The 5 R’s of Starbucks Relationship Marketing
It’s no secret that I like Starbucks coffee. I enjoy the coffee, and as a marketer I appreciate their approach to relationship marketing. Recently I received an email with an attention-grabbing offer. I was enjoying some delicious home brewed Sumatra blend when an interesting email arrived from Starbucks.
In this post, I’ll share that email and five important best practices with you. First I’ll share the five R’s, because I know you are really curious, then I’ll explain how they apply to this email.
- Recognize – an email inbox is typically a very busy and crowded space so your subject line, and from line have to work in tandem to draw attention. In addition, status or relationship is important you’ll see that at work below.
- Relevant Offer – All too often marketers have tried-and-true offers; there is certainly nothing wrong with using what works. But think about the customer experience; what kind of offers will be useful? This may require some experimentation.
- Reveal – I mentioned earlier that inboxes are crowded and attention spans are short. The creative has to quickly communicate the message and the offer; use images, color, and text to do the heavy lifting.
- Redeem – A clear and relevant offer will be worthless if the recipient doesn’t know how to take advantage of it. Here is a hint: offer several options that allow customers to choose what is most convenient for them.
- Reward – This may seem a bit obvious but…. Sometimes a little incentive goes a long way.
Starbucks Multi-channel Marketing
Okay, so how does the Starbucks piece I receive rate at Revealing? I’ll let you be the judge.
I have three options for viewing the email from Starbucks based on my location and the device I happen to be using at the time. Here is how the initial email renders:
Starbucks Marketing on the iphone
Starbucks Marketing on my iPad
Starbucks Marketing on my Macbook Pro
I access the email from all three devices depending on where I am and what I am doing. Often I’ll catch up on email from my phone when I am waiting on someone or doing some other activity. Typically I may read the email at my desk but then access it again when I go into a Starbucks location.
Here’s the point: communications have to designed and created with a mobility mindset. The message must be clear and compelling, irrespective of screen size. One can argue that “BOGO” may not be commonly understood (it means buy one get one); however I think most consumers are familiar with the term.
Starbucks Relationship Marketing and the Other 4 R’s
- Recognize – Now let’s take a closer look at the creative. Although I already mentioned recognition, the email quickly communicates this is an offer that is exclusive for members. The black and gold highlight colors are consistent with the rewards program brand. The headline and the large image both quickly communicate the offer. There is a lot of information in a very small space. Free is always compelling, there are limits to the offer; I can only use it once and it expires July 16th.
- Relevant offer – most of us have friends we would like to take to lunch. This is a clever offer that potentially introduces new people to the Starbucks experience. Oh, and there is a good chance my friend will want something else like a drink or other food item, so there is incremental revenue potential for Starbucks.
- Reveal – The creative uses imagery and text to communicate the value proposition of the offer, and important details of the offer are in close proximity.
- Redeem – I can choose to print out the email or I can show the email on my device. What is really important is the attention to detail. The offer code is embedded so I don’t have to educate the barista; the email is instructive for Starbuck’s staff. This attention to detail increases the odds my experience in the store will be a pleasant one. Keep in mind, this may be my friend’s first Starbucks experience and if not, they are my guest, so I have a vested interest in a good experience.
- Reward – I am a gold card member and I like redeeming the gold stars for free drinks. I see that I am earning stars if I take advantage of this offer and I can sign in and check on the status of my rewards.
Before we leave the creative, notice the bottom of the email offers a link to the My Starbucks Idea site where I can suggest ideas. Starbucks is using crowd sourcing to innovate.
Starbuck’s has cleverly baked sharing right into the offer. Without overtly shouting or begging they have simply said “Hey, would you like to take a friend to lunch?”
Creating the Starbucks Profile
I haven’t given Starbucks a lot of personal information. In an era when we make a lot of big data, this communications requires very little personal information. The important takeaway is relationship marketing can be relevant if one focuses on the user experience and uses some imagination.
This is not so say that data isn’t important, it is. What’s important is the customer experience. And the important best practice….only collect the data you plan to use.
Starbucks Multi-Channel Marketing
As you can see from this example:
- Multi-channel marketing doesn’t have to be complex
- Attention to detail is important
- Thinking of all stakeholders can improve the customer experience
- There is more than one way to get customers to share
- Focusing on the consumer experience can increase a marketer’s options
What have I missed?