Before I start this post, please let me apologise for the overuse of stereotypes, I am hoping that if your reading this, your cluey enough to work out the moral of the story..
So you wake up to your expensive linen and stop for a moment to look out your penthouse apartment window at the sweeping views of the ocean. After sliding into a $1500 suit you grab the keys to the BMW and head off to the office. Your first meeting for the day is a discount clothing chain store who have asked you to pitch them some marketing idea's you have to help them reconnect with their consumers. The question comes from the client "what do you think our customers want?".
I'll tell you what your customers want, they want what you have! But the cant have it cause they bust their balls day in day out in a job they hate for a boss they despise in a futile attempt to make the mortgage payments and pay for their kids school uniform which they cant and THATS why they are shopping at your store!
The problem here is that the people who are most in touch with the discount clothing chain brand are not the same people that are designing the advertising for said chain. Sure, I don't expect that every client passing though your doors will be a company selling a product you use on a regular basis, but it doesn't take a genius to see that there is something a miss here.
If you asked me to speculate what a Lithuanian farmer is looking for in a biscuit brand, i would quite happily tell you that I don't have a clue. I can tell you a whole stack of things that I "THINK" he might want, but chances are I'm guessing and chances are I'm wrong, but if I'm quick enough on my feet and can belittle my client with a long list of marketing catch phrases I can probably still win the contract. The question is, am I the best person for the job?
My point here (if its not already blindingly obvious) is that far too often marketers are entrusted with responsibilities they have no place accepting. The Gen X/Y market is no doubt where the money is in consumer products these days, the problem is that its not always Gen X/Y marketers that are sitting across the table from the client.
So if you happen to be reading this and you happen to own a discount clothing retail chain, you might want to spend a day sitting out the front of your store watching the types of people that shop there because chances are this is going to be more bang for your buck than asking an upper-middle-class-40-something what your customers will respond to..