What motivates your target customer? This can be a difficult question to answer. People are motivated by different things. And, these differences are more than skin deep. Some people are motivated by family. Others are motivated by money. Still, others are primarily motivated by something less tangible, like the perception of others. The more you understand what drives your target customer to make a purchase, the more effective your marketing is. VALS, or Values, Attitudes and Lifestyles, allows you to tailor both your product and advertising to groups that are most likely to buy.
VALS was first introduced in 1978 by SRI International, a consulting firm based in California. It is a type of customer segmentation that helps you target customers based on what drives that customer psychologically. For this reason, it is referred to as psychographic segmentation.
Sound marketing strategy depends on your ability to know your customer. The goal of the VALS framework is to predict consumer behaviour. And, what it generally shows is that preferences are more important than demographics.
Unlike traditional demographics, VALS uses a system based on non-traditional factors. Its creators believed behaviour played a bigger factor in buyer or purchase decisions than traditional demographics such as age, sex, education level, and income.
There are three main categories or groups of customers within the VALS framework. The first category is for need-directed customers. These customers make purchases based on need. The second category is outer-directed customers. These customers make purchases based on perceptions of those around them. The third category is for inner-directed customers. These consumers make purchases based on an inner need. Your target customer may fit all or only one of these profiles.
Each of these groups has a different motivation to buy your product. Their behaviour or VALS grouping may also change based on the product.