Tag Archives: strategy

What Target Teaches You About Advertising

I am not afraid to admit that I love Target.  It combines so many wonderful things in one clean, bright space.  I know, this is the suburban equivalent of hanging out at Wal-Mart, but bear with me.  Inspired by a post I wrote for myself at syntaxxerrorr.com,Mt Nebo Target I’m bringing you a list of things that Target can teach you about advertising.

Highlight your best features – Target knows what it does right.  It’s clean and bright and (aside from the makeup section) surprisingly well-organized.  Target goes so far as to recognize in its 2012 Annual Report that cleanliness is one of the factors that affects guests’ perceptions of the store and is a factor in its competitive ability.  It’s kind of like an it’s-so-obvious-you-may-forget-about-it point, but let me state the obvious.  Be obvious about your positive attributes.  Focus on what makes your brand the best – that’s your unique selling proposition – and then don’t let people forget that your coffee shop uses all-natural everything or your agency has worked with X company with Y results.

Take it as it comes or roll with the punches – On a rainy day, Target brings up that rolling cart full of umbrellas.  They know that some people forgot theirs at home or haven’t replaced an old one. Timing is everything, and so is embracing what comes your way.  While any advertising/PR person worth their beans will tell you that you need a plan, you also must be flexible when unforeseen circumstances come your way.  (I touched on this in 7 Things To Remember When Posting for Your Business.)  Consumers can tell if you’re not being genuine, so if something happens, make sure your customers are aware of it rather than sweeping it under the rug.  They will appreciate that you’re being proactive and working with what comes your way, and you’ll be able to build a trusting relationship with those customers.

Broadcast your goods and services – Here’s another it’s-so-obvious-you-may-forget-about-it point.  Target sends out almost-daily emails with compelling reasons to click through to their site; once you are on the site, they’ve got you.  Sometime they’ll just send a snippet of their online exclusive offers, other emails will contain a link to the weekly ad.  Make sure you let customers know what you are offering and if there are any perks for being a loyal customer.  In any event, let your customers know what you can offer them.

Change is good – Target constantly rotates their stock. This is most notable in clothing (obviously enough).  But even if your business is not a clothing company, you need to change; maybe a better word is evolve. If you haven’t taken a look at your website with a critical eye recently, now is the time to do so.  Is it static or is it dynamic?  Are you displaying current information such as location, contacts, hours of operation, goods/services provided, and up-to-date links?  If you need help, contact theBrewRoom for a hand.  Sometimes its best to have an impartial person with whom to brainstorm and get a fresh perspective.  Make sure to update your social accounts along with your website!

Just because it’s a deal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or you should offer it – Sometimes Target has too much to pick from.  This can get overwhelming, especially when clearance-time hits.  You just want ALL the clearance things.  So try not to pile on the specials or offer them constantly.  If you’re always offering a 20% off special, why don’t you just reduce the price by 20%?  Otherwise, it’s like the shopping equivalent of the boy who cried wolf; your customers are just building up an immunity to your deals.  Sure, there are certain buzz words that whip consumers into a frenzy, like “sale” and “just reduced,” so use them for their intended purposes.  It’ll make it more effective and have more of an impact when you have a sale (for real!) in the future.

So I want to know: what do you love (or hate) about Target (or another establishment)?  And more importantly, what do you learn from your shopping trips?

Define, Focus and Execute

Define Your Goal
Focus on Strategy
Execute the Tactics

This really applies to any project or activity that you want to do. This is not just for web projects. If you think about these easy and clear steps to take, you can help give yourself the best change at being more successful with whatever it is you want to do!
Please let us know what you think by commenting, or sharing.


  • What do you ultimately want to accomplish? What do you want to get out of this exercise/project?
  • What should you and/or your target get out of this project?


  • What do you need to do in order to achieve your goal(s).
  • Who is your target?
  • What tools resources do you HAVE in order to accomplish your goal(s)?
  • What tools and resources do you NEED in order to accomplish your goal(s)?


  • What tools will I be using for this project/exercise? If I need new tools, how do I obtain them? DO NOT fit the tactic to the tools that you have at-hand. Your tools should allow you to execute your tactics, not restrict them.
  • Who will be performing what tasks? Please, please, please use the right people for the right task.
  • When is all of this happening?
  • How will I measure my success? (this might even be a whole separate section outside of tactics – but it’s really situational depending on your goals)

Example Situation:


You want to grow your Twitter following and want more people to re-tweet what you post.


  • You don’t currently have a blog section of your website. Only tweet twice a week. You only follow local sports icons on Twitter.
  • You need to add a blog section to your website. You will use this new section of your website to create new content that can be shared on Twitter as well as on other social networks and websites.
  • You need to look for people on Twitter that would be interested in your content and what you have to say and follow those people.
  • You need be more active on Twitter.


  • Add a blog section to your website.
  • Start to write some content that is relevant to you or your company/brand. This content should be planned and developed with your ultimate goal(s) in mind – not just content for the sake of content.
  • Use tools (like Followerwonk) to find people on Twitter that you want to follow, and that you want to follow you back. Oh, and follow them.
  • Start re-tweeting some of the interesting and relevant things that these people are posting. Or better yet, reply back to them with comments or questions. Engagement is Good!
  • Start posting some of your content to Twitter. Don’t just post the link! Write a very short sentence that describes the content, then paste the link after that. You may even choose to use a #hashtag that matches the topic/subject of the post.
  • Twitter now allows you to see how your tweets are performing. Check out your analytics on Twitter.