(NYT) Target To The Blogosphere: You’re Irrelevant

The New York Times reported today that Target told a blogger to ‘go away’ when that blogger sent a simple inquiry to their communications department.

Their PR person sent the blogger the following via email:

“Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote.

“This practice,” the public relations person added, “is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest,” as Target refers to its shoppers.

Now, the issue here is not about what the blogger asked. That is largely irrelevant. The issue is that Target’s PR department won’t even take the time to respond to a blogger and take them seriously. Target, apparently, has absolutely no idea that this is how the upcoming generation communicates. Target also, apparently, has communications people that aren’t in the blogosphere or they would have probably taken a few seconds to give them a legitimate reply.

The ironic part of this story is that by ignoring the blogger, Target has produced for themselves an extremely negative story in mainstream media (the media they claim to want to ‘focus on’). They don’t seem to understand that, in fact, all media is now connected – content from blogs flows into mainstream media, and mainstream media content flows into blogs. It is the same readers and audience everywhere.

You cannot simply ignore a form of media just because it is new. By doing so, you will inspire that entire community, be it blogs or whatever is next, to talk about the fact that you won’t take them seriously. These are your customers – in fact they are the most vocal, most involved, and potentially the most loyal customers. They are the type that will have a positive experience with your brand and share it with their friends and with their readers.

Blogging is merely a publishing platform online. It is unfortunate that some companies view it as an immature platform, when many bloggers are publishing as good, if not in many cases better content than their print counterparts. The medium is meaningless anyway – everyone gets their information differently. It is the message that is of most importance.

What kind of message is Target sending to its customers here?

To PR people who think blogs are irrelevant: you might want to have a look at the state of the blogosphere.