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How David Allison is Working to Replace Demographics with a Better Method of Viewing the World

Never before has mankind changed so much so fast, yet we still rely on outdated demographic stereotypes to understand groups of people and target audiences. Now there’s a better way to discover what matters to the people you are trying to motivate: a brand-new big-data tool that will change audience profiling for everything — forever. […]

Never before has mankind changed so much so fast, yet we still rely on outdated demographic stereotypes to understand groups of people and target audiences. Now there’s a better way to discover what matters to the people you are trying to motivate: a brand-new big-data tool that will change audience profiling for everything — forever. It’s called Valuegraphics.

David Allison wrote We Are All the Same Age Now to share how Valuegraphics and values based thinking enable you to increase efficiency, create strategies that are eight times more effective, decrease internal politics around decisions, and be better equipped for disruption. It’s not only a better way to motivate people; it’s a whole new way to see the world.

I recently caught up with David to see what inspired him to write the book originally, how that motivation has changed, and how he’s applied values based thinking to his own work.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

At first, the book was just a starting point for being a consultant and trying to find a better way to tackle some of the problems that I’ve noticed in the marketing world around understanding our customers and how they make decisions. We’ve been using an outdated system called demographic profiling forever, and it’s all based on stereotypes that are largely or entirely untrue in the modern world. They may have been true at some point in the past, but not anymore.

Today, my answer to this question is that the book is an introduction to an entirely new way to look at the world. Valuegraphics and values thinking has ramifications not only for the corporate world and the nonprofit world, but also for all of us as human beings. Demographics, as it turns out, are not only inaccurate, but also harmful and hurtful. It’s always about men versus women and rich versus poor and young versus old. These are fundamentally derivative conversations that are at the beginning of the lifecycle of every product, service, brand, idea, and institution there. If we can build a world based on the things that bring us together and make us human — our values — not only would we have more profitable companies and better ROI, but I think we’d have a better world. One that’s not quite so torn apart at the seams, which is very much where I think the world is today. And unfortunately it seems to be getting worse.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

When the book first came out a year ago, I was really excited that we were able to include a beginners tool to implement profiling based on values thinking. You can start using this new way to look at the world right away. There are ten chapters in the book, each about one of the top ten archetypes that we’ve discovered in the North American data set. (We now have data about the entire world, so that will be the focus of the next book!) The tool we included allows North American companies to understand what Valuegraphic archetype is the most impactful and important to the target audience they’re trying to motivate and serve.

So for the cost of a paperback book, you can start using this entirely new, statistically accurate, scientifically rigorous system to understand and motivate your target audiences as much as eight times more effectively than you can using demographics and psychographics.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

About a year into working with the Valuegraphics database, diving into this whole new science of understanding what motivates people to do what they do, and building personas based on our shared values instead of outdated demographic stereotypes, I decided it might be a good idea to actually understand the Valuegraphics of people who would be interested in using Valuegraphics. I took a dose of my own medicine, became my own client, and extracted the data from the dataset to more fully understand these people. What are their hot buttons? What values will trigger their behavior? How we can help the companies that we team up with?

Since we started using Valuegraphics for the Valuegraphics database, sales and revenue have exponentially increased, to the point where I now have to start thinking about expansion in a very real, non hypothetical way. We need to find more people. We need to find better processes and new ways to keep up with demand. I would attribute that rapid growth to understanding what it is our audience really cares about and what buttons we need to push to trigger their behavior. So, using Valuegraphics for Valuegraphics was a success!

To learn more about applying Valuegraphics to your organization, you can find We Are All the Same Age Now: Valuegraphics, The End of Demographic Stereotypes on Amazon.

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