A Rant about Starbuck’s “Strategies”

22 04 2009

From Eryn Tehan

Assessment of the Marketing Situation

Starbuck’s has lost their train of thought when it comes to marketing and is overwhelmed with a multitude of strategies that are confusing to its audience. They have essentially tried to target too many people at once and they are scrambling to keep up with the empire they have built. It’s growing so fast that the company is having trouble spotting the mistakes that they are making during this growth. With stocks starting to fall, the business now understands they have some serious reconstruction to do. They started targeting health nuts with the new Vivanno, and then added other “healthy pastries” to the mix. Now they’re promoting their teas? They’re shooting blindly in the dark because they don’t know who their audience is. Sad, but true. Don’t get me wrong, Its great they’re targeting new customers, but the problem is, they’re targeting too many of them and they’ve forgotten they’re original consumers; passionate coffee drinkers.
Another problem is Starkbuck’s is being bombarded with competitors and is struggling with competing. I don’t think they imagined anyone could compete with them, a dangerous and foolish assumption. What makes it worse is Starkbuck’s is diminishing its brand identity as a company dedicated to costumer experience. They have become materialistic instead of personable and this is injuring their business. To dampen personable service with baristas further, Starbucks now has drive through shops that are obstructing their image to look and feel like a fast-food chain.
Now fast food chains are thinking, “Why can’t we be like Starbucks, if they want to be like us?” This opens up doors to major competitors like McDonalds who has already started wounding Starkbucks during its most vulnerable state with the introduction of McCafe. Actual McCafes are being set up and designed to look like coffee shops on the East coast, and McDonalds is running trials of their new products at chain restaurants. Starbucks is also setting up shop in stores like Target and Safeway, but these stores fail to accommodate the Starbucks atmosphere, or mentality and do not meet barista training qualifications.
Since the Starbucks reputation has been around so long, the business is starting to take it for granted and seems to rely more on consumer and brand loyalty for success than the quality of its product and coffee houses. Out with original brewing machines, friendly baristas and fresh espresso. In with automatic machines, old beans and baristas that duck and cover, hiding from customers.

Assessment of Starbucks Strategy

Starbucks is trying to go back to an old, more authentic Italian look instead of the “cookie cutter” business design image. They are moving more toward the position of quality before quantity, a concept they were loosing before realizing their mistakes. The business wants to reestablish the atmosphere people used to feel cozy and comfortable in and are now taking on major fast food competitors with this new perception of business.

Suggestions:
• Redesign their coffee houses and start going back to making fresher coffee
• No more lightly stained wood chairs. Couches and plush chairs are comfortable, relaxing and inviting.
• Get rid of the drive through windows!
• Get rid of flavor seal containers that stores coffee for too long in a package, get fresh beans and grind them in the morning before the store opens so its fresh.
• Give away a free chocolate covered bean or cookie with every coffee
• Put the tall machines on the opposite wall so baristas aren’t hiding behind the tall counter and avoid customers
If I was a Starbucks Competitor…

I would charge less for better coffee and use the idea of a relaxing, cozy environment to keep customers around. Flavored coffee drinks are expensive, almost as much as an entire meal. Though customers pay outrageous prices at Starbucks, the minute someone else offers their favorite drinks at a lower price, customers won’t put up with it anymore, especially if competitors brought back the real machines and personable baristas of the past.

Here’s a link the Tea Advertisements
http://blogs.pitch.com/fatcity/starbucks-tea-latte.jpg

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One response

28 04 2009
Allie Reynolds

As a previous Starbucks employee for four years I agree with some of your opinions. However, I feel the need to clear a couple things up. Starbucks has always been about consistency. They want customers to be able to order the same drink anywhere in the country and it will taste the same. The “third place” is also something that they have strived for. I agree that the drive-thru has taken that away but those stores seem to be doing very well, especially in larger cities. The coffee is ground fresh every morning and often in the afternoon as well and machines have gotten a lot shorter. Starbucks needs to stick with their consistency strategy while targeting their core customer, the business person who comes in every morning at the same time. I agree they have cleaning up to do but I think they’re starting to get on the right track. As far as the teas go, they’re very good.

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