Values Over Demographics

This week’s Convenience Matters podcast peels back the curtain on how human behavior is evolving beyond age.

January 22, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Values Matter, Demographics Don’t,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Carolyn Schnare, director of strategic initiatives, discuss how to personalize customer experience with David Allison, a human behavior and values thinking expert and author of We Are All the Same Age.

“The only thing that matters when it comes to understanding how people behave is what their values are,” Allison said. “We’ve built this enormous database that proves within any demographic cohort, age included, the similarity of the people within that cohort is next to nothing. There is no such thing as a millennial, they don’t resemble each other at all, baby boomers don’t resemble each other at all, …age doesn’t tell us anything about anybody anymore.”

It all boils down to this: “What we value determines what we do,” Allison said. “If we know what someone values, we know how they’re going to behave. … demographics are very, very antique ideas from olden days when men had to behave in certain ways and women had to behave in certain ways. … Those ideas are out the window now, but we still tend to think that a demographic description of a customer is somehow useful—it actually isn’t.”

For retailers, knowing what the core values of their customers are allows them to meet their needs better. “You’ll have a filter and a lens that helps you understand how they make their decisions, and therefore you can intervene in the decision-making process and take advantage of this knowledge,” Allison said.

Hear more from Allison at the NACS Leadership Forum in Miami, scheduled for February 5-7, 2020.

Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. The podcast can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play and other podcast apps, and at Episodes have been downloaded by listeners more than 110,000 times in 90 countries.