Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Redefining the Consumer; Updated VALS 2 System Improves Publishers' Ability to Market Readers

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Redefining the Consumer; Updated VALS 2 System Improves Publishers' Ability to Market Readers

Article excerpt

Redefining the consumer

New York City - Advertisers can now come closer to finding out what makes consumers tick with the new VALS 2 Segmentation System, an update of the original VALS produced in 1978 by SRI International.

The Values and Lifestyle program, say advertisers and marketing executives, will provide a better way to segment the consumer audience. "The increased psychographic segment tells more what people think rather than who they are," says Bill Abbott, advertising director, Glamour.

In fact, SRI states that VALS 2 "explains not just what consumers buy, but why and how they make purchase decisions." The original VALS - used by Ladies' Home Journal, for one, to segment its readership - focused largely on age, income and lifestyle.

Eight segments

VALS 2 defines eight consumer segments with distinctive patterns in attitudes, behavior and decision making. The segments are balanced in size - from about 8 percent to 16 percent of population - so that each represents a viable target market.

At the top of the VALS 2 scale are "actualizers" - take-charge people with high self-esteem and abundant income, education, and energy. They generally have cultivated tastes for the finer things in life.

Groups that make purchase decisions based on strongly held values include "fulfilleds," who are mature, conservative, and well-educated; and "believers," who are conservative, modestly successful, and closely tied to church and community.

Two groups are interested in status purchases: "Achievers," who are strongly career-oriented and prefer established, prestige products; and "strivers," who are less successful, but still prefer stylish goods. …

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