Starbucks Coffee’s Marketing Mix (4Ps) Analysis

Starbucks Coffee Company marketing mix, 4Ps, product, place, promotion, price, case study and analysis
A Starbucks café in Warsaw, Poland. Starbucks Coffee’s marketing mix (4Ps) equally emphasizes product, place, promotion and price to support the company’s brand image and competitive advantage. (Photo: Public Domain)

Starbucks Coffee Company’s marketing mix (4Ps) supports the company’s industry position as the leading coffeehouse chain in the world. The marketing mix identifies the main components of the firm’s marketing plan. Starbucks uses its marketing mix as a way of developing its brand image and popularity. With the strongest brand in the industry, the company shows how an effective marketing mix supports brand development and business growth. Starbucks also changes its marketing mix over time, thereby emphasizing the need for the business to evolve its various aspects to maintain competitiveness.

Starbucks Coffee’s marketing mix (4Ps) indicates the importance of this marketing tool as a way of ensuring that the firm promotes the right products at the right prices and places.

Starbucks Coffee’s Products

Starbucks continues to innovate its product mix to capture more of the market. This component of the marketing mix focuses on what the business offers to customers. At present, the following are the main categories of Starbucks products:

  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Pastries
  4. Frappuccino beverages
  5. Smoothies
  6. Merchandise (mugs, instant coffee, etc.)

This product mix is a result of years of business innovation. For instance, Starbucks added the Frappuccino line after it acquired The Coffee Connection in 1994. The company also has an ongoing product innovation process that aims to offer new products to attract and keep more customers. Thus, this part of Starbucks’ marketing mix involves beverages, food, and merchandise.

Place in Starbucks Coffee’s Marketing Mix

The company offers most of its products through Starbucks cafés. This component of the marketing mix determines the venues at which customers can access the products. In Starbucks Coffee’s case, the following are the main places used for the distribution of products:

  1. Cafés
  2. Online Store
  3. Starbucks App
  4. Retailers

Originally, the firm sold its products through Starbucks cafés. Through the Internet, the company now offers some of its products through the online Starbucks Store. Also, the firm now sells some merchandise through retailers. In addition, the company uses the Starbucks App to allow customers to place their orders. This part of Starbucks’ marketing mix shows how the firm adapts to changing times, technologies, and market conditions.

Starbucks Coffee’s Promotions

Starbucks promotes its products mainly through advertising. This component of the marketing mix refers to the communication strategies used to disseminate information about the firm and its products. Starbucks’ promotional mix is as follows:

  1. Advertising
  2. Public relations
  3. Sales promotions

The company advertises its products through television, print media and the Internet. The company infrequently uses public relations, which has not always been successful for the business. For example, Starbucks’ Race Together public relations campaign was widely criticized. In addition, the firm uses sales promotions, such as the Starbucks Card that customers can use to get freebies. This part of Starbucks’ marketing mix shows the core significance of advertising, and the supporting roles of public relations and sales promotions for the company.

Starbucks Coffee’s Prices and Pricing Strategy

Starbucks uses a premium pricing strategy. This pricing strategy takes advantage of the behavioral tendency of people to purchase more expensive products on the basis of the perceived correlation between high price and high value. The company’s coffee products are more expensive than most competing products, such as McDonald’s Premium Roast. Through this pricing strategy, the company maintains its high-end specialty image. This part of Starbucks Coffee’s marketing mix directly relates with the firm’s generic strategy, thereby helping the business maintain its premium brand image.

References
  • A Letter from Howard Schultz to Starbucks Partners Regarding Race Together.
  • Hanssens, D. M., Pauwels, K. H., Srinivasan, S., Vanhuele, M., & Yildirim, G. (2014). Consumer attitude metrics for guiding marketing mix decisions. Marketing Science33(4), 534-550.
  • My Starbucks Rewards.
  • Rahmani, K., Emamisaleh, K., & Yadegari, R. (2015). Quality Function Deployment and New Product Development with a focus on Marketing Mix 4P model. Asian Journal of Research in Marketing4(2), 98-108.
  • Starbucks Store.
  • Van Waterschoot, W., & Van den Bulte, C. (1992). The 4P classification of the marketing mix revisited. The Journal of Marketing, 83-93.
  • Yun-sheng, W. (2001). Perfection and innovation of 4P Marketing Mix – How to evaluate 4P Marketing Mix. Commercial Research5, 6.
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