How Do Starbucks Market Their Products? A Human-Centric Strategy

Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee brands in the world, so how do Starbucks market their products? Let’s explore their human-centric marketing approach.

How do Starbucks market their products?
Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee brands in the world

From humble beginnings in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, Starbucks has become one of the most recognizable coffee chains not only in the US but also in the world. Starbucks has developed a huge community of loyal fans, bringing them $32.3 billion in revenue by the end of 2022. So, how do Starbucks market their products to be as successful as they are? 

In order to market its products and achieve such a fruitful result, Starbucks has to keep its taste consistent across the locations using high-quality coffee. They also stay ahead of the curve with technological advancements and tap into the benefits of user-generated content to keep the fans engaged with popular beverages on social media. All the while, they keep their stores pleasant and welcoming.

A Glimpse Into Starbucks Products

Beyond the coffee boundary, Starbucks offers a wide range of beverages and food options. Its breakfast line includes scrumptious sandwiches, wraps, bagels, pastries, oats, muffins, and more. Meanwhile, the snack collection will have you in awe with its wide array of cakes and cookies, as well as doughnuts, chocolate, and fresh fruit.

On top of that, Starbucks has developed a huge collection of more than 40 drinks on its ever-changing menu. Festive drinks are constantly introduced beside pillar products such as espresso drinks, filter coffee, bottled soft drinks, refreshers, cold brew, and frappuccino blends. 

Those customers seeking a fresh and aromatic brew at home can check out Starbucks’s expertly roasted coffee and premium teas. You can also find memorabilia like branded reusable coffee cups.

From The Fans, For The Fans

Starbucks’s excellent quality is undeniable. The brand centers its business strategy around product differentiation to stand out from the market, and customers are willing to pay premium prices for high quality.

Starbucks’s R&D Department knows one thing for sure: prioritizing customers’ desires is the best way to build loyalty.

For that reason, the brand keeps introducing unique and fan-favorite beverages. Other than its popular flagships, Starbucks also develops seasonal, fun, and creative drinks and blends to delight customers’ taste buds and get them talking about it.

As everything is online nowadays, Starbucks realized that it was time to tap into this massive potential market. One of their most successful social media strategies is creating social accounts for customers’ favorites, the Pumpkin Spiced Latte and Frappuccino. These effective channels allow them to come up with relevant and relatable memes for the audience.

Starbucks frappucino and a mug on a wooden table
One of their customers’ favorites is Frappuccino

Other than that, Starbuck’s Marketing Department gets a drip of user-generated content. This is brand-specific content created by customers. It can be a video, a post, or an image that is selected to be re-shared via the official channels.

Tweets and highly shared images about its best sellers, such as the Unicorn Frappuccino, were part of influencer campaigns. If you love Starbucks, check out our round-up of the best Starbucks drinks and the strongest Starbucks drinks

Pure Coffee Aroma

Inspired by the roast techniques and business model of Peet’s Coffee, a pioneer in the US’s specialty coffee industry, Starbucks soon established its vision to be a premium coffee roaster. Steering clear from low-quality, watered-down coffee products, the brand stays true to excellent and high-quality roasts only.

In any location, Starbucks employees are requested to avoid wearing strong perfumes during their shifts. This is because the fragrances outshine the authentic coffee aroma inside the store.

Unbeatable Product Consistency

With more than 32,000 stores in 80 countries, maintaining consistent quality is a challenging task. What can they do to keep their offerings and products identical in every location?

We all know that different regions produce different varietals. Coffees grown at low altitudes are different from those grown at higher altitudes. It goes the same way for climate, processing methods, varietals, shipping procedures, and freshness.

Since Starbucks is a global coffee chain, it’s almost impossible for them to stick to a small batch of coffee from a single farm in a certain region. For that reason, Starbucks develops a range of house blends using multiple coffees.

The secret behind the blends is to give Starbucks the ability to get a consistent taste. They set standards that include a particular time, temperature, and roast curve that produce similar flavor, aroma compounds, and gasses.

Other than that, the water they use also comes from a complete reverse osmosis water treatment system. It injects minerals back into the inert RO water to make sure the water is the same everywhere.

When it comes to brewing, Starbucks also sets up the same equipment, methods, temperatures, and recipes in each store.  Employees from all Starbucks locations must adhere to these standards.

A Technology-Driven Tactic To Build A Strong Brand Identity

With the rising demand for everything online-related, Starbucks soon realized the importance of being a distinguished mobile pioneer in the coffee industry. With the booming scene of smartphones, Starbucks decided to launch its own mobile app as early as 2009. Two years later, the company shocked the world with an in-app payment feature. 

A woman holds iPhone 12 showing Starbucks logo on screen
Starbucks decided to launch its own mobile app

Not until 2014 did Starbucks once again go ahead of the crowd by creating Order, Pick-Up, And Delivery Options, letting people customize their products at their fingertips. You can customize your order just how you like it and find the store location that’s best for you without wait time or queues getting in the way. Thanks to those cutting-edge technology tactics, effortless convenience is taken to a whole new level so customers can enjoy Starbucks products to their hearts’ content.

Knowing that each customer is a unique individual, Starbucks’s digital technology connects customers to their products through personalization. The app began collecting customer preferences and purchasing behaviors, putting them into a database, and from there, introducing personalized offers to individuals. By tapping into the experience of people and the preservation of the human spirit, Starbucks products have become even more popular and beloved by those who appreciate small personalized touches.

how do starbucks market their products through Human Connection

People and the human spirit are utilized by everyone working at Starbucks. As soon as you cross its threshold, the inviting atmosphere appears thanks to the warm-hearted and friendly staff.

More than just a smile, you can smell the cinnamon spice, hear the enchanting background music, or see your name written on the cup. The overall ambiance makes you feel extremely at ease, no matter if you’re hanging with your friends, writing on your laptop, or reading a book. For that reason, the way Starbucks markets its products also focuses on the services and people rather than just coffee or a few slices of pastry.


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing about everything drinks-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea. Find Oanh on LinkedIn.