Running Head: Starbucks Marketing Plan 1
Starbucks Marketing Plan
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Starbucks is an American coffee company based out of Seattle, Washington. Starbucks
has hundreds of store locations across the globe. Primarily they hold the global market share in
retail coffee industry. Each Starbucks location is a little different. Some take place within other
retail outlets, airports, schools, and others have stand-alone store.
The purpose of our research was to observe and collect data concerning what made up the
mass population of Starbucks consumers within the Grand Rapids area. These areas of interest
included: Gas Light Village, 28th Street Woodland Mall, Northland DR. NE, and Knapp Street.
Data was collected by two different methods; observation and questioning. Subjects of
observation included: age and gender of the consumer, what they purchased, and whether they
stayed or left after their purchase. Subjects of questioning came from members of the Starbucks
staff if manager or team leader was not present. Based off a sample size of 300 and four
interviews with Starbuck staff members, our data determined that most Starbucks consumers are
females between the ages of 21-39 that prefer specialty coffees, and leave after making their
purchases. Future research should be focused on how to better serve these group of customers
within their geographical areas.
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Starbucks is a very high product involvement company with the mission statement being,
“to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
(Mission Statement) The market for Starbucks is essentially to all people and every age. But as it
has been shown that there is an overwhelming number of female customers. Although it tries to
be marketed toward everyone, Starbucks still holds an image that it is for those who are very
much aware of social status. Customers who affiliate themselves as ‘Starbucks coffee drinkers’
want their coffee/tea easily accessible and fast. The customers are on the go most of the time and
like the fast environment that Starbucks holds, the grab and go aspect of getting their coffee. On
the other hand, though, there is the consumers that like to take a seat, relax, and even study at
stores while enjoying their favorite cup of coffee/tea.
Starbucks takes pride in their products and services with being one of the top coffee
houses in world. In the sector of products, beverages range from different forms of coffee to teas
and juices. There are even certain Starbucks that have started to carry wine, beer, and spirits in
order attract more customers. Stores hold a multitude of food options from sandwiches to baked
items. Other complementary goods are the mugs, tumblers, and thermoses that are sold to carry
the beverage of choice. When the holidays start to roll around, they start to carry ornaments of
their mugs and other items. All year-round coffee beans and specialty drink mixes are sold, as
well as VIA instant coffee mixture.
The company is a walk-in coffee shop that can be located in malls, grocery stores, or any
other big department store. The stand-alone shops, most of the time, have drive-thru’s that are
convenient for the customers that are in a rush, or just don’t want to get out of the car. There are
now online orders in which a customer can order and pay for their drink over an app and pick it
up already made in the store without waiting in the line.
A couple of years ago Starbucks came out with the ‘Gold Card Reward’ system. This
reward system at first gave the Gold Card members points each time they would swipe or scan
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their rewards card to pay. It didn’t matter how many drinks they paid for, it was the same amount
of points for each swipe. Now it has changed so that the points correlate to the amount of money
being spent. Another way that hooks customers in is by purchasing the one dollar reusable
grandee (medium) hot cup. When it’s reused it ten cents is taken off the drink the customer is
purchasing. It’s part of the efforts to reduce waste.
Starbucks competitive advantage in the market is the customer's patronage. The company
carries a huge advantage having a loyal base of consumers constantly flowing into the doors. A
disadvantage is that there are so many coffee shop chains that are building their own loyal
customers, like Big B and other local coffee shops. Over the years, to keep up with not only the
improvement of the coffee, but also the competitors, Starbucks has raised the prices slightly over
Geographic Heavily Populated Cities and Suburban areas.
Age Children 13-17, Young Adults 18-24, Adults 25-40, Matured 40+
Gender 41% Male and 59% Female
Income Mid to Upper Class, Making 35 - 100k yearly income
Young and single
Single income with no children
Married with children
Occupation (1) The Student:
o Ranging from high school to college students. These
consumers are looking for a place to study, do
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homework, or write papers. They like having the easy
access to their favorite coffee while they work.
