After last week’s article “Supercalifragilistic, TargetScrewed this Chat Up” I had an offline conversation about the piece with several people who were “in the know” about Target. This post references that discussion but I’m not sharing the specifics of that discussion in the interest of those involved.

I do try to be fair, thorough and detailed in my writing. It was pointed out to me that, in my analysis, I missed a few key and what should have been obvious links to the landing page for National Princess Week. Gaining access to those links may have altered the experience I had somewhat, so I felt it was necessary to follow up quickly with a few notes about this.

Wall Posts:   I did not see an obvious link to a page or area explaining what National Princess Week was on the immediate Facebook posts from the 26th.  My first place to find a link to Princess Week was scanning Target’s Facebook wall and post comments. I read through two large posts with Julie’s picture with links to the chat and expanded the comment fields. There was another post that linked to Princess Bedding, a princess survey and a princess name generator post.

Sufficed to say, I didn’t look at all of the week's earlier posts, and it would have been right to do so.  There were a few links to the landing page before May 26th.  Simply put, I missed these because didn’t feel the need to scroll farther than I did:  I was very much “in the moment” with regard to the day and the chat.  Further, the Julie Andrews graphics were rather tall and took up a decent amount of vertical space – especially with comments expanded (there were hundreds).  While I don't have a screen grab of the scrolling window I looked at...  Further, Facebook has the annoying pattern of shifting post positions within the left and right columns. In some views it also truncates the number posts that display with a “view more” link and as content is added, it  So, while I wouldn't blame any of that for my failure to dig more deeply into the week's posts....I'd assert these dynamics made it easier for me (and others) to miss things, especially left-column content due to typical eye-scanning patterns.  Just an attempt to explain my own context as I did this work.

Here’s the post from the 25th: 

Here are the two posts from the 23rd: 

Cover Graphic:  While looking for a landing or informational page, I also looked clicked on the Cover Graphic that showcased National Princess Week.  However, the comments there immediately caught my eye and I did not notice the link present above them in the description field (highlighted below). Such is the hazard of multitasking: 

I did have a screen shot of this graphic, but I inadvertently overwrote the master when I cropped it with the intention of calling out some user comments.  Simply put, this link did NOT catch my eye or register - and the omission was unintentional.  Not sure why I didn't notice the link --perhaps I was just distracted,  maybe I didn't have enough caffeine... perhaps my brain was doing some selective filtering or I was having a bad day.  Whatever the case, I should not have missed it.  It was one of the most logical and obvious places for the link to be present, and it was there.

So, I’d like to issue an apology to the fine folks at Target for not digging more deeply and missing these links.  While I honestly don't know that seeing those links would have altered much of my feedback, this was very unfortunate oversight on my part, and resulted in an article that was less fair than it should have been.  

Further, I need to make a clarification:  I made an assertion in my article that there was no information available on the website regarding National Princess Week.  However, this assertion wasn't made just because of the oversights I mentioned above.  I didn't just look on Facebook's wall for information.  When I couldn’t find a link to information within the Facebook wall posts I reviewed, I went to to find out more. I saw no obvious promotion or link on the home page, so I did a text-search for National Princess Week, which yielded this:

Further, as I mentioned in the article, the link to the landing page was not mentioned on the Twitter #targetchat hashtag, the posts of the day (the 26th), the online chat (before during or after) or promoted within the comments field of the day’s posts for users who had the same questions I had. 

So, taking this all into context, I did feel I jumped through more than my fair share of hoops looking for an obvious, easy to find link to the landing page with information about the event.  I was very frustrated by not finding a link, along with other folks. However, it appears I didn’t jump high or look hard enough.  Here’s a screen shot of the landing page for National Princess Week: 

  • The page frames the event in a relatively clear, highly merchandised and sales-driven manner. 
  • The brief video on the landing page from Julie Andrews touches on her books and core promotional messaging, which was a true missing piece in my experience.
  • The page is not indexed in Target search which is very problematic.
  • Embedding of the video is disabled, which is also less than ideal
In short, video could have been a linchpin piece of content for Target used in other channels. It would have nicely added more mission-driven context and conversation as embedded within posts, scoring more views, greater awareness and sharing. Disabling the embed code seems like an unfortunate choice, and I'm not sure what hurdles or barriers were present -- but I'm assuming there may have been some. 

In closing, during the discussions I had, I was more than willing to own my mistakes.  At the same time, I couldn’t help but stare at Steve Krug’s classic, sitting on my bookshelf, called “Don’t Make Me Think!.   While I stand corrected on my own errors – I agree with Krug. It’s never good to force users to go through hoops to get to your core message.  I do maintain my assertion that the lack of contextual link placement on the 26th made it too easy to miss Target’s core messages – especially within context -- and I stand by the article. 

Finally and in parallel, my experiences managing four events in 24 hours at SXSW recently brought home some realities to me that are relevant here:  There’s a lot that goes into managing any event – online or offline. When a person works hard to connect all the dots and create a great experiences, outside criticism can feel painful on the receiving end. It’s important for critics and targets of criticism alike, to realize that most of us want the same things. We are all swimming in the same ocean and dealing with the same challenges:
  • Immature tools and apps
  • Convergence of devices, channels and services
  • Managing internal conflicts and misalignment
  • Communication breakdowns and challenges
  • Coordinating diverse and sometimes difficult audiences
  • Managing multiple third-party relationships
  • Riding learning curves
  • Dealing with the unknown and extenuating circumstances
In short, there’s always much more going on behind the scenes than we may recognize or acknowledge. So, my feedback in no way an attempt to diminish the hard work of the fine folks at Target, or of Julie Andrews and her crew did.  We are all human, and stuff happens.   And much to Target’s credit, they care enough to own their mistakes too -- and to talk about them honestly and openly.  Kudos and thanks.


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I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.


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