At a trendhunter.com, a user-created trend website, a New York Times article stated that Target didn’t care what bloggers thought about them.
“When a blogger emailed criticizing a billboard, she got a blow off email saying that Target doesn’t deal with non-traditional media. Target went on to say that this allows them time to focus their efforts on publications that reaches their core ‘guest’.”
“‘Target doesn’t participate in new media channels?’ asked the Web site for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Target “dismisses bloggers” commented the blog for Parents for Ethical Marketing. “Ahem! So bloggers don’t count!” Ms. Jussel chimed in on ShapingYouth. Could Target, the ever-hip, contemporary retailer, really have such a low opinion of blogs, the ever-hip, contemporary media channel? Yes, at least for now. “We do not work with bloggers currently,” said a company spokeswoman, Amy von Walter, who agreed to speak with this traditional media outlet. “But we have made exceptions,” Ms. von Walter said. “And we are reviewing the policy and may adjust it.” Target’s policy is to focus limited resources on the big media outlets, like television stations and newspapers, which reach large numbers of shoppers. With a small public relations team, she said ‘we want to make sure we are making an educated decision and we live up to any promises we make, in terms of service’.”(nytimes)
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Listen to your customers!
Target is making a mistake by not paying attention to bloggers.
While one can make the argument that it is impossible to find out what every individual blogger is thinking about Target, the company should be paying attention to the in-store customer and email comments they receive and then check out what bloggers are saying. Different people communicate differently and chances are that their in-store comment cards and even their email comments are different that what bloggers are saying — it’s a different demographic that uses a different type of media to express themselves.
As small retailers, we don’t have the time to be searching online for comments about our stores. However, we should pay attention to what customers are saying.
Check your comment cards in the store. Check your emails that are coming into your website. Take a search online and see if anything turns up (you should read what people are saying on local websites like citysearch.com or local TV station websites). Then react accordingly. One complaint does not an issue make. But five complaints about the same thing probably means you have an issue.
And they don’t have to be complaints. Customers could be sending emails or comments asking you to carry a certain line of precuts.
Listen, then react. Your customers are the lifeline for your business. Don’t turn a deaf ear to your customers or they’ll turn to another retailer who’s willing to listen.