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Valuegraphics: a new approach to customer profiling

David Allison is a consumer behaviour researcher and advisor who dedicated the past few years to developing a completely new systematic for consumer profiling, named Valuegraphics. What is so revolutionary about it? In this blog article, we take a closer look on Valuegraphics, using the example of environmentally-motivated people.

I was made aware of David Allison’s research in one of the recent episodes of Target Internet’s Digital Marketing Podcast. In that podcast, several reasons are mentioned, why traditional metrics do not work anymore. I find it in my marketing practice, demographic variables such as age, gender, income, marital status, etc. are still used very often, even though their explanatory power is considerably low.

The time is ripe to start describing target audiences using more meaningful metrics. The concept of Valuegraphics is based on three years of research, spent mostly with collecting answers on a survey of 340 questions, using an adaptable algorithm. In the questionnaire, 40 core human values and 340 wants, needs and expectations were evaluated. The large sample of about 75,000 people from several English-speaking countries allowed for a high level of confidence (95%) and a very low margin of error (3.5%). Pretty impressive, in my opinion!

When using only demographic characteristics as segmentation metrics, the agreement levels to the 340 questions of the questionnaire were almost always well below 20%. For example, when it comes to age, the agreement levels were only 13% to 15%. Such low numbers actually make marketers, who state that they are targeting the millennials or baby-boomers, look like fools! When using the peoples’ values as metrics for segmentation however, the agreement levels rise up to 76% to 89%!

These numbers made me curious to find out more about the concept and I was lucky enough to find a video explaining one of the main Valuegraphic archetypes, the environmental assembly. First you might ask, what is an archetype? An archetype is a broad characterization of a personality. Archetypes aren't identical, but they share identifiable traits. We can predict what the person will most likely do, because he (or she) will most likely act consistently with this (or hers) archetype. David Allison’s team identified ten main Valuegraphics archetypes; all of them are shortly described here. Now, let’s take a closer look at “the environmentalists”.

The environmental assembly represents 17% of the U.S. and Canadian population, which is not that little. The primary motivator of their actions is how they influence the planet. They agree 82% of a time to the 340 variables from the questionnaire, making for a pretty large and homogeneous group of customers. They all share an extreme and personal environmental concern. The important factor here is their belief that they can make a difference with their personal actions. Besides the environment, they highly value family, and are motivated mainly by their spiritual and physical health and well-being. Yes, you will have a hard time motivating them to get involved with means that could possibly threaten their well-being. Actually, they have the most family money and the lowest debt out of all archetypes; therefore they can afford buying and paying the premium for green products and services that activate their values.

75% of them want to be more environmentally sensitive, but only 15% of them know how. There is a clear gap and they want to be educated on ways how to do more. Interestingly, they are less interested in social media and incline more to direct mailings than all the other archetypes. They want to be part of a group that is heading to a more environmentally friendly direction. Also, they like rewards. Oh yeah, not to forget, there is one thing that for sure does not work with them - shame. It is crucial to keep the things positive when targeting this archetype.

Pretty interesting, right? Can you as well already sense how could Valuegraphics positively affect your communication strategy? You can find more information on the Valuegraphics homepage or in the book “We Are All the Same Age Now: Valuegraphics, The End of Demographic Stereotypes” by David Allison.


  1. Target Internet’s Digital Marketing Podcast Episode 210: Discover Valuegraphics
  2. David Allison: The Environmental Assembly (Youtube video)
  3. David Allison: Which of these 10 personality archetypes applies to you?
  4. Kelly Teemer: What Are Valuegraphics and Why Do They Matter?
  5. David Allison: How to Recognize Ten Different Valuegraphics Archetypes by Their Core Values
  6. The Daily Curier: New marketing method dismisses demographics
  7. The Valuegraphics homepage
  8. Linked-In chat with David Allison (Thank You!)

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Published by: in Vision