• Jackie Gibney, President - Jacobs

Meeting with Target: things to do and not to do

For most of us, and certainly for most of your team, we can safely say we are in too many meetings. Yet too many of us are stuck in meetings all day and it’s infectious: meeting seems to give birth to more meetings, and the downward cycle continues, crippling productivity, and crushing our relationships. As Target continues with their transformation, one thing is clear: let’s reduce meetings so we can all do better work. Target has changed and so does the way we need to do business with them.

The best meetings with Target include a clear recommendation and ask supported by sound guest insights, custom assortment plan, financials and data.

My team has been in hundreds of meetings and have a great perspective on what to do and not to do. Here is what I keep hearing:

1. Saying “This is perfect for Target”

We hear the phrase “This is perfect for Target” on nearly every product that we come across and the Target buyers have seen it all. While you (and we) may love the product that you want on Target shelves, you need to be specific on exactly WHY this product fills a void, and WHO this is for. Instead of saying it’s perfect for Target, try specifying the person behind the purchase.

2. Less is more

This is a curve ball, isn’t it? In many cases one buyer may be working with over 200 vendors (yep!). When you’re competing for time with others, one way to gain an upper hand is giving the gift of time to your buyer.

Communication: keep communication efficient. Meetings should occur when important decisions need to be made in the moment. If the purpose of your in person or phone meeting is to only inform or update, you can save time for everyone by crafting a specific email, sending a report or presentation to read at another time.

Presentations: When a presentation is appropriate, we are seeing best presentations are between 5-7 pages, PLEASE no more then 10! And, be creative – maybe no deck, try a video or guest speaker – we are sure in the next 3 years PowerPoint will be long gone.

3. Set your assortment up for success

Target has more than 1800 stores spread out across the United States, but that size also means it can offer assortments tailored to different regions and types of guests. Store segmentation, small formats, and online offerings are all ways that Target can try out your product and have the chance to fall in love. It is also a highly productive way to build strong statements in the right stores. Trust us, the best long term brands have started with a slower, more custom roll-out.

4. Know and tell your story

Sharing how insights led to your recommendations brings an emotional connection to the buyer and a story that can be retold. It’s the most powerful tool you’ll have for influence and yet the topic most commonly left out. We are finding most successful stories have a strong social media/digital voice. While many brands have a story, few translate how it plays out in the digital world. Buyers desire this, many brands do not have it.

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