Food trucks are becoming a cultural phenomenon. They draw long line ups that include students and businessmen and some have a cult status Twitter following. Grant McCracken explains what they’re doing right.

The American consumer is changeable. He wants X. No, he wants Y. Never mind, he wants Z.

We used to quiz him with focus groups and mall intercepts. But these days, he’s not sure. It’s not that he won’t tell us. It’s just that he can’t.

If the consumer can’t tell us, it’s time to look at the aggregate, the larger patterns and trends that shape what consumers want. In short, it’s time for ‘Cessna’ marketing, a look from 12,000 feet at American culture and commerce. This is the big picture. Climb aboard. Grant McCracken/Harvard Business Review.

Image by Jason Riedy via Flickr.

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