Starbucks is the Grande Caffe Mocha of Permission Marketing
By Lisa Ciangiulli, Optism Team, Aug 3, 2012
Starbucks has been one of the most innovative companies when it comes to mobile and permission marketing with their use of SMS, mobile apps and mobile commerce. Last year, I featured their innovations in mobile payments. Now we have an opportunity to add another example of how the company is meeting the permission expectations of consumers with an excellent multi-channel campaign.
Over at Business2Community, Joe Ruiz puts together a Starbucks Case Study on how the company succeeded with a multi-channel offer. Mr. Ruiz had a birthday recently and Starbucks sent him an email telling him that he would be getting a postcard in the mail with a coupon for a free drink. While the offer is fairly straightforward, Mr. Ruiz outlines a number of points on how Starbucks builds trust and maximizes the campaigns’ effect. We have boiled these points down to what we deem as the most important.
Mr. Ruiz trusts Starbucks and has already given the company his address and birthday. Starbucks asks him to confirm his mailing address, which is an opportunity to build additional trust by asking for his permission. Starbucks gets to keep its database accurate which saves on postage and allows the company to add new stores where its top customers are located.
Optism has coined the term “Thinking Human” to promote brand communication without “marketing speak”. The entire postcard is written in very plain language, “We’d like to celebrate your big day…” that isn’t trying to sell you something. Starbucks provides a simple offer with a clear message
Starbucks includes a suggestion to “brag” about your birthday by sharing the news about your free drink on your birthday on Facebook and Twitter. They encourage you to take a picture and post it to Instagram. This encourages others to sign up with Starbucks so they can receive the birthday offer.
Starbucks provides a number of links at the top and the bottom of the offer including account balance, customer service and shop online. Most importantly, they provide an unsubscribe link and the email address they have on file.
Starbucks continues to nail it and the financial results speak for themselves. While other retailers are faltering, Starbucks had their 11th straight quarter of record results and US same-store sales were up 7%. Starbucks keeps innovating with new mobile solutions while continuing to ask its customers for permission in an effort to maintain their trust. I’ve been extremely impressed with their marketing efforts as they have only collected the information they need from me and have not abused it. I don’t get annoying daily emails, SMSs or frequent postal mail from them. They reach out to me when it’s relevant and I appreciate it. Not every company can balance innovation and permission at the same time; Starbucks seems to do it effortlessly.