VIEQUES, PR — Target sees 2016 as a watershed year for the retailer to leverage programmatic advertising for both CRM and to enable vendors to better engage with its customers, says Patrick Reiter, Senior Group Manager of Digital Marketing & Media.

For managing customer relationships, Target recognizes the need to engage with its “guests” in the best ways possible to meet their ever-rising expectations of relevance, according to Reiter. This means having the right message or content for each person, place and time.

“In order to meet those expectations, you have to automate in some way,” he says. “It’s just not possible to have that many relevant conversations one-to-one in the way we historically think about it. Programmatic allows us to reach scale to our customer base in a way that is both meaningful and relevant.”

On the vendor side, in late 2015 Target rolled out an Alpha Partner program in which a short list of companies was chosen based on digital acumen, openness to testing and forward-thinking capabilities. They were allowed to share in Target’s learning to date from programmatic ads. This year, Target will release a program called Target Guest Access to move the concept forward for more of its vendors.

“Over time, we realized the programmatic capabilities we were building weren’t only useful to Target but they were useful to all marketers,” Reiter says.

This video was produced at the Beet.TV executive retreat presented by Videology. You can find more videos from the session here.