coffee business

Aesthetics and design have more to do with selling coffee than you might think.

October 18, 2016 by Leave a comment
Aesthetics and design have more to do with selling coffee than you might think.

Yesterday I spent some time at a coffee event here in Montreal – East Coast Coffee Madness 2016.

It was terrific event, and I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me.

Anyway… as I was walking around, talking with roasters, coffee making equipment manufacturers and one or two ...

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Before you create your new coffee product or service, figure out the marketing.

October 7, 2015 by Leave a comment
Before you create your new coffee product or service, figure out the marketing.

Cart before horse in marketing.I talk with a lot of people who are working on launching some kind of coffee business.

Some are launching a roaster or coffee shop. Some are launching a coffee subscription service. And some are launching a new coffee maker or grinder.

Many of them have one thing in common.

They put the cart before the horse.

In other words, they do everything – including launching – before they give much thought to marketing.

This is a problem, because marketing is everything.

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Shut up for a minute and let your customers tell your story.

September 2, 2015 by Leave a comment
Shut up for a minute and let your customers tell your story.

Man with mouth taped closedI was on the phone with a coffee company last week and we were talking about their marketing.

More specifically, I was anxious to talk about how they were telling their story.

Their business is online, but they don’t sell their own coffees. They curate and sell coffees from top roasters across the U.S.

Every day they are dealing with these roasters and, of course, with their customers.

But the story they tell on their website is fairly ordinary and flat.

Same old story you’ll find on a hundred other coffee websites. They are passionate about coffee. They love great coffee roasters. They want to share the best with their customers. And so on.

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To differentiate your coffee, you need to find the right story.

December 4, 2013 by 1 comment
To differentiate your coffee, you need to find the right story.

Coffee bean in a spoonAs I have said in previous posts, the interesting thing about the coffee business is that we are all selling the same thing. It’s a brown bean. A commodity.

At the top end of the market, which is pretty thin, you can differentiate your coffee by its taste. A few people can taste the difference between a decent coffee, a good coffee and a great coffee.

But with most people, their appreciation of coffee is the same as their appreciation of art – they just know what they like.

So…if you are selling a brown, roasted bean – just like every other coffee company – how can you differentiate your own beans?

The answer is pretty simple. You tell a story.

Typically those stories revolve around things like the country of origin and the circumstances under which the coffee is grown, processed and roasted. Shade grown. Fair Trade. Organic. Small batch roasting. And so on.

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Published in Coffee marketing

Why the cost of shipping could kill your online coffee business.

November 25, 2013 by Leave a comment

Shipping costs for online coffee vendorsIt would be nice to think that the future of your coffee business will turn on the quality of your coffees and your service.

If you have a coffee shop, that may well be the case.

But if you sell coffee online, there is another factor that has the potential to sink your dreams.

Shipping rates.

Put simply, if you sell a pound of coffee for $9 and the shipping cost you pass on to your customers in $9, you just doubled the price of your product. And nobody wants to pay double for their coffee when they can just run down to the corner store and pick a bag off the shelf.

True, the coffee they buy may not be as good as yours. But even so.

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3 Reasons why coffee companies think their marketing is top notch. When it isn’t.

October 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

Coffee marketing the same...It’s all too easy to look at your marketing plan and activities, take a peek at your website and printed materials, track your results…and then conclude that all is well with your marketing.

In fact, it might not take much to persuade you that everything is hunky-dory, and nothing needs to be changed or improved.

This is a problem, because as soon as you sit back and decide that everything is going just fine, you are no longer motivated to test new approaches and see if you can leverage those changes to do even better.

Let’s look at 3 of the influences that might lull you into achieving less than you could.

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Coffee pod marketing: A missed opportunity.

September 12, 2013 by Leave a comment

coffee pod marketingCoffee pods are distinct from K-Cups, capsules, discs and other single-serve units that include plastics and foil in their manufacture.

A coffee pod is simply a plump, round puck of ground coffee contained in a paper filter.

Using a coffee pod in a pod brewer, or a multi-head brewer that can accommodate pods, offers all the same advantages of any other single serve system.

No mess. No fuss. One-button coffee. The coffee of your choice on demand.

However, coffee pods don’t suffer the significant downside of other single-serve packing. In a nutshell, coffee pods don’t include plastic or foil.

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Create a movement that supports your coffee brand.

August 29, 2013 by Leave a comment

coffee movement markwtingWhat is a movement? It’s a community of people who are passionate about a particular idea or cause.

Some movements are very public and international, like the Occupy movement.

Others are smaller and often local, like a group of people coming together to oppose the development of a local park.

In the world of specialty coffee, the Third Wave could be described as a movement powered by a passionate community of people who truly love quality coffee.

People who advocate shade-grown coffee are also part of a movement.

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5 Questions I wish coffee marketers would ask me.

August 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

old coffee shopSometimes I daydream.

Inspired by the print you see here, portraying a coffee shop back in 1674, I began daydreaming about sitting at a table and answering questions from some managers and founders of online coffee stores.

I know, a slightly weird daydream. But I think it speaks to my passion for sharing what I know about business online with the online coffee marketing community.

Here are the questions, and my answers.

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To stand out from the crowd, try marketing your coffee by lifestyle.

July 24, 2013 by Leave a comment

coffee lifestyleAs marketers of coffee, we all work from the same disadvantage.

Coffee is a commodity. Coffee beans are green, and then they are brown, in various shades.

Your brown beans look exactly the same as your competitors’ brown beans.

That’s a tough starting point from which to build a marketing plan. It’s the equivalent of every car manufacturer having to create identical vehicles, and paint all of them brown. Why would you choose one brand of car over another if they looked exactly the same?

“Ahh”, you might say. “Our beans might look the same, but they’re not.”

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Published in Coffee marketing