The Target Website: Put on some makeup, girl!

Focusing again on Target’s integrated marketing practices, but this week looking more critically at the company website

As noted previously, Target does an outstanding job of engaging their customers via social media and utilizing the pull marketing techniques germane to that platform. The place they are attempting to pull Twitter and Facebook followers with their fun and personable posts is the website (or, of course, a brick-and-mortar location). A website, by design, is also intrinsically a pull-marketing tool, but if utilized correctly, it can easily incorporate push-marketing opportunities and aim those at customers as well – and Target does employ this strategy with their site.

If there is an essential rule of proper web marketing, it’s having fresh (and credible) content on your site (1)(2)– preferably big and bold at the top of the site – and Target follows that rule consistently. In the same manner as we saw last week with the Star Wars ForceFriday campaign that spanned the company’s marketing panorama, this week the retailer is touting a more conventional promotion, a Buy One Get One (50% off) sale on clothing, shoes, and accessories.

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There is certainly no mistaking the “lead story” from the second the home page pops up on the screen (and, yes, we were pulled there by the company’s crack SM team).

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The big, bold promotion design leads the visitor to click links that send them straight into the online shopping experience.

Target’s website is chock full of engagement opportunities, perhaps even too full, it’s fairly well packed, but the site is easily navigable. Beyond the featured promotion, the second-tier lineup is still topical – the impending new iPhone, Halloween costumes, etc.,

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and there is a prominent “Spotlight” section which jumps out as the first noticeable push-marketing carnival barker – a new line of Nicorette products for which you can print out a $10-off coupon with a click.

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There are also other instances of what one would classify as push-marketing such as the advertisement links for free shipping, store pickup, additional coupon printouts, REDcard application, email signup, and, absolutely, the easy-to-find social media icons to push the site user back into the company’s brand strategy loop. Target does a tremendous job of leveraging its website and social media and optimizing an integrated push-pull strategy – at least in true, basic form.

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Mobile? Yep. Target has that covered in spades as well. The mobile site loads quickly (!!!) is consistent, and pulls the user straight into shopping mode via the prominent and well laid out “browse by category” section.

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The main site even has a link to sign up for “Cartwheel,” their special instant-discount system for mobile-using in-store shoppers.

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As we learned in our Week-3 lecture, in multimedia communications, it is very important that a brand’s personality be maintained across all channels so that the customer can have something to relate to. That can be accomplished by imagery. (3) What I found interesting is that Target website, while absolutely company-branded through and through, seems to be a bit more conservative and businesslike than the company’s social media and television advertising persona. While the SM posts and ads are fun and flashy and style-centric, on the whole, Target’s main website appears to be more in-tune with the company’s discount store roots as it pitches sales on Advil and Pampers and KitchenAids.

While I am practically positive that has to be by design (“let’s remove that layer of distraction and get to the point-of-sale quicker”), I believe a little bit of flash would improve the online experience and help the company be just a little more consistent in its message. It needs some video – at least somewhere – because Target does great video. As a Target shopper and viewer, I practically expect to see a stylish 30-year-old breeze across the screen in a new skirt or a set of brightly dressed kids hopping around for a couple of seconds before the main page is revealed. But no, here’s our promotion we told you about on Twitter, and now here’s your hair gel and Gold Bond powder. A nick in brand consistency?

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Maybe. Maybe not. I’d liken it to Target being dressed up with its makeup on out in public (SM, TV), but with the website, it’s in sweats, hair in a ponytail, doing laundry and cooking an economical dinner while at home with the family.

 

Reference:

1 – (Jonathan Boring – 5/27/15) – http://www.socialspicemedia.com/importance-fresh-content-business-website/

2 – (Becky Sheetz-Runkle – 11/3/2010) – http://online-marketing-services-review.toptenreviews.com/fresh-content-tips.html

3 – Brandchannel.com / Wk-3 Lecture .ppt

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