The VALS categorization that I received was Experiencer/Innovator. Experiencer was my primary VALS, where it represents my dominant approach to life and Innovator was my secondary type, which is a particular emphasis that I give to my dominant approach. These categories are rather surprising to me. I do not believe that these fit me as well as they could. What I found interesting, however, is that I believe these categories would have fit me better if I had taken this survey a few years ago.
The category of Experiencer partially suits me. I believe that I am motivated by self-expression with emphasis on variety through excitement and risk. However, I do not spend a large portion of my income on fashion, entertainment and socializing. I used to find myself seeking out new fashion and popular entertainment, although I have recently lost interest in finding the new and popular ways. This makes me conclude that the majority of who I am still fits into this category enough, to not be pushed over into the Makers category.
From my perspective, the category that is Innovator does not suit me perfectly either. I do not believe that I have as high of self-esteem as they are giving me and I also do not have very upscale taste when it comes to consumerism. Again, these two points may have better suited me a few years ago. However, two things that I can agree with in the Innovator category are that I seek challenges and have a lot of variety in my life. These complex categories seem to oversimplify who I am so that I can be put into a particular market group.
I understand that the VALS survey is used for marketers to understand the many different customers that exist in society, however it made me feel as though I was just being put into another category of society. For example, not only am I a white, middle class woman, I am not an Experiencer/Innovator according to VALS. Essentially, it makes an instant decision of who I am; what I like, what I do not like. In this way, it is very stereotypical. It gives me the impression that I am being taken advantage of simply for the use of these people above me, who make decisions of what I like and what I do not like. This side of the VALS survey made me skeptical of the United State’s consumerism society. I now have to ask myself the question: Do I actually like this product? Or am I being summoned to like it because of the category that I fall under in the VALS survey? These questions will be very difficult to decipher but I hope that I put more thought into the marketing world from now on.