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Target Summit: Key Takeaways

5 May 2023

Target had a lot of news worth celebrating with brands this week at the retailer’s annual Marketing Partner Summit in Minneapolis.

Among the celebratory news that Target shared:

  • 23 straight quarters of comparable-store sales growth.
  • 3 years of revenue growth delivering $30 billion in top-line sales.
  • 100 million Target Circle users — nearly 1 in 3 U.S. residents. (That’s a whole lot of Target love)!

During the event’s general session and divisional breakouts, attendees from The Mars Agency learned about a number of strategies that will lead the way at Target in 2023 and beyond. The following is our analysis of the key takeaways for brand partners.

Delivering connected, personalized guest experiences

Target is thinking about their guest experience differently. With one-third of customers making purchases in-store and via digital channels in the same week, it’s clear the shopping journey has changed. And this continued shift in guest behavior is causing the lines between Target teams to blur more than ever, ultimately unlocking new ways to bring the guest experience to life.

What can brands do?

  • Increase personalization and connect with Target guests across the entire shopper journey, creating curated experiences using unique Target assets.
  • Partner with Roundel and lean into the “One Target” approach to take advantage of more inventory, more search opportunities, and deeper connections into their organization.

One best-in-class example of a CPG doing this well is Mars Wrigley, which was named Enterprise Vendor of the Year at the Summit for its efforts connecting with guests across all major Target touch points and brand initiatives. Among the key activations were Halloween, Target Pride, and the launch of M&M’S Purple. (Congratulations to our Mars Wrigley friends and clients on this amazing accomplishment!)

Choosing progress over perfection

Target guests don’t just come to shop, they come to discover and be inspired. And in a world where trends emerge and change at a rapid pace, solving for new needs by delivering real-time, relevant solutions is critical. Expect to see Target continuing to make decisions using a guest-first mentality, especially when it comes to enhancing the shopping experience — like moving the Starbucks with Drive-Up app program from test to rollout at record speed.

What can brands do?

  • Stay curious and keep the pulse on what’s happening with the Target guest, as well as with shoppers across the broader retail landscape.
  • Then act on what you learn, applying agility with newness and innovation — as Target said during the event, at the end of the day, being slow is riskier than being wrong.

Staying laser-focused on affordability

Affordability has always mattered to Target — after all, it’s half of their Expect More, Pay Less brand promise. But with two-thirds of Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck, affordability has never mattered more. You can therefore expect Target to double down on affordability, making sure products are priced right and promotions are simple and easy to understand. They’ll prioritize product assortment across a range of price points, making sure that innovation and design is available to all.

What can brands do?

  • Be priced right and clearly communicate your promotions to guests (don’t make them do a bunch of math to understand the value).
  • Lean in and partner with Roundel and Circle to connect with guests and celebrate affordable joy in ways that only Target can!

Creating a more reliable experience

As much love as guests have for Target, there’s one complaint they often have: out of stocks. This has Target’s attention, because they continuously hear that reliability is the No. 1 reason their guests choose a retailer. Expect Target to have high expectations for in-stocks and continue to invest in supply chain and the “store as hub” fulfillment model.

What can brands do?

  • Start by getting items that guests love on the shelf.
  • Then work with Target on prioritizing/simplifying your assortment to ensure those best-loved SKUs are always in stock.

To learn more about Target’s business and how to best partner with this beloved retailer, reach out to The Mars Agency’s Target Customer Development team by contacting Meghan Heltne at [email protected].

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