How to Reach Americans — All Five Kinds


By Tom de Kay


Originally published on The Vanguard Network


Mark A Pfister on how to find , and join the right board.

Businesses and government leaders have been fighting vaccine hesitancy in a lot of ways these last few months, with varying degrees of success. Even as mandates have become more popular and shown promising results, the marketing challenge has remained:

How do you persuade as many people as possible — including those now getting their first shots under protest — that vaccination really is the best choice for them?

For Casey Albertson, President of the consumer research company Patient Bond, the answer is all about market segmentation. In this conversation with Sherry Fox, CEO of FutureHealth Strategies and a partner in the Vanguard Vaccination Project, Casey breaks Americans down into five psychographic types: Five research-based consumer profiles that can help leaders shape their messages, about vaccines or almost anything else.

  • “Self Achievers,” he says, are the most proactive, highly motivated by goals, “score cards,” and, when it comes to their health, their doctor’s advice.

  • “Balance Seekers” — the least likely to vaccinate — insist on having choices and making decisions for themselves; a good way to start with them is to acknowledge, “you know your body best.”

  • "Priority Jumpers” are “not necessarily proactive for themselves, but they're very proactive for the people around them,” Casey says. “They'll sacrifice themselves for the good of the company, the community, their family, but by doing that their own health falls way to the back.”

  • “Direction Takers,” who aren’t necessarily direction followers, have “a high need for professional credentialing” among those they are willing to follow.

  • “Willful Endurers,” the largest group, see themselves as tough enough to get through anything. They’re also the most reactive of the bunch, “just wired to live in the moment,” with more bad habits like smoking and drinking.

Patient Bond, he says, has every person in the U.S. “pre-segmented” into one of these five groups (“kind of interesting process, how we do that”), and can use this data to determine the makeup of any community, or even neighborhood, and market accordingly. In the case of vaccine hesitancy, he says,

What I would probably be doing, as a community leader, is asking, “Where are my biggest pockets of Self Achievers,” because that's where I'm going to be able to win the fastest and move the needle the fastest. Then I would be looking for where my pockets of Willful Endurers are, because that's the group that can be influenced — because everything we see is, they're just not getting the right information. When it comes to media spin, I'd be putting the “We're in it together” billboards in the Self Achiever areas, and “We have the right information, no cost” billboards in the Willful Endurer areas. And in social media, you can do a lot of things with geo targeting.

— Casey Albertson, President Patient Bond

Casey sees psychographics as an “additive piece” to other forms of market research, not a substitute for them. Still, he says, it “really look[s] at deep-seated motivations,” and “gets to why people do what they do.”

Check out the video for more of his insights on connecting with U.S. consumers — including your employees.


Ken Banta is founder and principal of The Vanguard Network, which convenes C-Suite discussions around high-performance leadership, and advises top executives on leadership.


Casey Albertson is the President of the consumer research company Patient Bond.