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The Marketing Genius Behind #StarbucksWeddings

Via Inc. : See how the leading coffee retailer managed to capture opportunity by paying attention to its customers’ more unusual social behaviors.

Americans love Starbucks, but now the U.S. coffee giant is helping them love one another.

Here is an example of a smart retailer that used social listening to identify a trend around how its customers are using its business. To date, over 100 bedecked brides and grooms have made pit stops at their local Starbucks for photo ops (see hashtag: #StarbucksWeddings) and cake pops. The trend, like the coffee chain’s Yukon Blend, is 100 percent organic.

“We are always delighted to hear how our customers are using our stores to share important life moments, big and small,” says Starbucks CMO Sharon Rothstein.

 starbucks secret menu

Now, Starbucks will host “The World’s Largest Starbucks Date” in stores on February 13, featuring a special pairings menu and other in-store experiences. The coffee retailer has entered into a relationship with online dating service Match.com to enable amorous coffee fans to meet up IRL at a mutually convenient Starbucks.

“We have seen some customers share their stories of how they’ve incorporated Starbucks into their weddings–whether they had their first date, were engaged or married in a Starbucks store, stopped by for a few wedding or engagement photos, or otherwise included Starbucks in their big day,” says Rothstein.

Should your Starbucks-Match date be as hot as your Triple Venti Half-Sweet Nonfat Caramel Macchiato, you can be chauffeured to some place a bit more private thanks to another Starbucks partnership with Uber.

“We’re honored that we have played such an important role in our customers’ lives, and are touched whenever they choose to incorporate us in the most special of occasions,” adds Rothstein.

If things work out, you can guess where they’ll celebrate the big day.

In the end, you can’t make viral happen. But if you listen, you can get ahead of a viral trend and ride the wave. Here are three takeaways from the coffee company’s heartening strategy:

1. Social listening: Monitor social channels for organic trends. How are your customers using your business? You may find a problem or a trend. ID it and respond.
2. Seasonal opportunities: Think about weather, seasons, quarterly reports, etc.
3. Partner activation: Identify potential partners to co-celebrate or co-solve.

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