Featured in Total Retail: The Role of Personal Values in Improving Cross-Selling and Loyalty Initiatives

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The article below appeared in Total Retail on June 19, 2023. Read it in its entirety here.


In today’s digitally-driven, choice-saturated world, understanding consumers’ demographics just isn’t enough to create genuine connections that compel them to choose your brand over the millions of other options just clicks away. It’s only through understanding a person’s internal motivations and deep-rooted personal values that marketers can achieve long-lasting connections. This deeper understanding also helps brands develop the right products, offers, messaging, and overall experiences that keep customers coming back loyal.

In a time when many people expect brands to take a values-driven stand, marketers need to represent their brands in a way that resonates with consumers and grows engagement and brand loyalty. So, how do you learn and apply the “why” behind consumer decisions?

The answer lies in personal values—and how we can use them to track change over time and explain the motivations behind people’s attitudes and behaviors. According to Professor Shalom H. Schwartz, who developed the Theory of Basic Human Values, personal values are cross-culturally stable and one of the most influential explanations of consumer behavior. His values research provides a strong framework for marketers looking to tap into and apply these valuable consumer dimensions.

Surprising Variations in Shopper Values

A deeper understanding of consumers’ personal values helps marketers create more relevant personas. For example, you might assume that shoppers in the same category have similar values and motivations, but making this assumption and being wrong can lead to messages that don’t resonate with audiences, not to mention unnecessary ad waste and revenue loss.

To illustrate this reality, we tapped into the Resonate Ignite platform to analyze shoppers at two different TJX Companies brands: T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. We looked at these shoppers’ personal values to identify unique variances among these consumers, who otherwise display similar shopping patterns at department stores with similar products and prices.

According to the analysis, T.J. Maxx customers value achievement, reputation and influence.  When connecting with T.J. Maxx shoppers, marketers should focus their creative and messaging on confidence and success.

On the other hand, Marshalls shoppers also care about achievement and influence, but they also prioritize equality over their own reputation. When connecting with the Marshalls shopper, marketers should bring in themes of fairness and equity as well as personal success.




Another set of shoppers who might share similar values is people who shop at J.Crew and Banana Republic. Again, these stores offer similar apparel in style, quality, and price. However, a deeper analysis using Resonate’s personal values report illustrates just how different they are.

The top personal value for J.Crew consumers is creativity, followed by nature and tolerance. For this reason, marketers should use themes of inventiveness and peacefulness in their messaging and creative.

Similarly, Banana Republic shoppers value reputation, influence and achievement. They seek success and the admiration of others for being successful. For them, life is about getting ahead, “winning,” and impressing others. For this reason, marketers should use themes of success and prestige in their messaging and creative.




Putting Personal Values Understanding into Action

Knowing the personal values that drive shoppers’ purchasing decisions helps in two revenue-driving ways:

Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities: You know what your best customers buy from you and how often, but their personal values will shed light on the other ways you can engage with them so that they buy even more. For example, the Patagonia consumer places significant importance on safety in their community and nation. So, the customer who buys their climbing gear from Patagonia will respond well to messaging about the security and stability of its other outdoor gear.

Loyalty and Lifetime Value: We all know how challenging and costly it is to acquire customers. The last thing you want to do is lose them. When brands have a deeper understanding of their consumers by knowing their personal values, they can forge a lasting relationship with their customers and stay relevant through offers, content, messaging, and experiences that keep them engaged.

With so many options for consumers to choose from, it’s more important than ever to have a holistic understanding of your customer, so you can connect with them on a deeper level and drive love of brand. The most effective way to do that is to understand the motivations and personal values behind consumer decisions.


Categorized as: News & Press, In the News

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