Target: Going Deep on Engagement
Target CMO, Jeff Jones, explains what it takes to build a meaningful multichannel experience for their customers.
- December 2012
Jeff Jones (@jjones), Target’s Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, explains what it takes to build deep relationships with their guests, how to build a multichannel organization, and how to balance analytics with creativity.Deepening relationships with multichannel customers
“Target develops relationships with guests, which is very different from transacting with customers. And Target’s promise to our guests is ‘Expect More. Pay Less,’ which is true regardless of channel. I talk about being in the middle of the Age of Impatience because one of the greatest expectations our guests have is to shop and engage wherever and whenever they want — there are clear metrics that show that customers value a great experience. This year we introduced QR codes in various places — on shoes, on holiday marketing outside of the store, and on our top holiday toys in-store — which guests can scan to instantly purchase the toys from Target.com and ship anywhere they want. This is great for parents shopping with their children, who don’t want the kids to see which toys will eventually be under the tree.
To deliver on our guests’ expectations, it’s critical for us to provide them with an experience that’s rich in content, which could be a promotional offer or behind-the-scenes videos on our online magazine, A Bullseye View.
We also drive guests to Target’s various channels, e.g. site, store, apps. Once they’re there, we then look to deepen and strengthen that relationship. One program we have in place to build engagement is the Target REDcard, Target’s debit or credit card. Every time a guest uses their REDcard, Target takes 5 percent off the entire purchase. We’ve found that if a guest is a REDcard holder, she increases her spend at Target by 50 percent. And we’re only at a little under 15 percent penetration of the card, so it’s still full of potential.”
Building a dynamic, multichannel organization
“Our organization has to be dynamic because the world is dynamic. We’re thinking about how to create the best holistic experience for our guests but we have to be very careful and go one step at a time. Target does many things extraordinarily well… at scale; you can’t just blow that up to be dynamic.
We’ve started with a shift in tone, communicating to the marketing organization how important it is to evolve. At the same time, we’re building the best possible teams for Target.com and mobile, recruiting new talent with specialized skills, creating additional tools, and incorporating learnings about the changing retail landscape. If each channel isn’t amazing, then the multichannel experience isn’t going to be amazing. We’re very focused on making Target.com the best experience possible, and we’re testing new ideas (like same day delivery in select areas) to create small but important wins to share with others and roll out as appropriate.
The most important marketing change we’ve made is to collaborate in a more strategic way at the beginning of the process, not tactically after the work is done. It used to be that we’d develop the business objective, then define the marketing strategy, work on the creative, buy media, then inform PR, etc. Now we bring together those paid, owned, earned and shared teams as a strategic input into what we’re trying to accomplish at the beginning of the process. This is an important philosophical shift.”
Designed for sharing
“So much of marketing communications historically has been about putting something in the world and hoping someone does something with it. We are now starting to imagine, what if everything we did was designed to be shared?
For example, we partnered with the TV show Revenge not just to do product placement but to create content. We worked with the show’s creative team to write a secondary subplot of the mid-season finale to tell a related story that brings to life the Neiman Marcus and Target partnership. We posted it on our site, A Bullseye View, and people have been talking about it with their friends and on their social channels. We made the video sharable on second and third screens (mobile, tablets), and set up hashtags to support Twitter chats during the show. This ‘built to share’ approach is a fundamental shift in how we’re beginning to think about marketing.”
Marketing must-haves: Creativity AND accountability
“A modern marketer must embrace a culture of creativity and accountability. We don’t have a choice; we have to do both. People are looking for things that are compelling or interesting because there aren’t many of them in the world, which is why creativity is so important. At the same time, we know whether what we’re doing as marketers is working or not. We look at analytics daily; we talk about yesterday every day. We also use third party data and analytics sources to look at the equity and health of the Target brand. We apply advanced analytics to link both the long term and short term — from comments in stores to the number of people who take our surveys.
I don’t want our brand to be viewed as a soft, ‘fuzzy’ thing — I want the brand to be understood as our reputation, with a concrete value that we measure in many ways. This is something our leadership understands.
Target has a strong brand and reputation that has been built on great in-store execution, a differentiated value proposition, and creative execution. Now we’re being even more deliberate about how we understand and manage our brand equity to ensure we stay relevant to our guests.”
Target in multichannel action.
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