Tea Industry Influencers Discuss Engaging New Customers

Waiter is bringing drinking and delicious desserts to clients of cafe. Photo credit: GettyImages.com

World Tea News asked tea industry influencers the following question: What we as an industry need to do to engage new customers?

Here are their responses.

Make, serve, explain and inspire people about your teas…. it’s is a powerful, simple, affordable way to ‘spreads the word of tea.’ You can tweet, post, write forever, but nothing replaces the smiles and new fans won with a great cup of properly prepared tea.

—Brian Keating Blend Master & Founder of Sage Group

In my tea marketing classes I often talk about making tea more fun for all ages and to avoid making tea buying and brewing seem overly complicated and ritualistic. We’ve devoted a lot of marketing to foodies who are attracted to the nuances and have the time and budget to participate in that. But this severely narrows the demographic and doesn’t support the broader market that is the bread and butter of the industry.

—Babette Donaldson President of the International Tea Sipper’s Society, author, tea educator

Education. Education. Education.

—Richard Enticott Owner of Meridian Trading Company

Educate, educate, educate!

—Maria Uspenski Founder and CEO of The Tea Spot, author of Cancer Hates Tea

We need to better understand what drives each type of demographic to tea and what flavor profiles those demographics are looking for. Since tea companies cannot talk about the health benefits of tea while in the act of selling tea (at least without the fear of being fined by the FDA for doing so); we need other influential and knowledgeable tea professionals to spread the word about tea and health in layman’s terms. But this needs to happen for not only tea but all the wonderful herbals and tisanes that are sold as tea.

—Scott Svihula Owner of Hula Consulting

High tech tea brewing continues to allure, but nothing replaces artisan, hand-brewed service. The increasing ubiquity of slow bars in fine cafes gives a perfect "in" for slow bar tea. And I think the two can co-exist in harmony. There's been enough This vs That in the beverage world when it comes to technology and tradition. They should inform each other and enable each other to evolve and co-exist. They often serve entirely different customer bases - why should one replace the other, when we have so many different types of customers?

—Suzette Hammond Founder of Being Tea, tea trainer and consultant

We need to add the convenience aspect of tea as well as the appeal as a foodie experience. We also need to build the attractiveness of tea as a beverage choice vs coffee. Continuing to build on the health aspects of tea will keep us integral to that trend.

—Tim Smith Owner of The Tea Smith