Starbucks Case Study Strategic Management


Starbucks is the biggest retailer of coffee in America today. It was started in 1971 in the Seatlle Pike market as a single store selling whole coffee. In 1982, John Baldwin, Zev siege and Gordon Bowker opened five more joints in Seattle Pike and started wholesaling coffee to the local restaurants. Later in 1992, Starbucks sold most of its shares to the public consequently amassing a huge clientele.

The company had finally gotten the much recognition it deserved in the country. It went from a five-store company to literally owning all the coffee shops in North America. From 1987 to 2002, Starbucks moved from a mere 17 stores to over 2000 stores in America. Besides the stores, Starbucks had as many as 60,000 employees all over the country (Misonzhnik, 2011). Today, Starbucks is the biggest retailer of coffee in America with over 7000 stores.

Marketing Strategies

Social Media

Starbucks is one of the companies that embraces social media as a marketing tool. Their social media strategy is hedged around the company’s website and other social media platforms like; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, My Starbucks Ideas among others (Misonzhnik, 2011).

Customer relationships

Unlike other companies that focus on increasing their clientele, Starbucks’ strategy is to cultivate its relationships with existing clients. The company ensures that customers are given an experience to remember as well as continuous online engagements. This strategy ensures that customers keep coming back besides becoming good ambassadors for the company.

Adaptation and innovation

Starbucks business crowdsourcing via its website is phenomenal. Over the years, Starbucks has endeavored to integrate several marketing strategies to increase its customer base. To begin with, the company conducts extensive market research to establish the perfect brand of coffee. A lot of money and time is spent in scientific researches. Furthermore, Starbucks embrace of the digital era is admirable. Starbucks ranks highly in all the different social sites as compared to their perennial nemesis MacDonald’s. In addition, Starbucks has a knack of being flexible with the changing economic situations. During the recession in 2008, Starbucks reduced its prices drastically in order to retain its client base (O’Farrell, 2013).


Starbucks tries to utilize the different marketing platforms available. They have an active presence in web 2.0 platforms, TV adverts, and email marketing. Furthermore, Starbucks holds various contests among its customers as a way of rewarding them. Among these contests is the coffee bag contest, which is very popular with customers. Another promotional platform that is used by the company is the “Daily Deal” site Group. This helps in disseminating information to customers on the affordable deals (Misonzhnik, 2011).


Other than coffee making coffee, Starbucks also tries to diversify its product line. Their latest acquisition of Tazo Tea is an example of a new product that has received good reception from customers. This has allowed them to offer tea in their menu giving customers a variety of beverages to choose from. In addition, Starbucks pushes its employees to provide customers with exceptional services. This includes remaking coffee for customers who feel that their coffee was not high quality (O’Farrell, 2013).


Starbucks is the picture of success in the coffee market. Over a few years, it has managed to take over the urban landscape more than any other company in recent times. It is estimated than Starbucks controls 33% of the coffee market in America. The expansion continues throughout the world with an estimated 18000 stores across Asia. With its superior marketing strategies, it is correct to conclude that Starbucks is a force to reckon with in the coffee market.


Misonzhnik, E. (2011). Starbucks Recaptures its Position at the Head of the U.S. Coffee Market. Web.

O’Farrell, R. (2013). Who is Starbucks’ Target Audience? Web.

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