Get to the Heart of Your Customers’ Values

When you design your growth and marketing strategies around demographics, your “audience arrow” will miss 90% of the time.

Lisa and David. Photo courtesy of Marisa Cali.
Lisa and David. Photo courtesy of Marisa Cali.

I love the marketing profession, and watching our community members build healthier companies and lives.

Why? Because marketing leadership combines head and heart—not just during the Valentine’s Day holiday, but throughout the year.

It also requires us to heal from periodic stakeholder heartbreak…

  • “Our sales are slowing. Lead flow is dropping.”
  • “Customers are not engaging with our content in the same way as they did last year.”
  • “We have trouble prioritizing future growth opportunities (or customers).”
  • “Our market research is outdated. We can’t use it for 2023 planning.”

Sound familiar? 

You are not alone.

While I was preparing for The Mindful Marketer last week, CMOs and CEOs expressed these concerns (off camera).

Why it matters? Because when you design your growth and marketing strategies around demographics, your “audience arrow” will miss 90% of the time.

That’s right – 90%.

Our guest, David Allison, CEO of Valuegraphics, found that “When we look at the responses from 750,000 surveys in 152 languages about values, wants, needs and expectations, we see that people in any demographic cohort are, on average, only 10% similar.” 

Your hard-earned innovation and marketing dollars you just secured are being wasted. You become subjected to unwanted CFO scrutiny.

That’s less time you have to court customers, build your leadership chops, and engage your teams.

Watch the replay here (38 minutes)

Here’s the Apple Podcast link.

Our stakeholders expect us to navigate 2023 using new, data-driven growth strategies and marketing approaches. And they expect us to test and learn quickly from our marketing experiments and analysis.

How can you capture more customers’ hearts, and leverage your research budget more wisely? You have two options.

First, you can enroll your customer-facing teams to ask your ideal audience what they truly value.(Scroll down for three powerful questions you can ask immediately).


Personally, if I tried to build community by surveying “35-60-year-old CMOs and Chief Growth Officers based in the USA,” I would be wasting dollars and countless hours. That demographics driven approach tells me nothing about how they lead and learn. It says nothing about how they might contribute to our growing peer community.

This level of analysis is akin to looking over my shoulder while flying a Grumman Tiger (circa 1991), and expecting to get navigation help from the flightpath behind me! Historical data does not predict how I will reach my destination.

(My pilot’s license is not current, but the endless life lessons remain).

Second, you could conduct detailed market research. David recommends conducting demographic, psychographic, and Valuegraphics surveys before launching your offer.

While this might take months to complete, it makes sense for high stakes investments.

Valuegraphics research adds a forward-looking perspective that we rarely see with the other forms of market research. Allison coined the Valuegraphics term after culling through 750,000 global surveys and discovering the 56 common human values.

Customers who use the Valuegraphics approach can predict their audiences’ buying patterns with up to 80% accuracy. That’s a big improvement from 10%!

Now you have two approaches to align your company’s purpose and profit path to your customers’ hearts.

❤❤❤ Here’s how option one works…

Start by asking your customer-facing team members to reach out to future and existing customers, and request ten minutes.

Avoid sending an impersonal survey or text. Book the call. Schedule the coffee date. Keep the tone informal.

Here are the questions…

  1. Why do you go to work? (If they immediately respond with “to pay my bills,” keep asking why).
  2. You just won the lottery. Why would you give away half of the winnings?
  3. You’re writing a letter to your younger self from 10 years ago, what would you say, and why? (This question channels your inner Simon Sinek). 

As your team takes notes, ask them to listen for themes. Those themes will tell you what your audiences truly care about. These values form the bedrock of your go to market, messaging, and content pillars.

Take your marketing strategy to heart. Stop launching random love arrows into the air. By asking the right questions and applying forward-focused research, you’ll capture customer Cupid’s attention.

Need more details on values-driven marketing? Watch the replay here (38 minutes) 

Here’s the Apple Podcast link. Show some ❤ and leave us a review!

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