Target Creates Buzz with Vertical Marketing Program

Discussion
Jul 11, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


The retail fashion business is largely about creating buzz and, when it comes to getting people talking, few, if any, do a better job than Target.


According to a USA Today report, special marketing events, such as Target’s temporary or “pop-up” store on a boat docked in New York City or its summer store in the Hamptons last year, have helped the cheap chic retailer generate millions of dollars in free publicity.


Target is looking to keep the buzz going and this year has planned an event that gives a completely new meaning to the term vertical marketing.


On July 27, the company will stage a live runway fashion show at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. While runway shows in Manhattan are only slightly less common than hot dog vendors and pigeons, Target’s show has a difference. Models will be showing off the fall season’s fashions walking down the side of the building.


None of the models, as far as RetailWire has been able to ascertain, have been bitten by radioactive spiders resulting in them acquiring superhuman powers.


The runway models, normal humans in every respect aside from their freakish good looks and their training in acrobatics, will make their way down and back up nine stories of the building suspended on harnesses.


For Target’s vice president of marketing communications John Remington, this event, as those in the past, is a demonstration of the promise made by the company’s brand — “Expect More. Pay Less.”


“Things like the vertical fashion show and our advertising are the ‘expect more’ piece of it,” Mr. Remington told USA Today. “The expect more side of it has made it OK for anyone to come into Target.”


Aside from the free publicity it generates, Mr. Remington said the company hopes “the vertical fashion show will get people to say, ‘They’ve done it again’ ,” Remington says. “It’s surprising, fun, and it fits with our brand.”


Moderator’s Comment: What do you think Target will accomplish with its vertical fashion show? Do events such as this as well as the company’s in-store
and online store execution reinforce the brand’s promise that consumers should expect more from Target while paying less for goods than they would elsewhere?

George Anderson – Moderator

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8 Comments on "Target Creates Buzz with Vertical Marketing Program"


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Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
15 years 7 months ago

There are so many ways of “getting the word out” that I think it is difficult to understand what actually motivates a consumer action. I do believe that the “reach” of these kind of public events is huge and that it goes back to the old adage that there is really “no such thing as too much exposure.” The press coverage alone would be far more expensive to purchase than the cost of the event. I say that without knowing how much it costs to insure an event that hangs people with “freakish good looks” from walls of a plaza. I just hope it is not a windy day.

The article says that Wal-Mart could not do the same type of thing. Wal-Mart may not go for the same type of promotion, but they are certainly not afraid of generating exposure as the “most efficient retailer.” How long have we been talking about Wal-Mart and RFID?

Jonathan Meyer
Guest
Jonathan Meyer
15 years 7 months ago

Didn’t Marshall Field’s use this stunt first when it re-launched its State Street store in Chicago? It was extremely successful for Marshall Field’s and helped establish a “hipper” brand image. Marshall Field’s at that time was owned by Target, so it only makes sense to use this stunt again — only this time on a much larger scale.

Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
Guest
Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
15 years 7 months ago

I think this is an example of more to come. Advertising has changed over the years and this is another example of being “on trend!” Viral, guerilla and word of mouth are where it’s at and we will see this move into many categories and products – sooner than later.

Santiago Vega
Guest
Santiago Vega
15 years 7 months ago

Target certainly stands out from its competitors when it comes to marketing its overall brand, inherently filled with cache given its proprietary and very well-edited designer merchandise.

What Target is accomplishing with these sorts of events is something that other mass retailers would die for: reeling in an increasingly vast and mostly “richer” customer base; continue to establish its brand, in the eyes of its customers, as holding greater value than its competitors’; and allowing them some room to slowly increase their prices in the discretionary categories they are marketing.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

They have Nick Graham (“chief underpants officer” for Joe Boxer) to thank for all of this. He was the one who made stunt-branding really take off (I was there when he launched underwear into space in the Nevada desert) as the Kmart Joe Boxer and J.C. Penney Nickit alliances confirm all these years later. Target’s more refined version, staged in New York, reinforces the brand’s cachet (Target being the brand – in important distinction) and reinforces their eligibility, not only for snagging better customers, but also for additional Mizrahi-like brand additions any time they feel like it. I don’t know that these events reinforce the promise of getting more while paying less but that probably isn’t the point.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 7 months ago

Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This shows what a retailer can develop, and succeed with… by utilizing a consumer marketing thinking!!! More to come from Target, now a premier retailer that knows how to entice its consumers and their shopping experience!

Shopper loyalty, higher margin products sold, and image building are bundled in this “outside the box” approach! Now, our grocery counterparts could do similar events with their specialties.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Free publicity that creates positive word of mouth is always the best marketing tool you can have. Since Target is one of the very few retailers that does the unexpected, it makes itself truly special.

Are there other retailers that ask themselves, “What can we do that we’ve never done before? That will be talked about? That no one else has done?” Or do most retailers simply anniversary the same ads and promotions at the same times of year, endlessly.

Tom Jordan
Guest
Tom Jordan
15 years 7 months ago

I couldn’t disagree more! Target’s “branding” experts are thinking way too much of themselves and not their customers. The fact is, they are not Starbucks, Nike, Virgin, or Harley Davidson. Target is a big box retailer, not someone’s personal expression of outrageous lifestyle. Expect more, pay less, does not resonate beyond the box, but better value and customer satisfaction does!

In my opinion, they’re better off keeping their feet on the ground.

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