Courtney Eckerle

How Dunkin’ Donuts Increased Mobile Engagement Through Customer Relationships

November 24th, 2015

“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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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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