After my 2 weeks here in Costa Rica I have learned a plethora amount of information relating to the design process for each step of the supply chain process. Firstly, I will discuss my experience with the first step starting at the farm. At the farm one may not expect marketing to be a useful aspect to worry about; however, farms such as Doka have really proved this concept wrong. Doka markets and their farm to attract tourists to come and tour the property. By advertising the farm as an experience for tourists there is another stream of revenue available which capitalizes on one of Costa Rica’s biggest sectors of their economy: tourism. This idea of tours and educational programs also is the same marketing that the processors and milling companies will take. Again Doka is a great company at this as they show the water mills, processing plants, and how the coffee cherries are dried during the dry season. Therefore, these early steps are not as focused on the marketing side the products, but still implement it to gain extra sources of income.
The next step of the supply chain for coffee is the roasting companies and the retail stores. This is where the marketing can really thrive and a company be very creative. The company that we visited that was most successful with their marketing is Cafe Britt. Cafe Britt is a company that is mainly focused on marketing to the high amounts of tourism in Costa Rica. They do this through coffee tours that are much more theatric than any other coffee tours and it feels more like a performance. Furthermore, their branding on the packaging is geared towards creating a look that really correlates to Costa Rica or the other countries Cafe Britt has expanded. For instance, many of the packages here in Costa Rica will have the volcanoes present or pictures of sloths since these are strong national symbols of Costa Rica. However, if they were selling in Peru there would be Machu Pichu or alpacas on the packaging since these are symbols in Peru. Furthermore, Cafe Britt is very successful with the placement of their products, being available in stores, online, or in their own branded store titled Britt Shops. These Britt Shops are strategically placed in high traffic tourist areas since this is the target market for their products. Therefore, I have learned the most overall from Cafe Britt in regards to their marketing and how to appeal to the target market they are aiming for.
Finally, the last step and arguably the most important step customers. Customers need to be able to connect to your brand through the marketing. This is one of the difficulties for many smaller coffee producers entering the market, how do you earn market share in a market full of customers who have already settled for their go-to brand of coffee. Here is where strategic marketing becomes very necessary, a company can not just blindly start marketing with no goal. For instance, if the company wants to be a coffee popular with the Ticos then the gourmet approach of Cafe Britt will backfire since the majority of Ticos want the best for their money, but this is often requires a cheap price point. Therefore, if Ticos are the main market one wants to explore then marketing solely based on quality of coffee may backfire; however, in America this strategy would be much more successful. In America people are willing to pay high prices for gourmet tasting coffee as this is value much higher. Thus, the strategy of marketing to customers has to vary wildly based on the aim of advertising.