Starbucks Corporation’s Marketing Evaluation

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Daily, Starbucks offers coffee to customers in over 80 markets. Back in the ’80s of the 20 century, the company was a little store in Seattle. Now, the Starbucks coffee shops deliver the beverage in the airports, malls, across the city centers, and wherever it is possible. A company’s success is built on its marketing strategies and values. In this paper, the Starbucks marketing approach and its components will be contemplated.

The Starbucks Company Evaluation

The Level of Involvement

Typically, the Starbucks brand is considered a high-quality coffee shop for those willing to hold a meeting in a peaceful and serene atmosphere, with a cup of coffee in their hands. The level of involvement varies by a consumer; however, in this case, it is relatively high. Unlike the low-involvement decisions, the high-involvement ones hold a risk to a customer, so the consumer needs more time to think about the purchase. Now, the Starbucks prices are slightly higher than those of the competitors, which constitutes a risk for the customer if the quality of a product or a taste does not appear satisfactory after the purchase. With Starbucks worldwide recognition, the brand may rely on the routine response behavior – the customers in most countries have already experienced its taste and quality and may be willing to seek the brand again.

Customer Decision-Making Process

Like those buying a car, a customer who purchases a coffee is also involved in the decision-making process. To meet a colleague for a work discussion, a friend working on the same project, or to have a break may be the first phase of the process – the need recognition. Having experienced the Starbucks product before or, at least, having heard of it, the consumer may take less time to complete the second stage – the information search. Evaluation pf alternatives – the third phase – includes a criterion that is important to a customer. It may be the quality of a product, its image, taste, or a place it is being served at since the coffee culture also implies enjoying the moment while slowly sipping a favorite beverage. The typical Starbucks consumer may choose the coffee shop over the others due to the high quality of all the values mentioned above. The purchase and post-purchase phases are elaborated wisely – the brand possesses many affiliates and offers diverse programs.

The Influence of the Marketing Team

The marketing team of the brand can make decision-making phases easier. First, the marketers may accelerate the need recognition; in other words, impose a necessity to buy a coffee. To achieve that, the team may promote the product via Instagram, Telegram, Facebook accounts, or participate in various ecological campaigns to promote its label to as many places as possible. The more a customer can see it, the higher the chance of purchasing the company’s product. The information search phase may be simplified significantly by brand expansion. Here, the algorithm is the same – the label’s exposure to the target market facilitates the search and ensures the consumer’s choice.

Then, the marketing team may also influence the evaluation phase. To motivate the customer to buy their product, they may highlight a value that is important to the customer – whether it is high-quality beans, low-calorie appetizers, skim milk, or recycled paper used for the cup. The purchase process is simplified in the coffee shop – any customer may pay with the card or cash, and due to the vast number of affiliates in cities, the queues can never be a problem. The post-purchase phase is handled wisely in the company. The company offers a wide discount and reward system for the customers to motivate them to seek the company’s product.

The Decision-Making Roles Evaluation

The decision-making roles while purchasing and using a product are Initiator, Influencer, Decider, Buyer, and User. While an initiator and a buyer may be the same person, an influencer might be a friend or a society as a whole. An image of the brand may positively affect the consumer’s ego by offering a widely recognizable label on the cup (Haskova, 2015). With this in mind, a buyer makes a deal with the company. Therefore, the role of the decider may also be shifted to the society or a community a person is surrounded by. In the digitalized society, with the media and rumors spanning across the globe, the role of influencer may be the most important one. The impression, opinion, or view is formed by the public’s opinion held on social media. All three elements form one’s opinion and influence their decision to purchase a product.

The Starbucks Marketing Strategy

Among different marketing strategies, the Starbucks company adheres to the differentiated one. This strategy implies targeting diverse market segments with the campaigns designed to meet these segments’ needs and requirements. The company appeals to wealthy, demanding adult consumers, by offering high-quality, healthy beverages, and a space to hold a meeting or to work in private (Haskova, 2015). The brand also appeals to young customers by providing a variety of syrups and types of coffee. The salads and bakery are cooked with no corn syrup for the consumers who care about their health. The company also claims to use 10% recycled paper and offers 10% discounts for the beverage in the customer’s cup, appealing to the environmentally aware segment.

The Assessment of the Segmentation Performance

While creating market segments, no company should make an error. Although some certain variables may be difficult to measure, the Starbucks company wisely evaluates the size, profiles, and purchasing power of its customer segments. The latter consists of a wealthy adult population, young customers that care about the environment and their health. The segment, then, is accessed via media sources – Instagram advertisement, articles circling on the Internet, outdoor advertising. The company has also created and promoted its application, with the notifications about its novelties and campaigns.

In the modern world, the middle class with an approximately equal degree of welfare is rather extended. Therefore, it constitutes a substantial segment for the company – the adult population, along with their children, can enjoy its product everywhere. Finally, with over 102 billion dollars of market capitalization and over 291 thousand of employees, the Starbucks company can offer a delivery of all necessary services and programs created. Equipment, employees, application design and promotion, commodity, or coffee plantations activity are among them.

The Value of Starbucks Brand Image

Value is the most powerful asset when building a successful business. Before the Starbucks company was established, Schultz, Starbucks chairman, conceived it as the place for a conversation and a sense of community. He wanted the coffee shop to be a place for people to meet, chat, or even work. Exponentially evolving, the world needs new opportunities to communicate and share. The sense of community is a basic psychological human need, and a value one strives for. Today, the brand image is perceived exactly the way it was intended. Customers find the coffee shops the places to spend time together, work on the new projects, and share their time and ideas. The cup of coffee with a green label on it is seen as a trustworthy and high-quality product.

The Key Criteria for Starbucks Successful Positioning

Brand positioning is one of the keys to a company’s success. It refers to the customer’s loyalty, brand equity, and the willingness to purchase its product. To achieve consumer loyalty, a brand must be favorable, credible, and different from the ones of the competitors. The successful positioning of Starbucks consists of its product, name, visual identity, communication strategy, and price (Haskova, 2015). The company claims to assume ecological and social responsibility in coffee plantations functioning and, therefore, provide a customer with a high-quality product. The company’s name is simple and captivating, making it easy to pronounce and memorize, even unconsciously. The visual aspect of the brand is clear and vivid – the green label on the white background – which captures the image in one’s memory. Having focused the communication within the well-designed place and an application, the company made the customers instantly recognize the brand. Relatively high prices emphasize the quality of the product and form the target market.

Starbucks, a worldwide known coffee shop company, was once a little store in Seattle. Today, with a wise marketing approach and deep understanding and further promotion of its most significant value – a sense of community – the company constitutes one of the industry leaders. A thoughtful and wise approach to the segmentation, customer decision-making process, and promotion offline and online make the green label recognizable across the world.


Haskova, K. (2015). Starbucks Marketing Analysis. CRIS – Bulletin of the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary Study, 1(1), 11-29. doi: 10.1515/cris-2015-0002.

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