Target Reviews Shops as It Expands Internal Programmatic Function

Retailer Seeking External Help to Facilitate In-House Digital Marketing and Buying Processes

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Target Bullseye
Target Bullseye

Target is undergoing a review that spans programmatic and cross-channel buying as it fine-tunes its in-house digital marketing and buying processes.

The company is "focused on expansion of Target's internal, modern CRM and data-driven marketing capabilities by considering partnerships in the following key areas: platform capability for cross-channel media activation (Programmatic, Social, Video, etc), complementary audience development and measurement and reporting products," said a Target spokeswoman.

This latest review, through which Target is aiming to expand an existing internal digital buying and marketing system with some help, is testament to an in-house system that's already working for the retail giant. Now, the company is looking for partners who can help it do more with the data and technology it already has, but is not typically willing to share, according to people familiar with the company.

Target is one of a handful of marketing giants that has its own private exchange marketplace -- a system that automates the process of purchasing inventory from pre-selected publishers. Over the years, marketers looking to ensure they're in control over their first-party data and the costs and effectiveness of their buys have attempted to build internal media operations that enable them to plan and buy quality digital inventory through automated systems, rather than contracting an agency to do it.

Target, one of the early players to bring its programmatic in-house, tapped Kristi Argyilan over a year ago to support the ongoing effort. She had been North America President of Magna Global, the digital buying arm of Interpublic's media agency network IPG Mediabrands, where she led the charge for the shops' programmatic and automated buying push.

Target has a long-standing relationship with Minneapolis-based media agency Haworth Marketing & Media. WPP media agency network GroupM took a 49% stake in Haworth last year.

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