Tag Archives: marketing

Target: What went wrong?

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 “Your customers are responsible for your company’s reason for existing.” – Marilyn Suttle 

After billions of losses in the Canadian market, Target asks itself today: what went wrong?

According to the OECD Index people in the United States earn around $54, 214 US dollars
annually. Comparing this number to their Canadian counterparts, the average Canadian earns approximately $44, 017 US dollars per year.

The average disposable income in the U.S. is $39, 531 US dollars, versus $30, 212 US dollars in Canada.

So, what do these numbers tell us?

Americans and Canadians do not have the same spending habits.

Target Corporation initiated the transaction of expanding into Canada after the recognition that most Canadians do cross-border shopping, and in most cases, will make a stop at Target. So, why did the allure end so suddenly?

The failed expansion of Target Canada rests in the difference of cultural nuances between Americans and Canadians.

As a corporate communication consultant, our first point of reference in garnering consumer support is to actually understand who our audience is, and how they buy. Target Canada is an example where expansion happened so rapidly without truly stopping to think about consumer differences. After all, most of us will assume there isn’t a huge variation between borders – but that’s where we’re wrong.

There were subtle signs of an attempt to make Target Canada much like their U.S. chain,
including ramping up their Black Friday Deals – a usual draw for Canadian consumers. However, spending habits on Black Friday for the average Canadian is far from their American friends. Most Canadian shoppers are more than likely waiting for Boxing Day Deals, a larger draw for Canadians over Black Friday. Plus, the average Black Friday shopper is more than likely headed across the border to capitalize on better deals and a wider selection.

For a Canadian living in the United States, I see a drastic difference between Target U.S. and
Target Canada. Target Canada is met by higher pricing and minimal selection. The draw between the two stores were extremely different. The expansion of Target into Canada failed to account for a variation in transportation costs and supply demand differences. All relevant to the Canadian consumer.

Furthermore, the slogan “One-Stop-Shop” doesn’t resonate with the Canadian customer. The Canadian consumer tends to shop sporadically, searching for deals across a number of different stores. Where “One-Stop-Shop” resonated with Americans due to ease of use and logistics, the same shopping mannerisms don’t translate synonymously between the two countries.

The learning curve for Target Corporation here, and any corporation looking to expand either North or South of the border, is to remember who is buying the product. It’s not enough to
assume cultural similarities or spending habits. It’s extremely crucial to recognize the subtle variations in how people buy, and the difference in purchase decisions when targeting (pardon the pun) a new audience.

Tweet me your thoughts! @Sam__Dickson

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Your Job, Your Choice.

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Seth Godin once said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

The more I read, and reread that quote, the more it becomes entrenched in my brain as an idea that everyone should live by, hanging on to each word as a true testament for living the life we actually dream of living. Why?

We live in a world where the majority of our time is spent at work. Making money, paying bills, and living in a sea of college debt. I’m going to guess that 80 percent of our time is spent
working in order to live comfortably, while the other 20 percent of the time is spent doing things that we feel rewards us for all our hard “work”.

For some of us, that 20 percent is spent on a beach in the Caribbean, while for others it’s being at home where we can hypothetically relax, unwind and not think about… you guessed it, work.

Godin has a point, though. What are we escaping from, and what decision did we make that put us in a position where we feel we need to “get away” from the life we created?

In a conversation I had with my Dad over the weekend, he brought up the recent pool of
applicants entering the job field – millennials. In other words, yours truly. He had a subtle
trepidation about the number of incoming resumes with what some might call, career jumpers. Five months here, three months at XYZ, and seven months working abroad. Not to mention the switch from Finance to Fashion to Food Security.

With great curiosity, he inquired not only about job stability, but also about candidate
trustworthiness, fearful of how quickly someone can walk away from a permanent position. My response seemed to be somewhat defensive, but truly reflective of the society I’ve been brought up in.

In honest fashion, I told him if he was looking for someone who would be there long term to try increasing the number of years of experience required for the position — inevitably an older
applicant. The difference between hiring someone from Gen Y and Gen X is substantial, it just depends on what the job is and what the position means internally for the company.

Gen Y has been raised by Gen X, living with the hope that we can grow up and land our dream job – and we really believe it. That doesn’t mean we are going to end every job within a few months, unsatisfied with the position, reluctant about the field and angry about the pay.

However, we are naturally drawn to expect more from the companies we get hired by, and if we feel unfit or unhappy by the position, we aren’t afraid to make a change. We’ve begun to
understand that the 80 percent of our time is valuable. Too many times we see individuals land in a position, working countless hours for something they actually hate. They’re unhappy, but
reluctant to make a change.

I think the greater mistake is not recognizing you have the potential to control your own
happiness, and find a job that doesn’t have to be called work. Of course you’ll have some days where you can’t wait for the day to end – but don’t settle for that on the everyday. Ultimately, we want to be recognized for the talent that we have, instead of filling a job that really is meant for someone else. In my opinion, this is just a natural progression of the job market.

Maybe I am just optimistic, but at the same time, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.

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OHA Talks Social Media and Fashion on Access Alexis

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Today I was a guest blogger on Access Alexis! Head over to read more about social media,
fashion, Prabal Gurung, and more! Hope you all like it!

“Fashionably Social: Where Fashion Meets Social Media.”

- S.