Should Marketers be in the Business of Selling Media ?

June 4, 2009

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 ?