Marketing your coffee is a lot easier when you feel you are on a mission.

July 1, 2013 by
marketing coffee when on a mission

Photo courtesy of erenemre on Flikr

Do you love marketing?

Do you get up in the morning all excited about marketing your coffees?

Probably not. A lot of the coffee roasters and retailers I know are far more interested in their coffees. They love to create great coffee.

But if you want your business to succeed, marketing is an essential part of the mix.

And it’s not like you can just “do it” once and be done. Yes, it’s nice to create a fabulous label for your coffee bags. Yes, it’s great to tell some stories about the origins of your coffees, and maybe throw in a video or two of the roasting process.

Then of course you have to create a website, and spend a lot of time on social media. If you don’t have the time or skills to do that, you have to hire people who can do it all for you.

But once you have your name, logo, labels and website, then what? You have to do something, because every other company selling coffee also has a name, logo, labels and a website.

At this point, for many companies selling coffee, marketing becomes a pain. It isn’t easy, it’s expensive and it’s time-consuming. And when thousands of other companies are competing with you to sell their own coffees, marketing can become a real struggle. Meanwhile, you wish you could just focus on what you really enjoy, which is sourcing, roasting and sharing great coffee.

One answer to this struggle is to get out of the mindset of traditional marketing. Stop thrashing around in that middle ground of going through the motions of marketing. The middle ground is a miserable and ineffective place to be.

And I think the best way to do that is to forget “marketing” and focus instead on sharing a mission or a message that you really love. Something that has real meaning for you.

Dean Cycon, of Dean’s Beans, presents it like this: “Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company is a leading-edge social change organization using high quality specialty coffee as a vehicle for positive social, economic and environmental change throughout the coffeelands of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

If you know anything about Dean, you know his life’s work is not about selling coffee beans. It’s about achieving positive social change. He is on a mission, with a message he loves. As a result, he doesn’t have to bother about traditional coffee marketing.

The successful marketing of his coffees is a happy byproduct of his primary mission.

Or take George Howell of George Howell Coffee. He has been promoting quality coffees since the 1970s. Today’s “third wave” is finally catching up with him. In fact, his focus is on very high-end, unblended coffees from named coffee farms at premium prices. He wasn’t driven to do this because he believes the top end is a particularly “hot” and profitable market. He does this because he believes this is the direction in which specialty coffee should be going – with more respect for the growers and more respect for the taste of individual coffees.

Like Dean, he has a mission beyond just trying to make a few bucks from selling coffee beans.

So how about you?

If you can find a cause or message you truly believe in, then marketing becomes easier, and a whole lot more interesting for both you and your customers. You’re no longer selling just the beans, you’re selling the message behind the beans.

All of a sudden, marketing becomes something you enjoy instead of struggling over.

When you live in the middle ground and just do the kind of marketing you feel you are meant to do, that’s decaf marketing.

Find a unique mission and message you want to share, and you’ll rise above the noise and get noticed.

NOTE: For help in finding your mission, or with any other aspect of marketing your coffees online, take a peek at the consulting and writing services I offer.

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