A Big Lesson in Marketing

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The success of any advertising or direct marketing campaign depends on a coalescence of elements, not the least of which are the motif of the creative and the timing of the launch. If you can tie those two together, you’re likely to be sitting pretty.

For example, take the Sunday newspaper insert I received recently from Target, which prides itself on selling quality, stylish merchandise at reasonable prices. Scheduled to arrive in-home about a week before the first day of school, it was obviously designed by the retailer to look like a classic composition notebook – ruled pages, marble red cover and all.

But the “back to school” theme doesn’t stop there. This bold, eye-catching, 8-1/2” X 11” insert is divided into three two-page spreads – one each for middle school, high school and elementary school – each of which features a selection of obligatory, age-appropriate school supplies, clothes and gear.

But wait – it gets better. We’re not just talking back packs, calculators, plaid skirts and denim blazers here. No, you have to give extra credit to Target for using this opportunity to cross-promote Take Charge of Education, its community relations and credit initiative which, since 1997, has donated over $100 million to schools across the country.

“Every time you use your Target Visa or Target Guest Card, Target donates up to 1% of the purchase amount to the K-12 school of your choice,” reads the plug.

And as if the creative team behind this masterpiece hadn’t already pulled out enough stops, they added one final flourish on the inside back cover: Above a picture of the ubiquitous Target Bullseye Dog are these three parting words – “See. Spot. Save.”

Wow! Clearly, the folks at Target know much more than just the A, B, C’s of promoting sales of their goods. In one small notebook, they teach a big lesson in marketing.

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