Starbucks operates in an environment marked by intense competition due to the presence of other players offering alternative and even substitute products coupled with the aggressive marketing activities of dominant firms. Nevertheless, in order to keep itself afloat, the biggest operator of coffeehouse chains in the world has developed and rolled out a multi-faceted promotion strategy to maximize its reach to its target and existing customers.
Understanding the Promotion Strategy of Starbucks: Utilizing Integrated Marketing Communication for Maximum Reach
Central to the promotion strategy of Starbucks is integrated marketing communication which involves using different promotional tactics and communications channels to promote its brand, maintain brand awareness, and promote specific products.
The promotional activities of the company can be grouped under four main groups. These are marketing communication, sales promotion, value-added services, and publicity. Take note of the following specific details:
1. Marketing Communication: This involves using mediums or channels of communication to deploy marketing messages. Starbucks does this through non-paid and paid channels. Non-paid channels include in-store displays, an official website, and official social media accounts. Paid channels represent advertisements placed on traditional mediums, outdoor spaces, and digital mediums.
2. Sales Promotion Activities: Another integral part of the promotion strategy of Starbucks is its sales promotion activities. The most prominent one is its dedicated loyalty program coursed through its Starbucks Card. The program gives customers discounts and other perks, special discounts, and other freebies on special occasions.
3. Value-Added Services: The company utilizes premium pricing in its pricing strategy and as part of its marketing mix. It justifies this decision by offering a premium in-store experience for its customers. This is evident from its grand and polished interiors and free access to Wi-Fi. It also employs well-trained personnel to provide customers with personalized services and even personalized food orders.
4. Exposure Through Publicity: It has also partnered with other companies or brands to improve its brand awareness via positive brand association. It also has a dedicated corporate social responsibility program that aims to promote sustainability across its value chain while also improving its corporate image.
Note that the aforementioned activities are developed, implemented, revisited, and relaunched on a regular basis. Some of its more specific activities are a standard part of its promotional strategy. These include content marketing, seasonal discounts, and media relations.
However, in some instances, the company develops and rolls out a more specific promotional strategy for a particular goal such as in the case of a new product launch, general revamps or repositioning, or as part of a moment marketing campaign.
The use of different promotional tactics and communication channels helps Starbucks promote itself to both existing customers and the broader target market. It needs to maintain its presence and even keep itself relevant to remain on top of the minds of consumers. Remember that it operates in a highly competitive and saturated market.