Detailed Marketing Strategy of Tim Hortons – Canada’s largest fast-food chain

Updated on: Mar 2, 2023
Marketing Strategy Of Tim - Featured Image

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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

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From our previous article, we understood the detailed marketing strategy of Sodexo. In this article, we are looking forward to elaborating on the marketing strategy of Tim Hortons which is a Canadian multinational fast food restaurant chain. 

The main objective is to help you gain insights into the growth and marketing strategy of Tim which was initiated by a Canadian Hockey player, Tim Horton.

Marketing plays a vital role in a company’s revenue generation. Without a proper marketing strategy, a company’s efforts aren’t valued enough. Marketing is also following the digital realm as the world is shifting to digital platforms. If you are interested in digital marketing then you should definitely check out IIDE’s  Free MasterClass on Digital Marketing 101 by Karan Shah. He is the founder and CEO of IIDE.

The marketing strategy of Tim will be wholly explained in this blog. Before we begin with it, let us understand the company’s story, target audience, and digital presence.

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About Tim Hortons – Company Overview

Tim Hortons' Outlet - Marketing Strategy of Tim

Tim Hortons, one of Canada’s most well-known restaurant franchises, is famous for its espresso and doughnuts. The bistro network, which began in Hamilton in the mid-nineteenth century, now has operations in 14 countries across the world. Tim Horton’s menu also includes a variety of breakfast options in addition to espresso.

Tim Horton, a former National Hockey League player, initially ventured into the hamburger business but later started this company for coffee and doughnuts. Ron Joyce, a former Hamilton police officer, met Horton shortly after he started the business.

Joyce’s ambitious expansion of the Tim Hortons business influenced the Canadian coffee and doughnut restaurant sector significantly. Many small doughnut stores and independent doughnut businesses were forced out of business, whilst still, Canada’s per-capita doughnut shop ratio topped that of all other nations.

Burger King stated in 2014 that they will merge with Tim Hortons Inc. It was hoped that the deal would allow Tim Hortons to tap into Burger King’s resources for international expansion. Later then, the two companies joined in 2015 under the umbrella of Restaurant Brands International, a Canadian holding corporation majority-owned by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital.


Quick Stats on Tim Hortons
CEO Jose Cil
CMO Hope Bagozzi
Area Served Canada, the UK, the Middle East, and the United States
Industry The fast food restaurant chain
Market Share/ Revenue $2.25 billion in sales and $1.09 billion from franchises and properties per year
Vision To be the fastest growing global restaurant brand while serving Canada’s favourite coffee.
Tagline Always fresh. Always fresh. Always Tim Hortons. You have always got time for Tim Hortons.


Marketing Strategy of Tim Hortons

Now let us understand the marketing strategy, marketing campaigns, SEO strategies, etc. initiated by Tim Hortons.

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

Tim Hortons primarily targeted a group of people that includes business people and working adults, families, and students from the lower and middle classes. It also has marketed its brand toward families having young children. 

Business people and working adults are apparently targeted because they can grab their snack or coffee on their way to the office or workplace as Tim Horton’s provides quick service and is conveniently located with many locations. For students, it is very convenient for them as it is located near their college and university campuses and is inexpensive. Another plus point is that Tim Hortons also offers WIFI so students or working adults can go there and get their work or homework done while also grabbing a coffee or lunch. 

Tim Hortons has positioned itself as a community-based company that focuses on family, sports, and friendships. It strives for family and friend-togetherness. Tim Hortons has positioned itself on Canadian values. Moreover, it is designed to be an eco-friendly brand.


Marketing campaigns

  1. Roll up the rim campaign

Marketing Strategy of Tim - Campaign 1

Roll up the rim is a campaign started by Tim Hortons where customers are supposed to roll the rim of their coffee after they have finished it to see what prize they have got. It takes place annually every February and prizes like TVs, gadgets, and vehicles are given to the customers. 

This campaign helped gain a lot of sales for the brand. 

Want to plan and execute such exciting campaigns? Read this blog on tried and tested digital marketing campaigns that can help you get started.

