Monthly Archives: January 2011

Target is Coming to Town

target2.jpgThe retail consumer in Canada is finally going to catch a break. After putting up with a dreary, outdated, ho-hum retail market for decades, in which retailing has consistently been about 20 years behind its US neighbors, there are changes afoot.

First came Costco. Great success.

Then Wal-Mart. Big success.

Then came the Apple store. Monster success.

Then Victoria’s Secret. Looking gooooood.

Now, Target. Minneapolis, MN-based Target Corp has just announced a deal to acquire the leasehold sites for up to 220 locations from Zeller’s Canada.  They plan to open 100 to 150 Target locations across Canada during 2013 and 2014, after investing about $1 billion in improvements and upgrades. And hiring a load of happy Canadians.

I have been using Target as an example of excellence in branding, target.jpgcustomer service, and retail delivery in my marketing classes for years. They have been outstanding competitors in a tough marketplace, and they have managed to maintain a lower-price higher-quality positioning that has proven nearly impossible for Wal-Mart to beat. As a consumer, I always felt that Target provided a far superior shopping experience to most other retailers, including Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart was about price, Target was about the experience.

I believe that Target has likely come to Canada for a few reasons:

  1. Slowing growth in the domestic US retail market
  2. Fierce competition in the domestic US retail market
  3. Saturation with Target stores in the US (they always stated they were going to saturate the US first before going international)
  4. Lots of cross-border shopping, which would have shown up on their radar
  5. The Canadian economy and consumer market’s resistance to recent economic dips
  6. Stronger than ever Canadian dollar (at par)
  7. Long-term prospects for strong Canadian dollar (petro bucks and the fact that all retail has an arbitrage element)
  8. Canadian dissatisfaction with retail service and choice levels
  9. Weak Canadian retail brands (Zellers? The Bay? Canadian Tire? come on….)target3.jpg
  10. Great brand recognition, awareness, and positive attitude among Canadian consumers towards Target already (who travel frequently to the US)
  11. Target’s convenient format: one-stop shopping for food, clothes (decent ones at that), sports equipment, electronics, toys, small appliances, bedding, kitchenware, linen, furniture, pharmacy and health care
  12. Target is clean. It’s customer service is outstanding.The format of the store, with wide spacious aisles and clear signage, is best in class. The experience–as I said before, and have written about already in some of my retail work–is what Target is all about.
  13. The French pronounciation may or may not have been a deciding element. Repeat after me…Tar GHAY est tres Canadian, eh?

My wife puts it this way: “I feel happy when I shop there.” We have missed the Target retail experience ever since moving to Toronto from Madison. I think that the Canadian consumer is going to richly reward Target for this decision, and the warm and wonderful feelings are going to be mutual. I know in my house we can hardly wait. The slow countdown to 2013 begins. When will they open already? And, oh…

When is The Cheesecake Factory opening in Yorkdale for goodness sake?

Social Media in 2011: A New Class

Robert Kozinets teaching at Schulich SchoolFirst things first. Happy New Year to all my faithful blog readers, students, friends, SEO victims, and curious bystanders. May it be a fascinating, enriching, and wonder-filled year for each and every one of you. Now, to the King: content.

Welcome to my new extended classroom (cue not-so-sinister laugh here….).

Yes, for the next few weeks, I am going to be using this blog as part of my two new classes at the Schulich School of Business. Although I have been teaching courses in Word of Mouth Marketing and Social Media marketing as Independent Study courses since 2007, this year I launch full undergrad (BBA) and master’s program (MBA) courses in Social Media Marketing and Management.

The thing I am most excited about with these courses is that they are going to take place both in the classrooms at the heart of our gorgeous and glamorous (not, and definitely not) Keele and Finch campus but also in the public space of the social mediasphere (your loud applause here, please).

Yes, you deduced that correctly, Sherlock. Important class assignments throughout the course will have to be posted, cross-posted, and linked up to a variety of social media tools, such as this blog, and, most especially the new Facebook page for the class.

As such a public venture, and, again, as a little experiment, I am keeping the FB page open to everyone (yes, even you), and this blog is open, and I’ll be Tweeting the progress of the page. As well, I’m hoping the student makes liberal use of video formats, and that will probably mean YouTube, perhaps Flickr and other different kinds of sharing sites will be involved. I am hoping for a large range of different materials, shared in different ways.

The preparation begins with today’s BBA class, and builds next week with the MBA class. Then, in a week, student presentations begin, and those presentations must be shared through social media, using the Facebook page as a sort of hub to guide students and interested onlookers to the materials.

To give you a quick preview of what is to come, here are some of the potential (and likely) topics my eager and amazing social media students will be covering over the coming three months or so:

  • Word of mouth marketing
  • Word of mouth theory
  • Brand community (various aspects to consider)
  • Social media marketing associations and resources (e.g., WOMMA, CMA, AMA)
  • Understanding Social Media Collectives (e.g., etribes; tribes; subcultures)
  • Market segments in Social Media
  • Market Positioning with social media
  • Transmedia 101
  • Understanding the basics of brand narratives,
  • Storytelling and Social Media Management
  • A Company Campaign that uses Transmedia and/or Brand Narrative
  • Book Review: Convergence Culture
  • Book Review: Enterprise 2.0
  • Metrics in SMM campaigns
  • ROI and SMM
  • Looking at past campaign(s) and how they have measured the value of SMM (positive and negatives of approaches?)
  • Book reviews of books on metrics and SMMHow to get an ad to go viral: example
  • A SMM Research Method: Social network analysis
  • The analysis of influence
  • Online Forums and social media marketing
  • Online Research for Social Media Insight
  •  Netnography
  • Web analytics
  • Social media marketing research companies and products
  • Using SNS and Microblogs—principles and guidelines
  • Lessons from Facebook marketing campaigns
  • Other SNS (MySpace) campaigns and strategies
  • Lessons from Twitter campaigns
  • SMM uses of YouTube and Flickr“
  • Wikinomics” and innovation 
  • Eric von Hippel and lead users
  • “prosumers”
  • User-generated media
  • Book Review: Wikinomics
  • Book Review: Wikibrands
  • Wikis and SMM
  • Virtuals worlds and SMM
  • Mobile
  • Social marketing and SMM
  • Of course, there may be plenty of surprises in store as well….stay tuned. I think this is going to be a great start to the year for this blog, and for everyone who enjoys thinking about and learning about social media marketing and management.