(2) The Business Professional:
o These individuals do not have time to spare, and require
fast and effective service. They are more likely to go
through the drive through or use the Starbucks app to get
their coffee fast.
(3) Entry level workers:
o This group of consumers are post college; they hold
minimum wage jobs and require fast and effective
service because of their busy and hectic schedules.
o These individuals are in a hurry due to their busy family
life with young children. They are more likely to grab
their coffee to go, but every now and then will decided to
sit and relax.
o This group is made up of mostly adults 40+. Like the
student, Free Timers are more likely to sit and enjoy
their coffee while doing an activity.
Motives A place to get work done or enjoy some time by yourself or with
a few friends (1,5).
Easy and quick service for those that are always on the run
A quick bolt of energy to get through a long day of a lot of work
Lifestyles Very Busy with no time to waist.
Relaxed and in no rush at all.
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1. Macro-Environmental Analysis (PESTEL):
o Major political issues that Starbucks could face ranges from new laws
concerning labor, government taxation, and possible bans or harsh
regulations on coffee beans. Starbucks remains competitive when it comes
to providing their employees adequate pay and benefits, but currently the
US Food and Drug Association have regulations on coffee products, and
the price of coffee has been rising for members of the World Fair Trade
o From an economic standpoint, Starbucks does face major threats from
other competitors, another possible economic recession, and an increase in
inflation or interest rates. While Starbucks does hold much of the US
market share in the coffee industry, stiff competition from cheaper
alternatives, that also possess a luxury feel, could take Starbucks by
surprise. This could be amplified by another US recession like we had in
o Changes in cultural tastes and social norms also threaten Starbucks. With a
good portion of the US population being more health conscious, and more
into buying local goods, Starbucks would have to try to cater to these
changing demographics by changing their exterior. Starbucks did benefit
from jumping on the green movement in its popularity. But changes in
their products and the presentation of their products must be their next
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o While advancements in technology can be a positive thing, it could
threaten Starbucks public image negatively when it comes to providing
jobs, interacting with customers, and remaining to be environmentally
friendly. Advancements in robotics, while being cost effective, threaten
available jobs opportunities and creating a relationship between
customers. New technologies of how to harvest the coffee could also
interfere with Starbucks mission of going green.
o Other negatives from technological advancement can range from, much
needed capital for R&D, and training employees how to use the new
technology. (Opportunities and Threats)
2. Micro-Environmental Analysis (Porter's 5 Forces):
Threat of New Entrance:
o Because Starbucks holds much of the US market share, the threat of new
players is highly unlikely (Chart#6). It is considered too risky for others to
enter the market based off the knowledge and experience Starbucks has
accumulated over the years.
Threat of Substitute Products:
o Coffee has many different substitutes from tea, hot chocolate, soda, energy
drinks, to juice. Starbucks has combated this by offering these products
within each of their store fronts. This is allowing Starbucks to reach other
consumers, and possibly transition them into purchasing coffee products.
Other threats of substitution would come from pricing wars with other
Bargaining Power of Suppliers:
o Since Starbucks does not own coffee plantations, farmers from Latin
America, East Africa, and the Pacific Rim have massive bargaining power
of their crops. Good relations are kept with these farmers, but Starbucks
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could benefit by buying out a plantation to control their coffee supply to
Bargaining Power of Customers:
o Larger retail stores that sell Starbucks products, or allow Starbucks to
open shops within retail establishments hold a lot of bargaining power.
Stores like Meijer’s and the Woodland Mall bring in a lot of consumers to
buy Starbucks products. The more Starbucks relies on these larger retail
stores to sell and market their products, the more bargaining power is
given. It is important to note that this is an important part of their
businesses success, and is necessary.
