Should Marketers be in the Business of Selling Media ?

Target’s announcement this week that they’ve struck a media deal with Daily Candy is, on the surface, a straightforward attempt to monetize their large web site traffic and create a new revenue stream.  Daily Candy is a free daily e-mail from a website which focuses on leading edge fashion, food, and fun. Target has been advertising in DailyCandy e-mails for some time now.


The deal, announced on Monday, creates a co-branded  “Red Hot Shop” in collaboration with Daily Candy, which features “a monthly dose of chic, unique, and sometimes offbeat” in the form of DailyCandy editors product picks on the Target web site.

Marketing Innovation ?

Is this a smart new Marketing idea that other Marketers should emulate ? Or, is this nothing more than a brazen play to generate a new revenue stream during a very challenging and difficult economic environment ?

It all starts with the Brand and the key equities you want to own. Target has done a great job over the past ~10 years of establishing itself as the mass merchandising retailer that brings you fashionable products at a reasonable price. DailyCandy squarely fits the Target “fashion” equity and brings an element of street cred as well.

Target Daily Candy

Guilding Principles

  • Do you have the same target consumer ?If so, it might make sense to evaluate a media partnership like the Target / DailyCandy one. In Target’s case, both Target and DailyCandy are focused on women interested in fashionable merchandise and ideas.
  • Do you share the same brand equities ?If not, you risk diluting your brand by devoting valuable web space to a brand that doesn’t reinforce and support what you want to stand for. What I really like about the Target / DailyCandy partnership is their focus on leveraging the DailyCandy fashion expertise and equity–similar to Target’s–to recommend products for sale on Target’s web site.
  • Would a media partnership help achieve your marketing objectives ? Building your core brand equity is a never-ending objective. Target also has the potential to bring in new shoppers and/or increase share of wallet via new merchandise.
  • Does the economic model make sense for both partners ?You’re giving up important real estate on your web site. There is an opportunity cost to devoting your space to someone else–does the partnership deliver a better financial return? It sure looks that way–Target leverages DailyCandy’s fashion expertise and street cred to sell more product, while DailyCandy benefits from Target’s large consumer reach and advertising. And they both build their “fashion” equity.
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I’ve always admired Target as a leading retail Marketer (one of the few), and this is another great example of them innovating through media, web and smart partnership marketing.

What do you think ?


4 Responses to Should Marketers be in the Business of Selling Media ?

  1. renatam says:

    Randall – I thought this was a brilliant strategic partnership that capitalizes on the strengths of both the Target and Daily Candy brands, and creates a FUSED prism/platform to extend both w/out diminishing the main/core brand(s) of both. I believe this is what innovation and creating distinctions will look like in an impossibly expansive and interconnected world – in future. This is VERY hard work to create and maintain, due to the complexities involved. Nevertheless, there are no shortcuts for marketers and brand stewards in this brave, new world. The question is open as to whether traditionally trained/experienced marketers have the vision to execute in this manner. Let the games begin!

    PS – Our President is a master at fusing his brand through (sometimes) distinctly different partnerships – augmenting his own and others’ w/out diminishment – in this way!

    • beardrs says:

      Renata–Very well said. FUSED is a great way of describing a brand partnership that is focused, tight and fully aligned. I wonder why we don’t see more of these ? Anyone who’s watched Target over the years has to be impressed with what they’ve accomplished in the retail space. The DailyCandy partnership is only the latest in a long string of marketing efforts which demonstrate they are one of the few retailers who really “get” marketing.

  2. Ilene Chunko says:

    Your question, “Should marketers be in the business of selling media”, I believe is a definite “yes”.

    The web has had such a huge impact on the media in general. As I am sure you’re aware, traditional media (which relied on advertising) is being radically transformed.

    As both consumers and marketers, our sources for brand awareness, which had been relatively concentrated before the internet, have now exploded into an unbelievable number of web pages. The places for people to see, hear find information is now an incredibly huge, but fragmented market. Every website, even your blog, is now a potential media outlet.

    Traditional companies, have transformed the ways they relate to their customers, whether it’s through a social network, or becoming publishers (like J&J’s Baby Center which not only promotes J&J’s products but co-promotes products like Nestle’s Juicy-Juice.)

    I believe this is an unstoppable trend, because it is focusing on the needs of the end-user community and not just the advertiser.

    Marketing is adapting to play in the space and create these alliances (fusions) across brands. Just my opinion.

    • beardrs says:

      Ilene — Well said. I think we are living through a transformational era in Marketing where the advent of digial, new measurement and the explosion of media channels is fundamentally changing marketing. I covered this in a separate post “The Brave New World of Media.” Interestingly, most CMO’s believe they are not well prepared for this new world. What are your thoughts around the implications for the Marketing organization design and skills required for success in this new world ?

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