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How Dunkin’ Donuts Increased Mobile Engagement Through Customer Relationships

November 24th, 2015 Comments off

“I think that mobile is one of the most profound changes we’ve seen in marketing in years,” John Costello, Global Marketing & Innovation, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc, said when I sat down with him in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at DMA’s event &THEN.

‘America Runs on Dunkin’ is more than just a slogan, he said. It really infiltrates every aspect of the brand to customer relationship.

“Because of that, mobile is absolutely perfect for us,” he said, adding that, “mobile has really evolved from a small phone to a smart phone to a hand-help computer, to really, the remote control for your life.”

With mobile’s transition to becoming an essential part of consumers’ lives, Dunkin’ decided to put mobile front and center in its marketing strategies.

That decision goes back to being customer-focused, John said.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in the technology, but what we really do is talk to our guests and ask them what they want,” he said.

This customer-first perspective went into building Dunkin’s mobile app, and although the technology is described as world-class, “it all flows from the customer,” John said.

He gave the example of a store locator, which is a critical point of functionality for a customer on the go. Keeping this travelling customer in mind, Dunkin’ fostered a partnership with Waze, a navigation application, so that customers can easily include a Dunkin’ stop into their trip.



“We were also one of the first to offer our app in both English and Spanish. So we really are very customer-driven, and I think is a key point. While it’s very easy to get caught up in the technology, we’re very focused on the consumer and DD Perks Loyalty Program,” John said.

The Dunkin’ Perks Loyalty Program is built into the mobile app and is a great way for customers &– either in expansion areas or strongholds like New England &– to interact with the brand and for the brand to have a conversation with them.

It’s very important, John said, to integrate mobile with all other marketing aspects and provide customers with a seamless experience across all touchpoints.

“The Dunkin’ Perks Program is a great way for us to get to know our customers better throughout the country and make sure we’re providing them with the most relevant information and offers, based on how they like to use Dunkin’,” he said.

By putting Dunkin’ onto customer’s phones in the most user-friendly way possible, the objective is to integrate the brand and its products into customers’ daily lives.

“I think that mobile has the potential to take one-to-one marketing to scale. So what we’re trying to do is build personal relationships, and it requires a different kind of marketing. It’s more of a dialogue than it is pushing out,” John said.


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Learning About Your Customers Through Testing

November 20th, 2015 No comments

Mike Loveridge, Digital Marketing Manager, Humana, runs the conversion rate optimization program at Humana, which is comprised of a team of 15 testers and supporting staff.

In his interview at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center, Mike explained that the team has spent the past year getting a process in place that would walk a tricky tight rope: keeping costs down, while improving the quality of the test. Locking down this process can be difficult in an enterprise-grade company, Mike said, but especially in the insurance industry with government regulations.


“This year it’s more just branching into other areas of the site and the experience that we weren’t able to touch last year,” he said, listing the member’s portal and company firewall.

Mike’s goal is to spur a company-wide transformation with testing culture, starting with his team.

“I think [with] insurance companies in general, the big push is to go from being an insurance company … to being a health partner with the consumer so that there is a level of trust that hasn’t existed before,” he said.


Test and learn

Implementing this consumer focus company-wide means “test and learn,” Mike said.

The most interesting discovery so far, he said, is that “you don’t really know the customer as well as you think you know them. So you’ve got to test a lot. And the more you test, the more you learn and the more successful you’re going to be.”

In running a personalization test, the team took a banner ad image within the Medicare segment which featured an elderly couple walking through a park. That was the Control, he said, and in a Treatment they featured the couple walking with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and another in front of the Statue of Liberty. Those were then sent out in New York and San Francisco, he said.

“The interesting thing is usually when we do tests like that where we change out images, it increases traffic. But here, it was not only increasing traffic, or clickthrough, but it was improving the performance all the way through the funnel,” Mike said.

The performance and revenue associated with such a takeaway is huge, he added, for such a simple test. The success was because they took a small piece of information about the customer, and used it to learn more.


Make a transformation to customer-focused testing

“You talk about numbers and dollars, but there’s also that shift to having better metrics around customer retention and engagement,” Mike said.

Tests directly correlated with driving revenue are important, but knowing how satisfied people are with the overall experience with your company is vital.

Across Humana, this culture of testing and engaging with customers is taking place, Mike said.

“There’s online and there’s offline. They’re doing focus groups, they’re doing one-on-one interviews on the street, doing surveys, usability studies … a lot of them are done after the product has already been developed,” he said.

One of the major changes they’re trying to make with conversion optimization testing, he said, is to move up that process to before a product is developed. That way, customers are built into, and informing, the product itself.

“As you test, when you give the customer some choices it’s going to improve their trust,” he concluded.


