This New York Times article is a rare behind the scenes look at how Target uses analytics to drive its business decisions. While not surprising to those in the analytics field, the breadth of data they collect is pretty amazing. Whether using a credit card, coupon, filling out a survey, submitting a refund, sending an email, visiting their web site, etc…provide them data to collect. Then that information is matched up to other information such as "how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit." Combine that with other publicly purchasable demographic information and they have a powerful set of data to work with. The article goes on to describe how Target's Guest Marketing Analytics department uses this data to do predictive analytics. Definitely a must read.