unique impression.