Thursday, April 10, 2008

Starbucks "Gets" Social Marketing

I finally did it.

I finally bit the bullet and signed up at the first, ever Starbucks venture into social media. Yes, I joined My Starbucks Idea. And, I LOVE IT!

The site has been in action for only three weeks. The entire purpose of the site is to solicit ideas from customers about how to do things better. I'm amazed at how smart and creative people are. Some ideas are no-brainers (free WI-FI!), and some are quite creative. A sampling of these ideas:
  • Free birthday drink
  • Extra shot in venti drinks (currently it's the same as grande--did you know that?)
  • Separate line for those whose order is plain ol' coffee (like me)
  • Something to cover the lid opening so that coffee doesn't spill in transit
And, here's the excellent thing--Starbucks is actually, actively acting on these ideas! They've already introduced a new type of stirrer that fits in the lid so that coffee can't seep out. And, if you've heard of their new Pikes Place blend--well, that's a mellower roast specially created for all of the folks that call Starbucks: "Starburnt".

You know, we can all learn a thing or two from Starbucks. They have jumped into social media in just exactly the right way. They put together a very nice site soliciting customer input. Then, they are showing us how they're acting on this input. They're implementing ideas in a timely fashion. Their site is interactive and fun to navigate.

Now, I know I'm a Starbucks fan and a really good customer. But, I'm taking the time out of my day to think about ways to improve their business. How cool is that for them? They've harnessed the minds of thousands (soon to be millions, I'm sure) of customers to help them evolve. What a way to keep a competitive edge.

We all know that Starbucks has a hard time living up to their stellar expectations (how can you sustain their quick growth and high profitability?). Well, I think that this website is just exactly what the doctor ordered. It fits in with the Starbucks brand and culture. They seem committed to it and they're really listening to what their customers are saying. They've used the best parts of social media and claimed it as their own.

My only question--why did they take so long to jump on the social bandwagon?

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