3.) SWOT Analysis
The selling and promotion of coffee drinks
and coffee related products
The number of loyal customers; especially
Having that quick grab and go ease to
getting a coffee
The selling of tea, even with the
tea company collaborations
Having people sit and stay after
getting their coffee
People buying their
complementary goods with a drink
“Quiet rooms” being established where
people can concentrate just on
Live music to entice customers to get a
coffee, stay, and enjoy
Redesigning of the store to fill more non-
food complementary goods
Local coffee shops taking their
Raising prices again and having
the consumer number decrease
Cheaper alternatives from larger
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The basis of our market research was to observe four different Starbucks stores within
Grand Rapids, MI, and find: the age and gender of the consumer, what products they purchased,
and if they left or stayed after their purchase. Additional information about the number of
purchases per day, popular menu items, and consumer demographics were also collected from
store management or shift leads through interviews.
Based off a sample size of three hundred people, our findings suggest that females
represent 59% of Starbucks consumers (Chart#2). Out of that 59%, over 45% of the female
consumers were between the age of ten to thirty-nine, and 40% were forty and older
(Chart#4). Over one-hundred and four females between the age of ten to thirty-nine purchased
specialty drinks, while over twenty-three females between the ages of forty and above preferred
to purchase coffee (Chart#5). Females between the age of ten to thirty-nine were also more likely
to buy complementary goods and stay after their purchase (Chart#5).
Males represented 41% of Starbucks consumers, with 22% between the age forty and
above, and 19% between the age of ten to thirty-nine (Charts#2,4). Males in both age segments
preferred coffee in comparison to specialty drinks or tea, and were less likely to buy
complementary goods and stay after their purchase (Chart#5).
Depending on whether the Starbucks has a drive-thru window, the average number of
customers each day range from six-hundred to over a thousand (Starbucks Interview).
Management described their consumer demographics as being mostly female, but depending on
the location the exact age can vary.
Based off the data collected from the field and outside sources, there is limited risk from
Starbucks being in the coffee market. To continue their success, Starbucks needs to find a way to
expand their fast service, and they need to make it more appealing for people to stay longer in
their stores. In our interview with Starbucks manager, Sean from Rockford, on average he serves
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over a thousand people a day because of their drive-thru window. During our time at the
Rockford Starbucks we noticed that if the line in the drive-thru was not moving fast enough,
customers would leave. To remain more competitive, we suggest having double drive-thru’s to
reach more people. On the other hand, a good portion of their customers are high school or
college students. These consumers also stay the longest and are more likely to buy
complementary goods. We would recommend having larger Starbuck stores with study rooms to
cater to these consumers.
As for growing, we want to see more stores popping up. Bringing more stores into highly
populated cities and areas where the workforce is high, will bring great revenue to the company.
With opening more stores/kiosks in college towns and on campuses will further the growth for
the company. Considering setting up shop near higher populated high schools, especially those
with open lunch hours, will bring in the students before and after school, as well as having them
there during the lunch hours. Starbucks needs to continue in the process of selling coffee
beans/grounds and VIA packets in grocery markets all around, to keep the name fresh in
everyone's mind and home.
1. Being more environmentally friendly by reducing waste by using compostable cups. We
hope to reduce our waste by 70%.
2. Increase our customer turnover rate by adding double arch drive-thrus, utilization of
space to maximize revenue per square foot. We hope to increase our customer turnover
rate by 20%, and increase our revenue by 1.5%.
3. Increase Starbuck public recognition through the new campaign “There for Life's Big
Moments”. This campaign will create a type of nostalgia for all consumer demographics.
We are hoping this campaign will increase our brand present by 3%.
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A.) Product Strategy: Starbucks attracts people that are aware of social status. Having a
Starbucks product is something that makes people feel like they’re in a higher class.
