As  a young marketer, then later in my corporate career, there was only one way to get close to your “market”.

You went there.

In my case, it was into supermarkets, talking to consumers as they considered what they would buy, which of the choices they had they would select that day, and why, and try to interpret their answers into some actionable consumer intelligence.

When all clichés are removed, the only reason someone would buy something was because at that time, for a range of reasons, it filled a need.

What that meant for the marketing and advertising programs was that we had to be emotionally relevant.

Without relevance to the lives of consumers, you are nowhere, unnoticed, and unwanted, no matter how great you thought the marketing material you have might be.

These days, we have mountains of data, information, feeds, and opinions coming at us, so we sit behind desks and try and sift through it all to find the nuggets that will work for us,

We have the ability to define our ideal customer to the Wahoo, we know when they shop, what they buy, how price sensitive they are,  but it all comes from reports of some sort, not straight from the mouth of those we are trying to engage. We know so much we are either paralysed by the volume, or we tell them what they need, rather than as in the old days where we knew buggar-all, (technical market research term)  so we listened.

You cannot get close to customers from behind your desk.

You have to get back into the supermarket, or whatever your equivalent is, so you can talk to them, see the emotions, observe the body language, truly understand their motivations joys and challenges, and if you do that well, you have a chance to be truly relevant to them.

Then, and only then, will your marketing cease to suck.