Mike Loveridge, Digital Marketing Manager, Humana, will be speaking about testing at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, held February 22-24 in Las Vegas.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — At the Bellagio in Las Vegas, February 22-24

Inbound Marketing: How to turn your customers into brand enthusiasts

How Personalized Its Offer Page to Specific Customer Segments

3 Lessons From Shia LaBeouf on How to Go Viral

November 13th, 2015 No comments

Marketers ask all the time, “How can we make our marketing go viral?” It’s a little like saying, “Let’s plan to be spontaneous” — as pointless as it is ironic.

You can’t make anything go viral. It’s a mysterious and oftentimes random set of elements that leads to online sharing and discussion, even if “going viral” is just within your own pool of customers.

That isn’t to say, though, that there aren’t tips and ideas that you can’t integrate into your content and marketing practices to increase the odds of intriguing and capturing your customers enough to share your content.

3 Lessons From Shia LaBeouf on How to Go Viral


Chances are you’re familiar with Shia LaBeouf. The actor notably started on the Disney Channel show Even Stevens and he has been a near-constant figure in Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. However, around the Internet, he may be better known for his performance art pieces.

Beginning Tuesday, November 10, at noon, LaBeouf sat in the audience of the Angelika Film Center in New York City to watch all 27 of his movies, beginning with the most recent and ending Thursday at 8 p.m. with his first.

In this latest performance art piece, titled #ALLMYMOVIES, visitors were invited to the theater to sit with Shia as he watches all of his movies consecutively in what various articles are calling “a work of genius,” (Rolling Stone) or alternately, “the most narcissistic binge-watch of all time.” (LA Times).

Read more…

Inbound Marketing: How to turn your customers into brand enthusiasts

November 6th, 2015 No comments

KontrolFreek has taken a “very organic” approach to building its base of customer brand enthusiasts and ambassadors, which it calls FreekNation.

Ashish Mistry, President and CEO, KontrolFreek, sat down with me at IRCE 2015 in Chicago, and discussed how the company was able to work within pockets of influence in its digital marketing to turn customers into fans.

The key to how the marketing team has been able to do this is through a number of different avenues in its digital space.


Authentically develop relationships with customers

“One of the things we realized early on was that this was going to be the core of our marketing,” Ashish said.

The team thought email would be one of the main marketing drivers, he added, but what has been the most interesting development, from his perspective, is to see how important the social role of these brand enthusiasts has been for the customer base.

Read more…

How Personalized Its Offer Page to Specific Customer Segments

October 30th, 2015 No comments

Every marketer wants to help their customers discover something. Even if your product or service is not as personal as family history, that doesn’t mean that your marketing can’t be personalized.

In the case of, the team uses information from users’ family trees to search its vast collection of historical content and records. While making a family tree is free, users must sign up and become a subscriber through an offer page to access any of the content.

“Our mission at Ancestry is to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history,” Emily Titcomb, Senior Manager of Product Marketing,, said.

The offer page can be accessed through a variety of paths on the site. However, despite Ancestry having 2.7 million paid subscribers around the world searching 13 billion pieces of digitized content, the offer was the same for everyone.

Watch the full session replay on Inbound Marketing: How increased conversion by 20% with reduced choice barriers and targeted content


Read more…

Email Summit 2015 Panel: How to justify investment in and get the most out of new email technology

October 23rd, 2015 No comments

There are so many different vendors in email marketing — how do you know that you’ve selected the right one for your technology needs?

In this blog post, we will cover how to begin justifying the investment to others, and choosing the right technology for your company.

Watch the full video to dive deep into three additional topics: shopping tips, questions to ask and problems an ESP won’t fix.

The panel covers these pain points, and features the perspectives of Preston Wily, President, Sewell, and Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services, CNET, alongside Charles Nicholls, SVP, Product Strategy for Marketing Solutions, SAP; John A. Caldwell, Principal and Founder, Red Pill Email; and Michael Kelly, Co-founder, Business Development, ClickMail.


Learn from the mistakes of others

“[At Sewell] we fail a lot, and we know that a lot of the best stuff we do really comes out of those failures,” Wily said.

He advised that marketers learn from mistakes either they or others in the sphere have made in the past. For instance,

Referrals — Get referrals from trusted third parties.

Goals — Define specific goals before talking to potential partners.

Read more…

2016 MarketingSherpa Awards: Customer-focused campaigns that drive results for 4 award nominees

October 2nd, 2015 No comments

2015 MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Award WinnerWe will be evolving this year to keep up with our audience — you.

This year’s MarketingSherpa Awards extend beyond just email marketing and include marketing campaigns across all disciplines. All year long, MarketingSherpa covers compelling stories in the B2C, B2B, email and inbound spheres, so why shouldn’t our yearly awards?

The three-month process of rewarding talent is a serious endeavor. The selection process included 50 hours of pre-screening more than 300 submissions, followed by 15 hours of group deliberation by our panel of five judges. As we searched through stacks of awards and speaking applications, we were looking for a team that could carry on the legacy of previous years’ winners.

