Dunkin’ Donuts’ Loyalty Marketing Has ‘Real-Time’ Needs

hudler-dunkinThe use of data tied to a consumer’s brand loyalty remains data-driven “gold” to marketers. And as addressability propagates across digital and offline channels, the importance of a loyalty strategy only strengthens.

In early July, Alliance Data’s data-management and marketing company, Epsilon, announced (see the release) that it had been chosen as the technology platform for Dunkin’ Donuts new loyalty program, known as “DD Perks,” scheduled to roll out later this year.

Scott Hudler, VP of global consumer engagement for Dunkin’ Brands, discussed the decision and loyalty marketing today.

AdExchanger: What were some of the triggers for creating the DD Perks loyalty program?

SCOTT HUDLER: We have an incredibly passionate consumer base today. We want to make sure that we are listening to what they are saying and evolving to meet their needs. We felt that we needed a structured, national loyalty program.

We know consumers, they have a lot of choices out there — whether for coffee or baked goods or whatever. And, we feel Dunkin’ is clearly the best choice, but we feel like having a structured loyalty program is just one more way to reward those customers and have them visit more frequently. What attracted us, specifically, to Epsilon was the fact they are clearly a leader in the space with great rankings from some of the third parties like Forrester. They have a great deal of relevant experience from both a retail standpoint — and some flex-retail situations — as well as franchisee experience. They also have full-service marketing and technology components and are one of the leaders on the technology using real-time points and rewards processing.

In the end, we did our homework and talked to a lot of their clients and we received really encouraging information so that’s how we arrived at the choice of Epsilon.

What are the metrics of loyalty?  Can you share anything about the data points that you will be looking for?

We wouldn’t want to share any specifics but I would just go back to what I said earlier. We look at the consumer base and there are a number of options for them to consider when making the decision on where to get their coffee, whether that’s in the morning or the afternoon. We wanted to not only reward them, but provide incentives, and ways to drive frequency and customer retention. [The data points are] pretty much the ones that everybody looks at. We look at them probably slightly differently than, say, another QSR concept might, but the frequency and retention are the two key main drivers in the loyalty space.

Is paid media becoming a part of your loyalty marketing world?

As a way to drive acquisition or awareness?


Without giving too much away, I think we will definitely be [active with paid media] when we are ready to launch this. Consumers will absolutely know it.

Does Dunkin’ Donuts see loyalty marketing in the CRM bucket?

Yes, that’s where every marketer wants to be — where they know exactly who is buying, when they are buying, what they are buying and what triggers they need to make them potentially buy more. We see it the evolution of driving a more comprehensive CRM opportunity with Dunkin’.

Looking across digital channels, what’s hot for Dunkin’ Donuts? Mobile, perhaps?

We launched a mobile app last year and have been driving social media for quite some time. We definitely see the convergence of those two and we have built in acquisition opportunities there. We use both of those channels with our traditional marketing today.

When we have a new [loyalty] product, we highlight it through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest — all the different platforms. We definitely use them to drive it from an acquisition standpoint, from an awareness standpoint — and in mobile, too. We’ve been really pleased with mobile so far, and for a brand that’s really dealt for consumers on the go, we think mobile is the absolute perfect setup.

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