After taking the VALS survey, I was defined as an “experiencer” as my primary VALS and “maker” as my secondary VALS. In reading the descriptions of each of these VALS categories, I realize that I do have aspects of both, but I also feel that my views and behaviors slightly differ from the description of the experiencer and maker.
In terms of being an experiencer, I do feel like I am enthusiastic and I like to purchase the new, offbeat, and risky products. I also agree that my energy finds an outlet in exercise, sports, outdoor recreation, and social activities. However, I am definitely not an impulsive buyer and I don’t spend a high proportion of my income on new products. I don’t like spending money at all, and I never buy anything unless it’s on sale. I always go for the cheapest things. I also don’t really care about having what’s “cool”. I like looking good, but I don’t really care about always having the latest trends.
As far as the products that I would be most interested, I do really like VW and entertainment, but I don’t like Red Bull.
In terms of being a maker, I do agree that I am motivated by self-expression. I also like to learn from experience and do work to make the world a better place. I do believe I am practical, but I feel like I have interest in living outside the context of family, practical work, and physical recreation. I am passionate about travel and learning about the world. Different cultures fascinate me and I love to experience new things. I also feel like I am suspicious of big business and don’t necessarily agree with the virtues of consumerism. Material possessions aren’t as important to me as the relationships I form with other people.
The products “makers” are most interested in don’t appeal to me at all. I am not into NASCAR at all and I don’t want a Dodge Ram. These things seem to appeal more to men.
Overall, I think the VALS survey got my behavior half right. Some of the things it said were true to my values, but about half of the things it defined me as are not true to who I am. This shows that these highly complex systems for evaluating consumer behavior are not always accurate. Companies spend a ton of money to learn about their target audiences, and the accuracy of my VALS report shows that the research they are doing might not even be effective. Human behavior is hard to define because everyone is different. Character traits manifest themselves in different ways in everyone. Therefore, defining consumers based on their interests won’t necessarily reflect how they behave in a consumer society.