Monday, July 2, 2012

Target's Supermarket Strategy Misses The Mark

Its been a long time since I have found an advertisement as annoying as the Target jingle that regularly interrupts my Pandora radio.  The comments posted on the article linked above echo my annoyed frustration with the jingle, so I take some comfort in knowing that I'm not alone.

Yet, despite my annoyance, I know the tactic Target is using is sound.  The ads are very consistent and their high frequency is a good thing in marketing.  However, Target's new market strategy is missing the mark. 

Their new strategy focusing on adding fresh foods seem like a very logical move for the retailer.  In a 2010 New York Times article, Target executives Tim Murray and Will Setliff summarize such logic. "We focus on mom and she’s quite busy, dinner is ticking in the back of her mind every day."  So, says Setliff, "the concept is built around the notion of fill-in trips and convenience trips. There’s a real need for convenient and affordable grocery options."  After all, it's very logical see how one-stop shopping would be very convenient.

Unfortunately, human behavior consistently proves otherwise.  The specialists who own a singular position in our minds have the most success and Target's grocery initiative takes a step back from that focus.  Although that's not exactly a logical defense, 'll also remind skeptics that consumer behavior rarely ever is. 

Maybe I can logically explain why Target's combination retail/supermarket concept won't work long term.  According to statistics from the Food Marketing Institute, the average supermarket in 2010 carried almost 39,000 items.  If Target cannot stock 39,000 items like the grocery store down the street does, then Target is at a big disadvantage in terms of product selection.  Consequently, consumers will discover that shopping at Target isn't exactly one-stop after all.

Thus, Target's grocery-centric strategy is actually advertising a weakness and not a strength; and that's a marketing strategy that's way off-the-mark.

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