Quick Marketing Pick-Me-Up from Starbucks

Not every marketing strategy can be a unicorn, just ask Starbucks.[/caption] We’re used to getting a quick burst of inspiration from Starbucks, but it usually comes in the form of a flavored latte with a double-shot of espresso. Today, it comes in the form of a new marketing strategy that the brand is adopting in order to adapt to its current customer base. According to a Marketing Week article from last month, Starbucks is shifting its marketing strategy from flash promos to longer-term relationships with its customers. The Global Chief Strategy Officer said that short-term gimmicks and limited-time offers are no longer bringing in customers like they used to (we suppose not every idea can be a Unicorn Frappuccino). Similarly, the brand stated that offering broad deals were not particularly encouraging people to come into the stores. (As we like to say: Marketing that’s created with everyone in mind is the same as marketing that’s created with no-one in mind.) For example, offering 2-for-1 specials on a Monday afternoon for everyone, whether or not they were planning to come into a store anyway, wasn’t exactly helping the cafe franchise make more money, or drawing any attention from new audiences. Especially when those deals happened fairly regularly. Instead, Starbucks plans to design offers that are more targeted, based on customers’ shopping patterns and preferences. That way, offers will feel more exclusive and give them something that they actually want. (For example, we’ll ideally be seeing more ads for 2-for-1 double-shot lattes — and stop getting the one for caffeine-free fruity iced teas that we never, ever buy. If we see those latte coupons arrive to our inbox, trust us, they’re definitely getting used!)

What This Example of Adaptive Marketing Means for You

First of all, the fact that the brand is responsive enough to gauge that its past efforts are no longer having the desired effect is a great sign. It’s staying on the ball and paying attention to the feedback, trends, and KPIs, rather than looking the other way or doubling down and hoping that it goes back to normal. It should sound simple enough, but a surprising number of companies, especially large corporations, have a hard time remaining open-minded and flexible. If you’re a smaller company, it might take time at first to implement the analytics that will tell you right away when a trend starts to go downhill, so that you can turn it around before you start losing money. But once the mechanics are in place, current programs make it easy to look at your weekly reports and see when things might be heading south — before you feel the impact. That’s where the great news comes in: Since you’re probably not a giant international chain like Starbucks, it’s even easier for you to integrate changes that you’ll need to make to turn those insights into even more profitable new campaigns and policies, meaning you’ll always be on the ball to build your customer base, keep investors happy, and maximize your potential income. This is one marketing lesson where if Starbucks can do it, you can too. Feel free to ask us how we can help get you started setting up those analytics reports or to help assess your recent business trends anytime; you pick the date, we’ll bring the lattes.]]>

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