The Marketing Strategies that Made Starbucks a Global Phenomenon

The Marketing Strategies that Made Starbucks a Global Phenomenon
Starbucks's Marketing Strategies

Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational coffeehouse chain, and it is the world's largest coffeehouse company. It was founded in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker in Seattle, Washington, and currently has more than 30,000 locations in over 70 countries. Starbucks is known for its high-quality coffee, delicious food, and excellent customer service. It has become a global leader in the coffee industry, with a strong brand image and a loyal customer base.

The history of Starbucks dates back to 1971, when founders Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker opened the first store in Seattle, Washington. The store offered a wide range of high-end coffee products, and it quickly gained popularity among the local residents. The founders also began to expand their business, opening up additional locations and introducing new products.

In the 1980s, Starbucks shifted its focus to the international market and began to expand into Canada, Japan, and other countries. In the 1990s, the company began to offer more food and beverage items, and it also launched Frappuccino and other specialty drinks. In the 2000s, Starbucks began to focus more on marketing and customer loyalty programs. It also launched an online store, which allowed customers to purchase coffee beans and other products from the comfort of their homes.

Starbucks had a successful run in the 2000s, but it began to face stiff competition from other coffee companies in the 2010s. To stay ahead of the competition, the company has continued to focus on innovation and customer experience. It has also adopted various marketing strategies to reach new customers and strengthen its brand image.

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Starbucks - Target Audience
Starbucks - Campaigns
Starbucks - Marketing Strategies

Starbucks - Target Audience

Starbucks has a broad target audience, but it mainly focuses on young professionals, students, and other people who have busy lifestyles. Its products appeal to people who want quality coffee, tasty food, and a relaxing atmosphere. Starbucks also targets people who are looking for luxury products and are willing to spend more on coffee. The company has a strong brand image and is associated with luxury, quality, and convenience.

Starbucks has been able to distinguish itself from rivals like Costa and Café Coffee Day by always understanding exactly who its target audience is and serving a certain group of individuals.

Starbucks - Campaigns

Starbucks has launched a number of campaigns to promote its brand and products. One of the most popular campaigns is the “Be the Change” campaign, which was launched in 2018. This campaign was aimed at inspiring people to make a positive change in their communities. The company also launched the “Create Your Blend” campaign, which allowed customers to customize their own coffee blends.

Brew Your Own Starbucks

Starbucks has also launched a number of creative campaigns to promote its products. For example, it launched the “Frappuccino Happy Hour” campaign, which offered discounts and freebies to customers who purchased Frappuccino drinks. The company also ran the “Taste the Season” campaign, which promoted its seasonal beverages.

Frappuccino Happy Hour

Starbucks - Marketing Strategies

Starbucks has implemented a number of marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Here are some of the most important marketing strategies that the company has used over the years:

Brand Consistency

Starbucks has focused heavily on branding and has used various strategies to create a strong brand image. It has used celebrity endorsements, high-profile sponsorships, and clever advertising campaigns to create a strong brand identity.

The Starbucks logo alone has undergone four redesigns over the period of 47 years to become the recognizable design that currently adorns your coffee cup. Starbucks reportedly had a unique difficulty when it opted to update its logo in 2011. They needed a brand design that would be appealing to a broad audience because they operated in 55 different countries. Thus, the newest logo was created. In order for the brand to possibly go outside coffee supplies, the phrases Starbucks and Coffee were removed from the logo.

Evolution of Starbucks's Logo
Evolution of Starbucks's Logo

Everything about Starbucks looks, sounds, and feels like Starbucks, including the ambiance in their locations, their internet content, and their advertising. Even the mugs and tumblers that you may purchase in the store have a simple, contemporary style.

You may enter any Starbucks in your neighborhood or an hour away and get the same experience. They will still refer to their sizes using the same Italian names (Tall, Grande, Venti, etc.), and the coffee you purchase from one store will taste the same as from another.

Social Media

Starbucks has an active presence on many social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It uses these platforms to interact with customers and promote its products. The company also uses social media to run contests and giveaways to engage customers and create brand loyalty.

They also engage in conversations with their followers and customers on social media platforms, especially Twitter, that are very similar to the ones their baristas would have in-store. These are frequently brief dialogues that focus on the customer's connection with the brand.

Starbucks, Twitter
Starbucks, Twitter

The distinct branding, aesthetically engaging content, and interactive postings on Starbucks' social media pages increase user engagement. Eye-catching photos, movies, recipes, essays, and more may be found among the variety of materials. The Starbucks social media marketing plan divides the content stream into a number of campaigns in addition to emphasizing its aesthetic appeal.

Loyalty Programs

Starbucks has launched a number of loyalty programs to reward customers for their loyalty. These programs offer discounts, free drinks, and other rewards to customers who frequently visit their stores.

Starbucks has created a loyalty program to get consumers to return. Signing up with My Starbucks Rewards requires minimal money (downloading the app or registering a gift card). And rewards are given for each purchase made using the account. An online account that can be accessed from both desktops and mobile devices is used to manage the program.

Starbucks Gift Card
Starbucks Gift Card

By utilizing information from members' past purchases, Starbucks may interact with their customers on a deeper level by offering customized incentives or promotions to try different drinks. Marketing and business growth are significantly influenced by customer loyalty. Customers that are consistently pleased and satisfied develop loyalty and connections, which may help with customer retention and increased profitability. Also, returning customers may bring a wider network into a both implicit and explicit endorsement for improved interaction and feedback.

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Leveraging Technology

Starbucks has long been a renowned mobile innovator. The business released its first mobile app in 2009 after seeing the smartphone revolution early on. The much-loved in-app payment function was then released in 2011. When Starbucks introduced mobile order ahead, prepay, and pickup in 2014, it was a game changer.

