Why Coffee is like Social Marketing

People have long asked us why we are called Coffee Marketing. Some believe it is because we specialise in the coffee industry (that is not the reason at all, but if you work in this sector we’d definately sit down for a coffee with you and pick your brain!).  Others believe it is because we love coffee.

Well that is true, but not the actual reason, it is actually more fluffy and cheesy than that. It is about the feeling coffee gives, the concept as well as literal properties.

Coffee is conceptually what we believe to be true of social marketing and what remains core to our idea of social media today. To explain we give you 6 similarities.  There are more for sure, but 6 feels right.

black coffee in cup

It’s not transparent (unless it is bad coffee)

Ok, so this takes things very literally, but sometimes that is a good thing-it’s another angle. With other direct response digital marketing activity like PPC you pay per click and can measure what each stage in the sales funnel is costing, as well as adjust what is spent to meet specific numerical targets.

Social media marketing is still relatively unknown and unpredictable.  It also delivers different marketing value that is above and beyond the post or update you have made; It delivers value at different levels. Referrals, sharing and third-party comments change the physical quality of how you message is sent and received.  It is distorted by how it travels through social media, but can be passed around further than any other media except the chain letter/ emails you received in the early 2000’s. A good idea and social media execution will ‘go viral’ (http://mashable.com/2013/12/09/westjet-christmas-miracle-ad/), be shared, reformatted and generate a lot of media attention.  The exact value of this cannot be understood like other measurable digital marketing, but everyone agrees there is definately value.


Coffee experts provide as many adjectives for coffee than wine buffs do their nectar of choice. Words describe it’s complexity and nose, nuttiness, depth etc.  It is undoubtedly a complicated flavour and one that varies according to how the beans are treated as they grow.

As we are dealing with human beings this is also true.  In relation to social media this adds extra complexity as personal communication is necessary and this is more complicated to manage than any broadcast communication.

There is also an extra level of production for social media, as once you have the audience, message and channel the delivery mechanism can take various forms.  People might argue this is akin to the number of magazines or newspapers available in a media buy, but in actual fact using social media is like having an extra layer on top of the buying process and needing to choose your newspaper, the advert’s dimensions as well as paper and ink the newspaper uses.

Video, images, text and flash animation to name a few all allow marketers to vary the type of communication that can be produced. The format of communication is changing rapidly and makes it more complicated to choose and define the best course to take.

Like the growing of coffee beans itself

Coffee bushes are like social marketing

depending on: where it was grown, the bean used and the cultivation/roasting method used. Social media is equally complex, with a range of social networks and platforms that literally provide different environments for a community to develop (where it is grown).  A variety of methodologies (cultivation/roasting) can be used and are ever developing to meet the needs of online communities and businesses alike.  Finally the seed is the community itself.  There is always potential for an online community (the seed) to come together and start to grow. Like a seed a community will not grow until it is planted. Some grow, while others fail, but it needs an environment and attention. These elements selected to make up the strategic blend for each company.


If you have a great product then people will sing your praises, but if you hit a customer service disaster then problems on social media are also amplified.  Social media stimulates conversations, perceptions, reputation and you bottom line. This effect has become ever prevalent whether you choose to engage in it or not.  People will talk about your brand whether you manage it or not. The key is to be able to effectively deal with any eventuality, mitigate and manage the negative and stimulate the positive ever further.

Changes over time

Like the coffee beans as they grow on the tree, from green to a mature red colour before roasting to a nutty brown colour, social media develops.  A company entering the social media landscape for the first time will be introducing itself.  Establishing itself in relevant communities and groups to initiate relationships. As a social media presence Red and green coffee cherries on the bush becomes established people begin to trust the company and interact with it in more personal ways with higher frequency.  They will also tell the comany what they want and this gives the company as well as the social media presence the needed iinsight to grow and develop to continue meeting the changing needs of your target audience.

Tastes Great!

It’s true! (even for tea drinkers and here we overrule any opinions that coffee taste bad!… ok well if you insist then then this is also true of any hot drink you are fond of when you have time to enjoy it) Social media marketing leaves a great taste in companies mouths.  It provides a new level of connection between all areas of business and their customers, opening up doors they never knew existed. Never has it been possible to involve customers in every stage of a product development process, or encourage customer to become your own marketers at such little cost (not free).  These added benefits make engaging in social media a long-term benefit, as well as driving short-term web traffic is can completely reform how business is done; reducing operational friction, improving efficiencies and reducing customer churn to name a few. Done well, social marketing changes the way business’s think and operate. These companies, like Dell, now even have the title “social business”.  The advent of this new discipline, whether people like it or not will continue having a far reaching impact as it improves efficiency and the way business communications with its customers and stakeholders alike.

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