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Slam Dunk!

4 Feb, 2010 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Coffee and baked-goods leader Dunkin’ Donuts ushers marketing into a new decade using digital DR.

In the ultra-competitive market of coffee companies, Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts (DD) has found a way remain one of best-known names among baked-goods and java chains. One of the older brands in the United States, established as a single shop in Quincy, Mass., in 1950, DD now has 6,395 franchises around the nation (34 states) and 2,440 international shops in 31 countries, making it the largest coffee and baked-goods chain in the world.

Although popular for its drive-thrus and on-the-go mentality — “America Runs on Dunkin” became its tag line in 2006 — in 2007, the brand also became a household name with its home brews. And since then, DD has managed to not fall into the shadows of other major brands that have entered into the spotlight, such as Starbucks and more recently, McDonald’s. How has DD stayed one of the most beloved coffee (and let’s not forget tasty donuts) brands in the country? It’s a powerful brew of multi-channel marketing from traditional television ads and billboards to its more recent digital and mobile direct response campaigns.

Coffee Talk
Dunkin’ Donuts sells more than 1 billion cups of coffee per year. In 2008, 60 percent of the brand’s sales came from beverages and 40 percent from baked goods, making coffee a high priority on its merchandise list for both consumers and the brand’s marketers.

“We’re in a competitive business now. Coffee was always a big business, but with the new entrance of brands like McDonald’s (with the McCafé launch), it means even more choices and makes it more competitive,” says David Tryder, director of interactive and relationship marketing for Dunkin’ Donuts. “The great thing is we have an advantage — great quality and great value.” He adds that while competitors may have one or the other, DD coffee has both quality and value in one offering.

Tryder finds direct response marketing to be a great opportunity to talk to customers about that message of quality and value, while still reflecting the original goals of Founder Bill Rosenberg: Make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores. Especially in the past year or so, DR has been a great platform for “softening the blow” of the economy for customers by making the conversation more relevant, more precise and to demonstrate value in tough times.

When Tryder began at the company in 2005, he had just come from working on loyalty marketing for Delta Airlines at Digitas — where he was first introduced to direct marketing, CRM and loyalty management.

This initial foray into DR marketing was a big step for someone coming off of 13 years in retail banking working in the branch side, call centers and online banking. Today, Tryder handles all digital marketing aspects for DD. His responsibilities include, mobile, online social media and any online promotions. In addition, Tryder is in charge of the electronic payments side of the business, including the Dunkin’ Donuts Card and relationships between the brand and credit card partners. Tryder’s third responsibility is customer loyalty.

The Mobile Brand
One of Dunkin’ Donuts’ ingredients for success is its ability to adjust its campaigns with the time. Beyond changing the focus of its image from one centered on donuts to one centered on coffee, the company has leapt into mobile marketing in the past year, with no signs of slowing down on the digital front.

In 2009, Studiocom built an SMS platform for DD, which it has since used to test and pilot for direct response marketing. One of the platform’s largest uses is for customizing local offers, in real time, and distributing them via mobile to customers who have opted in.

“Mobile is good for Dunkin’ because we’re an on-the-go brand,” says Tryder. “More and more, people are relying on it as a tool to help manage their lives, for social networks and for communications. It provides a great fit for Dunkin’ Donuts.”

One application that launched last year, and was also built by Studiocom, integrated both online and mobile marketing with the idea of being “on the move.” The Dunkin’ Run platform is an application available either online or on a mobile device with which a person can reach out to friends or colleagues and say they are making a DD run. Then it asks those friends and colleagues, “Does anyone want something while I’m at DD?” The system allows those interested to place a digital order that goes back to the person making the Dunkin’ Run. The aggregated list can even be printed out and handed to the cashier at DD. “Instead of using a napkin to write it on, or relaying on memory, the Web and mobile make the process easier and fun,” says Tryder.

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