You would think that in 2008, it would be hard for a mainstream retail outlet to ignore the potential impact of blogs. You would think that, but you would be wrong. I caught Jim Tobin's tweet about Target's decision not to interact with "non-traditional media" and found myself just shaking my head at the news.
Warner Todd Hudson shares the email written to Amy Jussel of the organization Shaping Youth after she emailed Target with concerns over a new ad they've been running. The response is astonishing, considering it's 2008.
Good Morning Amy,
Thank you for contacting Target; unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with non-traditional media outlets. This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.
Once again thank you for your interest, and have a nice day.
Wow. So apparently, people who use that crazy thing called "The Internet" are not Target's core guest. (Which makes me wonder who is...) I guess they have no interest in those crazy Internet types who spent roughly $28 billion online last Christmas. I also guess they think the 17 million shoppers who visited Target.com the week after Thanksgiving never visit other sites or participate in online conversations.
I mean honestly? If they don't want to talk to bloggers because they don't understand how to do it, that's fine. But to throw out a line implying Target's "core guest" isn't found on those types of sites either shows an astonishing amount of cluelessness or absolute denial. (ETA: Ed Kohler tries to make things a little clearer for Target in his posting on the issue.)
On the other hand, this type of response from big corporations serves as yet another reminder of how essential good online marketing and proper use of social media is to small businesses. Companies like Zappos.com have won big by embracing online users.
So yet again, let me remind you of the need set up news alerts for your name, your business name and any key products you sell. Let me also remind you of the need to carefully review and respond to the emails that come in from your visitors, customers and readers. Gone are the days when you can assume a single person can't make a dent in your business. The Internet has brought main street style business practices back into vogue.
Treat people right, address their concerns and let them have a voice. Your online reputation will thank you for it.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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