Dunkin' Donuts Engaging With Mobile Customers to Drive Success

Making your company's mobile strategy a success means laying out a plan to connect with your customers so that you can bring them back again and again.


PHILADELPHIA—Mobile users are everywhere, and if your business doesn't do something to entice and engage them, it certainly means that many opportunities—and sales—are lost.

Just ask Jackie Keown, the senior field marketing manager for Dunkin' Brands in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C, who works every day with her team to find new and successful ways to connect with customers in the company's Dunkin' Donuts franchise stores.

Keown told her story Dec. 3 here at the Eagles Mobility Summit at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, where the future of product marketing and customer engagement was the topic of the night.

"We consider every customer as a potential mobile customer," said Keown, who participated as part of a panel on the evolution of mobile marketing. Dunkin' Donuts wanted to find a way to create a customer loyalty program that would reward customers for their patronage, but it wanted to develop something more than traditional programs that give free food with a purchase or a similar perk, she said.

So during the 2013-2014 National Football League season, Dunkin' Donuts began a "We Win, You Win" program that rewards customers who use their mobile app with a free medium-sized hot or iced coffee drink on the day after an Eagles victory. The DD Perks app has been around for about two years, but the free coffee tie-in with Eagles wins has caused customer participation to soar, she said.

"We don't make you buy anything," she said. "It's really just to celebrate the team's win."

The free coffee offer is available only to customers who participate using Dunkin' Donuts' iOS or Android DD Perks apps within the range of the company's approximately 570 franchise stores in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, said Keown. The deal is sent out to mobile app users after midnight following a team win.

"It's turned out to be hugely successful," she said. "We really had no idea if it was going to be a success or not."

Because Dunkin' Donuts asks its franchise owners to give away the coffee products to customers, it has not always been an instant win with franchisees, she said. Part of the company's work is continuing to develop the program to help franchisees grow sales of other products when customers come in to redeem the free coffee offers, she added.

"Franchisees can see the end game when they are giving coffee away," said Keown.

For customers, there have been upward of 250,000 redemptions for the free Eagles coffee offers each week after a win.

Without the connection with the app, the free coffee offer would have been more difficult because it could have been handled differently in each franchise location, she said. But with the use of the app, the offer was much easier to organize and send out each week.

"You need the support of the franchisees to make it all work," said Keown. "It's a balance."

One big lesson has been that most of the free coffee redemptions are for iced coffee each week, mostly by younger customers, she said. That's been an interesting demographic to see pop up, according to Keown.

"That's the consumer of the future, so we have to do this to help build our future customer base," she said.

The Eagles Mobility Summit was also sponsored by Extreme Networks, which in 2013 installed a massive WiFi system inside the Eagles' stadium that provides fast services to some 70,000 users at the same time during games, and by its partner PCM. Extreme Networks, which is the WiFi infrastructure partner of the NFL, has also installed similar systems for the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, and other professional and college teams.

The NFL has been encouraging all of its 32 teams to use WiFi analytics data to better serve the technology needs of their fans at games in their stadiums and to make improvements that will increase fan enjoyment and engagement during the games.

The idea is to find ways to keep fans filling stadium seats rather than staying home to watch the game on big-screen televisions. That means providing upgraded wireless capabilities so fans can share their comments, photos or videos of live game highlights and lowlights with their friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks, as well as other upgraded services, including new custom apps that provide detailed information about in-stadium concession stand locations where lines are shorter or apps that can direct a fan to an empty parking spot as the fan's vehicle enters the stadium lot.