05/04

Target’s Dilemma Shows the Way for Radio

On the surface, retailer Target may not have a lot to do with your radio brand. But look closer, because the similarities are staggering.

Like radio, Target has a wide array of items, together aimed at a broad-based, massive audience.  Like radio, Target is suffering from a million tiny cuts as Internet options eat into their business with lower pricing or greater selection (i.e., in the radio context, greater value).  Like radio, Target is a trusted brand that includes human-to-human interaction.  Like radio, Target lives in your local market.

So why is Target discontinuing Amazon’s Kindle, how does this speak to a larger trend, and what does this have to do with radio?

From Huffington Post:

Target’s decision to phase out the Kindle is also occurring as the retailer, along with other major merchants, are trying to fight a growing practice called “showrooming.” That’s when shoppers, armed with smartphones, browse products in physical stores and then shop online for a better price.

Want to hear Lady Gaga?  There are a million places to do it now.  Love a song you just heard on the radio?  Buy it with one-click from iTunes.  Want an experience similar to your favorite station’s but without all the commercials? Sign up for SiriusXM or Pandora.

So what’s Target’s solution to this problem?

Again, HuffPo:

Earlier this year, Target sent out a letter to vendors asking for help in developing exclusive merchandise and matching rivals’ online prices.

“Exclusive merchandise.” That is, something you can find only on the shelves at Target.  To excel in a world with a million ways to get some form of you, you have no choice but to aspire to be the best in the world at what you do.  And the easiest way to be “best” is to be exclusive.

So what’s exclusive about your brand and highly valued at the same time? Exclusive means “one of a kind,” remember.  Exclusive means “only you.”

“Matching rivals’ online prices.” This is another way of saying that Target wants to alter the value differential between their offerings and those of anybody else. For that content which cannot be exclusive to you, how do you make the experience that surrounds it just as good as any other experience consumers can get from anybody else?  This is the radio equivalent of matching price.

If the inadequacies of our “value match” lead consumers to search out options elsewhere, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

So think like Target:  Increase your “exclusives” and match the value proposition of your alternatives.

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  • James

    I’m sure you know this, but this falls in line perfectly with Seth Godin’s The Dip.  Be the best in the world or quit.  And being the best in the world means best at a certain things.  Exclusivity falls into that perfectly.  Not being the best in a very broad thing, but in a small thing that only you can do and accomplish.  It’s true.

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    Seth’s right – as usual! Thanks James!

  • Don

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!  There is no exclsivity in “the biggest hits of the 80s, 90s, and today with fewer commercials!”

  • Dennis Collins

    So to continue the metaphor, can anyone tell me just what is radio’s “exclusive merchandise?”  What is it that can only be found on radio’s “shelves?”  It’s certainly not music.  For years I’ve herd the dialogue that it’s what surrounds the music. Sounds simplistic.  Has anyone figured this out?

  • Dennis Collins

    So to continue the metaphor, can anyone tell me just what is radio’s “exclusive merchandise?”  What is it that can only be found on radio’s “shelves?”  It’s certainly not music.  For years I’ve herd the dialogue that it’s what surrounds the music. Sounds simplistic.  Has anyone figured this out?

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    As you know, Dennis, what surrounds the music is anything but simple (although it may be simplistic).
    There is a “whole” that is bigger than the sum of its parts, but if the parts are just a playlist, there’s no “whole” there.
    Morning shows, talk shows, particular feature elements, etc.

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    As you know, Dennis, what surrounds the music is anything but simple (although it may be simplistic).
    There is a “whole” that is bigger than the sum of its parts, but if the parts are just a playlist, there’s no “whole” there.
    Morning shows, talk shows, particular feature elements, etc.

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