2. Smile cookie campaign

Marketing Strategy of Tim - Campaign 1

For over 25 years, Tim Hortons has been spreading smiles along with guests around North America. This campaign was started to help raise funds for Hamilton’s children’s hospital based in Ontario. When a customer buys a cookie 100% of the purchases are given to support the poor. This was another successful campaign that was started by Tim Hortons. 

3. Holiday cup campaign

Marketing Strategy of Tim - Campaign 3

Annually, Tim Hortons releases holiday cups during the holidays with a unique marketing strategy. In the year 2014, the holiday cups were accompanied by a new social media campaign. The brand had launched a hashtag #WarmWishes where people were supposed to post pictures along with their holiday cup doing a good deed. For every single post using the hashtag, Tim Hortons promised to donate a token to a child in need through its children’s foundation. Tim Hortons aimed to encourage the people of Canada to do good for others and spread some warmth during the holiday season and was successful in it.


Social media marketing

Tim Hortons is active on social media handles like Linked In, Instagram, Tim Hortons Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram profile is by the username ‘Tim Hortons’. 

It is followed more on Instagram with over 450 K followers on it. Content posted is fun and entertaining which causes engagement along with branding its products and new launches.


SEO Strategies

Marketing Strategy of Tim - SEO

As we know, according to SEO ranking a good number of keywords is often between 1000-10,000. Above 10,000 the number of keywords is considered amazing. From this, we can understand that has a great number of organic keywords which is 54,968.

The organic monthly traffic is around 3.9M which is amazing. This indicates that Tim Hortons has a well-improved SEO strategy.


Influencer marketing

Tim Hortons has also a good influencer marketing strategy. The brand collaborated with a famous singer named Justin Bieber and launched a coffee in the name of the actor. Biebs brew is the coffee launched along with Timbits which are bite-sized doughnuts. Justin Bieber has a huge fan following across the world. Tim Hortons’ collaboration with Justin Bieber made its products promoted on a global level and also caused a huge profit for the company.


E-Commerce strategies

Marketing Strategy of Tim - ecom

Tim Hortons has its website from where they sell their products along with many amazing offers. Being a fast food chain they don’t serve their customers through other e-commerce platforms like amazon, Flipkart etc.


Mobile Apps

Marketing Strategy of Tim - Mobile App

The brand has also launched its mobile app which makes it convenient for customers to order food from the comfort of their homes. The mobile app also provides many special offers for customers which makes ordering food more fun.

Get your app to rank #1 on the app store after reading this detailed guide on ASO.


Content marketing strategies

As every Marketing is taking place digitally, Tim Hortons is also growing its brand through digital marketing. It is active on Instagram and Facebook and posts content through both apps only.

This ends with an elaborative marketing strategy of Tim. Let us conclude our learning below from marketing strategy of Tim.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

Conclusion – What’s unique in Tim Horton’s marketing?

From this blog, we understood the different marketing strategies of Tim Hortons which is helping the brand gain love and support from everyone all over the world. Fast food is leading and growing in almost every country.

Coffee has been consumed since early times and is enjoyed by everyone regardless of their age. Tim Hortons products are liked by everyone but what causes the brand to be successful? A good marketing strategy is a key to its success. Without proper marketing, any brand cannot sell its products regardless of how helpful they may be. 

Digital marketing is crucial since it links a company with its clients when they are online and is effective across all sectors. It links businesses with ideal consumers through SEO and PPC on Google, social media marketing, and email marketing. If you would like to learn more and develop skills, check out IIDE’s 4-Month Digital Marketing Course to learn more.

Alternatively, you can enrol in one of our free online masterclasses led by IIDE’s CEO, Karan Shah, to gain insight into the field of digital marketing. 

We hope this blog on marketing strategy of Tim has given you a good insight into the company’s marketing strategies.

If you like such in-depth analysis of companies just like the marketing strategy of Tim check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

Thank you for taking the time to read the marketing strategy of Tim, and do share your thoughts on this case study marketing strategy of Tim in the comments section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


  1. Suraj Yadav

    The blog explains the marketing strategy of Tim Hortons in a very simple and subtle ways giving us insights on the reason behind the success of Tim Hortons.

  2. Rabi Kc

    This detailed analysis on the marketing strategy of tim hortons was a great help. Thank you for well written content.


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