Marketers need both deep customer understanding and fresh customer insights that are based on fact not simple intuition or very small samples. VALS grounds its work in consumer data. Accurate research and insightful analysis make VALS consultants' recommendations actionable.
Creating the rich and textured consumer profiles or personas that VALS is known for is a two-step process. The first step is to identify consumers' VALS types or mindsets in order to understand motivations and psychological traits. Step two is to discover the specific consumer behaviors and additional attitudes and demographics critical to accomplishing specific business goals.
These two steps occur simultaneously in survey research. The VALS Survey questionnaire in use to identify consumers' VALS types integrates into client-specific surveys as well as into large syndicated research surveys such as MRI's Survey of the American Consumer or Scarborough's local-market research studies. VALS types, behaviors, additional demographics and attitudes are collected at the same time. VALS consultants work with clients throughout the process.
In focus groups, the steps are distinct; the VALS Survey questionnaire is in use in the screening process to recruit focus-group participants so that each group is made up of just one VALS type. Attitudes, behaviors, and preferences turn up during the focus-group discussions. Benefits of integrating VALS into screeners include:
- Reducing the "noise" of traditional focus groups—the conflicting views—of traditional focus groups that make it difficult to summarize and make sense of the findings in a conclusive way. Groups of people with the same VALS type or mindset are more likely to share similar views.
- Reducing the likelihood that one or two people will either dominate or be intimidated in the focus group discussions. Individuals with the same VALS-type tend to feel comfortable with each other and are therefore more open in expressing their views.
- Increasing the user's ability to understand the focus group findings beyond the specific issues explored in the focus groups. The 20 years of VALS experience in consumer psychology and behavior enables interpretation of focus-group findings in a larger, more meaningful life context than would otherwise be possible.