Mapping human values: enhancing social marketing through obituary data mining

Mark Alfano, Andrew Higgins, Jacob Levernier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Traditionally, marketers have sought to influence behavior and choice with the ultimate end of promoting the interests of employers or clients. The domain of marketing was convincing individuals and groups to purchase certain products over others, to spend rather than save, and to upgrade after deciding to buy. An advantage of drawing from actual obituaries is that we avoid the possibility of obituary writers being influenced by researcher expectations and the distorting influence of survey participants’ apathy, carelessness, or desire to give witty responses. Individuals’ desires, goals, and values are organized in a relatively stable hierarchy with more specific, concrete, local, and instrumental preferences at the bottom and more general, abstract, global, and intrinsic values at the top. Laddering is a technique for exploring individuals’ value-hierarchies. In a common interview-based version of laddering, the marketer asks a consumer why she, for instance, purchased a product.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsumer social values
EditorsEda Gurel-Atay, Lynn R. Kahle
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781315283739, 9781315283722
ISBN (Print)9781138240421, 9781138240438
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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