Starbucks on the Appstore
Starbucks on the Appstore

Starbucks has developed mobile apps that allow customers to pay for their purchases, order food and drinks, and manage their loyalty accounts. These apps also enable customers to access exclusive offers and discounts. Customers appreciated the simple convenience of no line-up and no waiting.

Although there were more transactions, the "third place," the idea that gave rise to Starbucks, started to lose ground.

Just in 2019, mobile orders made up 31% of all orders, while to-go orders accounted for 80% of all transactions. Cold beverages were outselling hot drinks because they are innately more portable. There were no longer groups of people conversing over coffee. Café culture was disintegrating, and Starbucks' brand identity went along with it. Company officials made suggestions about intentions to "reinvent" or "reimagine" the "third place" idea in the years leading up to 2020. Starbucks was going through an identity crisis; it wanted to evolve but wasn't sure what to do next.

With the help of its mobile app, Starbucks aimed to strengthen the sense of community. The secret to any successful client encounter? Personalization. The software started gathering information about distinct user preferences and shopping patterns in order to eventually provide special discount offers. The software also reveals the tunes being played in the shop when a consumer picks up a mobile order. This apparently little personalization creates a seamless brand engagement that unites the online and offline experiences. It is redesigning its third place to a digital space.

Experiential Marketing

Starbucks has used experiential marketing to create memorable experiences for customers. It has organized music events, art exhibitions, and other activities to engage customers and create a positive brand image.

How do they persuade people to spend so much money when they could just make coffee at home? As customers enter their stores, they provide them with an experience. They convince their clients that the cost of the drink is worthwhile by putting an emphasis on the third place and providing a space for them to interact and socialize. Being told to sit in the café with your laptop and work while enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee might be reassuring. That is the experience offered by Starbucks.

Retail Partnerships

Starbucks has partnered with various retailers to expand its reach. It has partnered with grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retailers to offer its products to more customers.

By acquiring Evolution Fresh in November 2011, Starbucks entered the $1.6 billion juice industry. Starbucks' efforts to get into the cold-pressed juice market demonstrate its interest in the health and wellness sector.

In June 2013, Starbucks announced that it will buy the San Francisco-based bakery brand La Boulange.

We think excellent coffee ought to be coupled with outstanding cuisine, said Starbucks President Howard Schultz.

The "Starbucks tea revolution" has been labeled as a result of this Teavana acquisition. Starbucks' greatest purchase to date is the tea retailer Teavana Holdings Inc. Starbucks launched Teavana Tea Bars and added Teavana specialty beverages to its menu after reaching a $620 million closing.

Starbucks's Teavana Acquisition

The increased demand for yogurt in the US led to the agreement with Danone. With its Dannon, Activia, Stonyfield Farm, and Danimals brands, Danone has an astonishing 30% of the yogurt markets. Greek yogurt parfaits were the first Starbucks-Danone goods, and they were marketed under Evolution Fresh.

A contract was inked between Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in March 2011. The two businesses would now be partners for a period of five years. The cooperation covers the production, promotion, sale, and distribution of single-serve Keurig packs with the Starbucks and Tazo brands, also known as K-cups.

Starbucks recently committed to redesigning the in-store experience around customer preferences. Starbucks has entered highly lucrative international markets thanks to strategic alliances and acquisitions with Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Teavana, Danone, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Product Innovation

Starbucks has continually introduced new products to stay ahead of the competition. It has launched new coffee blends, flavored syrups, and other products to meet the changing needs of customers.

It does not just focus on product innovation but also on enhancing customer experience. From trying to make Starbucks the third place to the innovative mobile app, Starbucks has always tried to enhance customer experience.

Partnerships with other Brands

Starbucks has entered into partnerships with other brands to create exclusive products. These partnerships have enabled the company to reach new customers and strengthen its brand image.

Given that younger generations place their smartphones at the center of their content consumption and may be persuaded to join programs with cross-partnership perks, Starbucks' collaboration with music streaming service Spotify highlights the unrealized potential of fusing mobile loyalty programs for food and beverage marketers with music.

Starbucks also partnered with Flipkart during the pandemic to sell Starbucks personalized merchandise like cups, bottles, and more.

Starbucks India and Flipkart engage in a fun banter on Twitter
Starbucks India and Flipkart engage in a fun banter on Twitter 

Their partnerships benefit both brands by leveraging the other brand's customer base.

Social Responsibility

Do you know that Starbucks is among the global businesses that care the most about social issues? At both the national and international levels, it has used its brand to advocate for social causes. In order to provide a safe harbor for people of all preferences, Starbucks has made its stores LGBT-friendly. Some companies are increasingly attempting to blur this barrier, yet they remain neutral when discussing issues that are actually polarising. Nonetheless, Starbucks does annually provide millions of dollars to aid migrants and refugees throughout the globe, like during the 2015 Syrian crisis.

Starbucks LGBT, Every name’s a story

Also, Starbucks has worked hard to integrate 10,000 veterans into its workforce, a move that has received a lot of praise around the nation. In a nutshell, Starbucks is socially conscious and works to change society at large.

Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and it has achieved this success through its innovative marketing strategies. Hope this article helps you learn from various marketing strategies employed by Starbucks and craft a strategy for your business. Starbucks is an excellent example of how a business can use marketing to create a strong brand image and increase its sales. With the right marketing strategy, you too can make your business a success.


What are the marketing strategies followed by Starbucks over the years?

Here are some of the most important marketing strategies that the company has used over the years:

  • Brand Consistency
  • Social Media
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Experiential Marketing
  • Retail Partnerships
  • Product Innovation
  • Social Responsibility

What is the target aidience of Starbucks?

Starbucks has a broad target audience, but it mainly focuses on young professionals, students, and other people who have busy lifestyles.

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