Starbucks have several products that include coffee, tea, pastries, Frappuccino’s,
smoothies, merchandise, baked goods, and select sandwiches. While we do not believe
that adding products is necessary we do believe that there are some products that could be
used more efficiently. For example, we wish to add a tumbler that will let people come in
and get free coffee. We believe that this allows the company to cut back cost. Every time
we sell a coffee we must pay for the cup, lid, and sometimes a straw. With these
tumblers, we cut those costs, and incentivize more people to come into their local
Starbucks, to fill up their favorite tumbler.
B.) Pricing Strategy: Starbucks employs a value based pricing strategy. A value based
pricing strategy means that they don’t use margins to determine their price. Starbucks
realizes that they don’t attract people that care about the price of their coffees. Meaning
that they attract people that see their product as an affordable luxury. Because these
customers aren’t worried about the pricing of these products, Starbucks can afford to
raise their prices incrementally. When Starbucks raises their average cost of product by as
little as 1% the company can increase profits by 11%. Because of this, we want to ensure
that Starbucks continues to prosper. We plan to increase prices for our “Tall” (Small)
product. We will implement a 1% price hike each year for the next three years to ensure
that our profits continue to be healthy.
Using data from our observational study, we have found that Starbucks needs to
improve their profit per square foot in each store. Because of this, we plan to implement a
new merchandising strategy where we have products available for people to purchase.
This will increase our overall profit for the company. And it will also put some of our
extra space into good use.
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C.) Promotional Strategy: Because Starbucks has such a loyal, and trusting target market,
we do not believe that we should run to many specials that lower our prices. In our
opinion, if we run to many promotions that lower our cost it might hurt the value of our
brand. Instead, we believe that our promotions should be more about giving back to the
Our first major promotion will be “Saving the Planet, one Cup at a Time”. This
will be a promotion that works like a campaign. We will make our cups compostable, and
write the slogan on the bottom of each cup. We believe that the Starbucks cup is meant to
be simple, therefore we have chosen to put the slogan on the bottom of the cup. Along
with the slogan, we will have a fact about the impact composting can make.
Our second major promotion will be all about major life events and how Starbucks helps
along the way. We plan to launch commercials that show people going through their life.
Visually showing the ups and the downs, all the while not mentioning our coffee but just
associating Starbucks with life events and showing that we stick with people throughout
their major life events.
D.) Placement: Starbucks distribution is world renowned for being revolutionary.
Starbucks has created their hubs around where their products are made. This makes it so
that Starbucks doesn’t have to pay for transportation from their production to these hubs
that are the shipping centers. Because Starbucks has been so successful in this area, we
believe that changing something would be counter intuitive due to their proven track
record with the way things are now.
Marketing Dynamics Summary
Overall, our marketing strategy is based upon keeping our brands value high. We don’t believe
in lowering our prices, we believe in moving the money we do make into areas that can help
others. This strategy allows us to have promotions, without devaluing our brand. We also
decided to introduce a yearlong tumbler that allows people to get free coffee. This will cut down
on our fixed cost for the cups, and help attract customers to the stores. There are risks associated
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with our plans. The tumbler is something that we believe will be very beneficial for Starbucks.
However, when you introduce a new product like that you never know how the market will take
it. We believe that our profit margins on this product balance itself out enough to justify the risk.
There is also a risk that is associated with changing our cups to be compostable. The price of the
cups will go up slightly, meaning that the prices will once again slightly increase. As we have
said numerous times, we don’t believe that price hikes will affect Starbucks in a negative manor.
However, you never know when the market will have the next big thing, and when the prices
will not be sustainable. So, because of that, we believe that there is minimal risk associated with
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Intelligently, P. (n.d.). How Starbucks Uses Pricing Strategy for Profit Maximization. Retrieved
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Mission Statement. (n.d.). Retrieved December 11, 2016, from
Opportunities and Threats - Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2016,
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) Pitch. (2015). Retrieved December 12, 2016, from https://10-
Starbucks Interview [Personal interview]. (n.d.).