It’s now your turn. We’ve narrowed the submissions down to four of the best campaigns, and you can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner through November 10. After voting, please share your favorite nominee or insight on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria:

  • Be transformative
  • Be customer-centric
  • Be innovative
  • Offer transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts
  • Display strong results

From here, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Among many others, here are four lessons you can expect to take from this year’s Awards:

Read more…

Crawl, Walk, Run: How Ferguson began customer-centric email habits to generate over $21 million in online revenue

September 4th, 2015 1 comment

I’ve interviewed around 500 marketers since I started as a reporter at MarketingSherpa. Looking back, most of those conversations are inevitably a bit of a blur, but it’s marketers like Mary Abrahamson, Email Marketing Specialist, Ferguson Enterprises, that truly stand out.

Mary was a first-time attendee at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, and took back what she learned to her office and implemented a transformative, customer-centric campaign that led to her winning Best in Show at Email Summit 2015.

“I learned a lot at Email Summit last year, and coming back [to the office], I felt like we were in an okay place, but we had a lot of room to grow,” she said, explaining that the team began taking steps to refuel their database.

When the team began making changes to view the email program as a whole enterprise, they took what Mary referred to as the “crawl, walk, run approach,” which is where they started off small and went back to optimize later.

The first thing to know when it comes to email relevancy is: there is no email that fits your entire list.

Marketers get requests all the time from different teams and interests to send out an email, and it’s up to the email marketing team to be the stopgap for what goes out to customers.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: How Lilly Pulitzer, Kahlua and Neiman Marcus use brand influencers

Customers have long been wary of content sponsored by brands. This is probably because marketers have been trying to sneak it past them for years — the notorious “Sponsored Content” label, buried at the bottom in tiny font.

The marketers from Lilly Pulitzer, Kahlua and Neiman Marcus — which have all been previously featured in MarketingSherpa case studies — found ways to be transparent about collaborating with bloggers and vloggers to promote their brands.

The brands were also able to approach this content in such fun, creative and colorful ways that consumers didn’t really care the content was company-generated, causing customers to engage regardless of the source material. Read on to learn how to create sponsored content that actually interests audiences.


Bringing bloggers along for the (bike) ride with Lilly Pulitzer

Every year, Lilly Pulitzer has a brand theme for all its marketing materials and events. This year, it is “Spill the Juice.”

Spill the Juice


#Spillthejuice, the hashtag for the year, goes back to the brand’s origin story, which is the life of Lilly Pulitzer herself.

Lilly Pulitzer was born into New York society and “could’ve lived a fancy life of galas and soirées and black ties and gloves. But she … was a real rule breaker,” Eleni Tavantzis, Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing and Public Relations, Lilly Pulitzer, said, adding that in her early twenties, Pulitzer eloped to Palm Beach, where her husband’s family owned citrus groves.

She eventually started a juice stand using citrus from the grove, and Pulitzer created her first shift dress because she wanted a wild print that would hide the juice stains on her dress — hence the phrase, “Spill the Juice.”

The brand frequently collaborates with fashion bloggers, according to Eleni. To pull the brand’s theme and brand influencers together, the team puts together trips to create powerful brand content.

“We’ve done two this year, two Lilly Spill The Juice influencer trips where we bring some of our favorite fashion bloggers and editors to Palm Beach with us to really experience what Lilly’s Palm Beach was like, which was not stuffy or fancy or full of rules,” Eleni said.

During these influencer trips, the marketers create a lifestyle out of brand ideals and have bloggers live it out — all while wearing Lilly Pulitzer, of course.

Spill the Juice Brand Influencers

Read more…

Customer-Centric Marketing: 5 tips on mining customers for content

May 1st, 2015 1 comment

A blinking cursor on a blank page is a terrifying sight for a writer. It’s like having arachnophobia and someone putting a spider in your hair. The struggle is, in fact, real.

The good news is that, as marketers, we have it easy. Customers are telling you what they want to hear, and it’s only a matter of listening to what they’re saying. Sounds simple, right? I can practically hear everyone mentally (or maybe actually) murmuring, “Duh.”

However, when it comes to talking about tactics for making customers the genesis of content, every marketer I have interviewed for a case study or blog post — and there have been many — has made me dig deeper. That’s because this is an issue so many content creators struggle with in execution.

Whether it’s email, blogs, social media or any of the other seemingly endless channels, the main point is to have a conversation. Be engaging.

I recently wrote a case study for our Email Marketing newsletter with JustAnswer. Seeing as how it’s a service where customers come to the site to ask questions, you would think creating content would be simple. One of the best tips for coming up with content is to simply answer customer questions.

Just Answer blog categories


However, with so many questions being asked and topics including law, mechanics, medical (both humans and animals), plumbing and technology, just to name a few, the options are dauntingly endless, forcing marketers to be creative with their tactics.

Below is bonus material from the case study about how the JustAnswer team approaches content creation — both email and otherwise.

Read more…