Marketing is an essential part of a business strategy that can affect people view about a brand and this essay will duly demonstrate the effectiveness of Starbucks’ marketing strategy, particularly sensory marketing in attracting new young customers. There are numerous marketing techniques in today’s business, different companies use different strategies, in order to sell its products to customers. One of the marketing techniques that became an object of discussion in a few companies is sensory marketing. It is important that companies understand sensory marketing for their business and how it will influence their marketing strategies in attracting new customers. Starbucks is a famous coffee company that has been implementing sensory marketing in their strategies for a few years. This essay will begin by, firstly, describing five senses included in sensory marketing and their relations to customer perception. Secondly, case studies in two Starbucks’ special outlets in creating comfortable ambience will be introduced. Thirdly, we will discuss the importance of customer service, which can create customers experience through their senses. Fourthly, Starbucks online marketing strategy that matches with the evolution of today’s technology. Lastly, we will analyse Starbucks’ sensory marketing strategy with its effectiveness to attracting new young customers.
At the beginning we have to understand sensory marketing, and why it is necessary and how it influences customer perception of a product. Sensory marketing is a technique using five human senses to promote products, which has to be unique, authentic, and people can easily remember your brand (Bhargava, 2008, 208). Five senses which humans have are sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch; these senses can be used for persuading customers to interest its products. The sense of sight is the most seductive senses that humans have and human logic can be persuaded by this sense, therefore it is most widely used by companies in their marketing strategy. The other senses that not less important are taste and smell. These two senses are closely connected, which are very important in food and beverages business, because these senses enable the brain in creating memorable sensation in human minds. The sense of smell can turn-off other senses if customers have bad experience in smell. The last two senses that companies might consider are sense of sound and touch, which can help companies to give more experiences for customer about a product.Therefore, companies can utilise senses for their strategy to maintain customers as well as attracting new customers.
One of the key points of Starbucks’ sensory marketing strategy is the appearance of their outlets that can maintain their customers to have a good perception about the brand as well as attract new customers. Starbucks’ marketing strategy, most of the time, concern customer experience, which involves customer senses through personal value and meaningful connection (Michelli, 2007, 11). The sound of the barista, who is a coffee preparer, working with the coffee machine and the smell of brewed coffee aroma are memorable moments related to our senses and naturally stored in customers memory. This ambience setting made their customers always visit the outlet and create Starbucks’ outlet to be the ‘third place’ between work and home (Michelli, 2007, 103). The new Starbucks’ outlet concept in Central London, which opened in November 2009 can be a case study. The new concept is to provide a comfortable place in order to meet customer expectations including a beautiful environment and a new Starbucks experience Moreover, until 2006 Starbucks had opened four Starbucks ‘Hear Music Coffeehouse’, which are special outlets for its segmented customers (Starbucks, 2006). The main idea is to fulfil customers passion about music, i.e. using the hearing sense to reach customer experience with the Starbucks. Consequently, in every business development, Starbucks always tries to use sensory marketing to be their strategy to attract customers.
Furthermore, other important part of the Starbucks’ sensory marketing strategy is customer services, which led Starbucks to be on the top of customers minds when thinking about places to have coffee, and it is created from customer experience with their senses. When customers enter Starbucks outlets they feel that they have a different experience, everybody feels welcome and regulars are normally recognised by the employees. Moreover, some of Starbucks employees try to remember their names, their jobs, and their favourite drinks (Michelli, 2007, 23). This situation made customers feel that they have a special relationship more than just fulfil their needs to buy a coffee. Starbucks have a service motto named ‘make it on your own.’ This service allows customers to create their own coffee in order to meet their expectation in taste. In food and beverages business, taste and smell are two important parts to be required because different customers have different expectations in their taste and smell. Starbucks carefully considers, understands and delivers this to its customers with customisation in their drinks and provides various sizes of cups. Starbucks has put these strategies into primary strategy by using human senses to meet their needs and expectations.
In recent years, technology has become more necessary and Starbucks follows these needs by providing resources, which can create more experience with their customers through sense of touch, sight, and sound.. Nowadays, we can see people using their smart phones, laptops, iPods, and many other smart devices that connect to the Internet during the day on a regular basis., Since first of July this year, Starbucks in America started to provide free Wi-Fi connection for its customers and launched Starbucks Digital Network content, that give enables its customers to access the premium partners such as iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA today, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo!, and Zagat Meanwhile, the growth of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Foursquare, forced Starbucks to be a part of these communications evolution in using technologies. Moreover, Starbucks has its own website called My Starbucks Idea, which allows their customers to give their idea, opinion about someone’s idea, and join the discussion. These online marketing strategies are still related with their sensory marketing strategy that put together the sense of touch, sight, and sound, in order to meet young customers needs, who might only choose Starbucks to browse the internet, listen to music, or to go on facebook and twitter.
Starbucks sensory marketing strategy has succeeded in maintaining its customers as well as attracting new ones, particularly young generations, and matched with the spirit of company innovation to inspire and support young people. The Starbucks website (2010) states that “their goal is to engage 50,000 young people, who will in turn innovate, take action, and inspire 100,000 individuals in their communities by 2015”; this means that Starbucks combines their strategy with social responsibility, which will be considered as a respectable company amongst the young people. On The Next Web website Noff (2010) discovered that “Starbucks has over 705,000 followers on twitter and over 5,428,000 fans on Facebook. You could say that they are doing something right on the web”, this fact shows that Starbucks has many loyal customers and most of them are the Internet users, especially young people. Starbucks also runs loyalty programs to attract young customers. Therefore, Starbucks sensory marketing strategy is considered as an effective strategy that has strong relationship with senses to attract new customers, particularly young customers with their spirit and innovative characteristics.
In conclusion, this essay has demonstrated the effectiveness of Starbucks’ sensory marketing strategy to attract new young customers by analysing and discussing its relation the five human senses. Starbucks uses the five senses to make memorable experiences for its customers, particularly through their online marketing strategy, which satisfies young customers needs in adapting technology. Today’s technology, such as social media and music content which are mainly used by young people, delivers new experience for customers. In fact, we can see this achievement from the number of fans on their Facebook and followers on Twitter. Starbucks has created emotional connection with its customers, uniqueness in ‘make it on your own’ coffee, and attentive to details in every aspect of the outlet ambience. In comparison to other companies, Starbucks advertising and promotions expense is relatively small, they have always focused their budget on connecting the customers’ experience with the five human senses. The key point of their success in using sensory marketing is applying it consistently for a long period with passion throughout their everyday services. Customer experience is an intangible asset and very valuable, which made the Starbucks brand become a top operator in the coffee business.
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