David Allison, in speaking and written materials, argues that values not age and demographics matter in determining purchasing decisions. In other words, he suggests you shouldn’t be thinking about whether your potential client is a millennial, black or white, male or female, or any of the traditional measures for market segmentation, and instead focus on values.
He has determined 10 values “archetypes” through surveys and says he has correlated their accuracy in predicting decision-making.
- The Adventure Club: these folks are the funsters, the curious ones, always restless and looking to try new things, eat at new places, and meet new people.
- The Home Hunters Union: people in this group don’t feel as much at home as they’d like, in all kinds of ways. They are unsettled, you might say.
- The Anti-Materialists Guild: members of the guild are not into having stuff, owning stuff, collecting stuff. None of that. I would not get along with these people very well at all.
- The Loyalists Lodge: the loyalists have had the same job forever, and are loyal to a fault in all aspects of life. There are more of these people than you might expect.
- The House of Creativity: this house is populated with those who believe they are creative, which could mean anything from occasional knitting to full-time interpretive dance.
- The Environmental Assembly: these are the people who are most focused on the planet. Mother earth is in trouble, so we should buy the right detergents. And, kidding aside, do some serious things too.
- The Technology Fellowship: we called this group a fellowship because they all connect and relate to the world, and each other, through technology. They congregate virtually.
- The League of Workaholics: this is a cohort who report being happy with 80-hour work weeks, and they love the status and recognition they get as a result.
- The Savers Society: this category includes my Mother-in-law, who will drive 45 minutes across town because butter is on sale. She also likes to save animals, people, and little hotel soaps.
- The Royal Order of the Overdrawn: boasts both millionaires and grocery clerks as members, people who are always a few dollars shy of where they should be.
He continues in this post:
If you wait for my book, you’ll find a full instruction manual and more information on these ten archetypes. But in the meantime, here is a quick-and-dirty way to start using this data right now.
First, define your target audience for a product, service, brand, or idea. Just do the best you can with whatever resources you have. Then, use one of the ten Valuegraphic Archetypes to guess at what you should do. For example, loyalists like loyalty – so run with that. Use the archetype to determine what the ad campaign should say, what the brand should mean, or even how the product should be designed.
Yes it’s a rough-and-ready approach, full of wild guesses and assumptions. But so are the ageist stereotypes you are likely using now. All boomers are settled down and happy with a family in the suburbs? All millennials are scared of commitment and live in their parents’ basement? Please. At least #Valuegraphic stereotypes are based on robust and extensive statistical proof.
There’s much food for thought in these ideas. I’ll explore them further in the weeks ahead.