Really Identifying User Needs.
I recently learned that Evian's target audience is a group labelled "Leaders in Life". This information emerged from a presentation that was ostensibly an attempt to justify their sponsorship of Wimbledon but, at heart, was yet another bizarre attempt by marketers to suggest that a disparate group of people has a similar outlook.
The idea that people's physical and mental attributes determine their behaviour is a short-cut to oblivion as millennialism has shown. Anyone who thinks that a group of minimally 1.5 billion humans is likely to behave and think the same is seriously deluded.
It's an approach that originates with the marketer and their products and services when what is needed is an approach that is more thoughtful and customer-centric. One that focusses on user need rather than tries to create user wants.
Clay Christensen is best known for his somewhat misunderstood disruption theory of innovation, but he's also developed a very interesting critique of marketing's demographic segmentation obsession. In it, he convincingly argues that life creates a series of moments in time when you need to hire a product or service to get a specific job done.
Marketers have to identify what that job is; shape their product or service to fulfil that job seamlessly; and communicate that fact so that when the job has to be done, it is their product or service which immediately comes to the customer's mind.
Everything flows from the user need.