In partnership with The CMO Club, The CMO of the Week series profiles CMOs who are shaping, changing and challenging the world of modern marketing. For Neisser's complete interview with CMO Award Winner Costello, click here.
Though U.S. customers know Dunkin' Donuts as "America's Favorite Coffee," it's an extremely global company. With franchisees in 33 different countries, it's one of the largest coffee and pastry chains in the world. How did this little business from Massachusetts grow into a donut giant? In part, it's because of the market savvy of its team, which is constantly tweaking their approach, products, and customer engagement.
"The future of mobile for us is to continue putting Dunkin' in everyone's hands," Costello says. "We see a lot of potential for mobile to be an extension of the Dunkin' Donuts experience."
Updating the Recipe
According to Costello, Dunkin' Donuts is very aware that "mobile and marketing go hand-in-hand." This is partly because of the fact that many customers interact with the company through franchisees, so it's important for Dunkin' to find a way to stay close. Another reason is because mobile is now becoming the primary way customers interact with brands and learn about new products and services.
"The bottom line is that, while the way consumers learn about brands, consume information, and decide where to buy brands has changed over years, they are still looking for better solutions to their everyday challenges," Costello says. He notes that by using technology to adapt to these fast-changing times, Dunkin' has successfully been able to maintain close partnerships with franchisees and respond to changing markets.
"While the majority of our mobile efforts are focused on adding value for our consumers through the Dunkin' App, we do believe that it's critical to optimize for mobile across all of our digital touch points," Costello says. To that end, they've been focusing on updating their website and increasing social media engagement with customers. Mobile has also become a cornerstone of their advertising strategy, which now includes online ads, emails, loyalty programs and more.
Introducing New Flavors
Costello says that Dunkin' doesn't want to just play it safe: "Our team has done a good job of balancing what has worked in the past with innovation. We conduct very sophisticated ROI analysis on our marketing plans, but we also encourage our teams to try new things, such as our digital billboard in Times Square for Dunkin' Donuts or our viral soft-serve video on Facebook with Baskin-Robbins."
To that end, Dunkin' has been leveraging partnerships and mobile technology to launch a number of promotions that will help integrate their products into consumers' everyday lives. One such initiative is a partnership with Zynga's "Running With Friends" app. Dunkin' provides in-game advice and "coffee boosts" encourage players to compete with friends on the leaderboard. "Guests can also earn 500 free gems to use during game play for checking in to a local Dunkin' Donuts, further emphasizing how Dunkin' keeps them running both in their everyday lives and during game play," Costello says.
"Overall, we are very pleased with the response to our mobile initiatives," Costello says. "The success of these programs supports the importance of taking a 360 degree approach and thinking thoughtfully about the best platforms that will help us to engage with Dunkin' Donuts guests."
It's a Matter of Taste
Mobile isn't just another marketing strategy; for Dunkin', it's a way to keep tabs on different initiatives and customer feedback around the world. "Because brand-building tactics and cultures may differ from country to country, people sometimes believe the principles may also differ," Costello says. "We operate in many different countries, in many different cultures, but we find the principle of understanding what our consumers want remains a constant around the world."
Figuring out these differences as well as constants in global tastes is crucial for Dunkin's continued success. Dunkin's food scientists and chefs work closely with Costello and his marketing team as well as other departments in the company. "We conduct extensive market research on key trends and get great feedback from our local teams and franchisees and business partners," Costello says, highlighting the importance of collaboration in their industry.
Social media is another great way to stay in touch with customers," Costello adds. "We understand that our guests like to use social media to interact with us, whether it be complimenting their favorite local shop's crew members or telling us about their excitement for our pumpkin menu to return."