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Market segmentation is designed to guide companies in tailoring their products and services in order to appeal to the people most likely to purchase them. VALS was developed in 1978 by social scientist and consumer futurist Arnold Mitchell and his colleagues at SRI International. It was immediately embraced by advertising agencies and is currently offered as a product of SRI’s consulting services division. VALS draws heavily on the work of Harvard sociologist David Riesman and psychologist Abraham Maslow.
The questions were weighted using data developed from a sample of 1,635 Americans and their significant others, who responded to an SRI International survey in 1980. The vertical dimension segments people based on the degree to which they are innovative and have resources such as income, education, self-confidence, intelligence, leadership skills, and energy.
Consumers driven by knowledge and principles are motivated primarily by ideals. These consumers include groups called Thinkers and Believers. Consumers driven by demonstrating success to their peers are motivated primarily by achievement. These consumers include groups referred to as Achievers and Strivers.
Consumers driven by a desire for social or physical activity, variety, and risk taking are motivated primarily by self-expression. These consumers include the groups known as Experiencers and Makers.
At the top of the rectangle are the Innovators, who have such high resources that they could have any of the three primary motivations. At the bottom of the rectangle are the Survivors, who live complacently and within their means without a strong primary motivation of the types listed above. The VALS Framework gives more details about each of the groups.
SRI significantly revised it in 1989. VALS2 places less emphasis on activities and interests and more on a psychological base to tap relatively enduring attitudes and values. The VALS2 program has two dimensions.