our sunday best
I have always loved Sundays. If Monday-Thursday are workworkwork and Friday and Saturday are funfunfun, Sunday is all about slowing down, taking a deep breath, and relaxing. On top of Sundays being a breath of fresh air and a break from the craziness of the week, when I was growing up Sundays were also the day that one of my favorite things arrived in my family’s paper: the Target ad.
Shuffling through the advertisements for yet-another mattress store and coupons for figurines of angelic babies dressed in snowgear, my beloved Target ad was always easy to spot: bright, colorful, and full of items that I both needed and wanted. Even if I wasn’t intending on buying anything, the Target ad was simply fun to look at.
Flash forward to when I started working at Target, and my love for the weekly ad only grew. Only instead of just appreciating the beauty of the physical ad, I now understood and appreciated the amount of time that goes into planning, creating, and delivering upon the promise that our weekly ad makes to our guest.
As a business analyst, our job is to forecast, order, and ensure the arrival of the items in our weekly ad so that our guest is guaranteed to find those items in his or her local Target store. But how does that actually work? Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that the journey to the weekly ad starts months in advance of your Sunday paper dropping on your driveway:
- 3-4 Months Out: Buyer works with marketing team to understand which items they want to put on ad and how it will fit into that ad’s “story” or message they’re trying to communicate to our guest (ie: Easter ad should have Easter ham)
- 2 Months Out: Seeing what the buyer has planned, the business analyst forecasts how s/he thinks the ad will perform. This includes understanding the sales units projected, the overall sales dollar potential, and how big of a lift over base sales this ad will create. This information helps us determine the overall inventory buy that will be necessary to support the ad.
- 1-2 Months Out: Business analyst partners with vendor to ensure that they will be able to support the orders that will generate in order to support the ad. This is also a time to discuss potentially different ways that we would want to bring in the inventory to ensure it gets to our stores in time for the ad.
- 1-4 Weeks Out: Business analyst orders product (depending on how long it will take to arrive) and tracks its arrival into our distribution centers.
- Week of Ad: Depending on how the ad performed on Sunday, the business analyst will (if possible) adjust their current orders to ensure that they will have the correct amount of inventory to support the ad for the remainder of the week…and won’t be left with too much leftover!
- Post-Ad Week: Buyer and business analyst recap how the ad performed and whether or not it was an ad that was successful and profitable for the team
As you can see, a LOT goes behind the magical Target ad that arrives in your Sunday paper (or in your email inbox…or on your smartphone) every week. At Target, we want to be able to ensure that every item we put in our ad is something that our guest will love and something that she can be guaranteed to find in her local store. We take this promise that we make to our guest very seriously, and that’s why we spend so much time dedicated to ensuring that we do the absolute very best job we can on these ads. In other words, we put on our “Sunday best” for our guests every time we release a Target ad.
These days, even though I’ve already seen the ad multiple times before it shows up in my Sunday paper, I still find myself looking forward to the tradition of flipping through my favorite Target ad. I feel so much pride and accomplishment on what we are able to deliver to our guest, and it drives me to be creative and thoughtful in thinking about what we could do next time we’re featured in ad.
For now, I’m counting down the days until my next relaxing Sunday and the next Target ad. For while I know that while I may be wearing yoga pants and drinking coffee on Sunday morning, I know that Target has put on their “Sunday best” for me and the millions of other guests that love Target just as much as I do.
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