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How Dunkin' Brands brought one-to-one marketing from hype to reality

Dunkin' Brands has long built a name through traditional advertising. But it wanted to personalize marketing with one-to-one marketing methods.

At first blush, companies with established brands and products might seem to have a leg up in their marketing efforts. Consumers can easily identify brands like McDonald's, American Airlines and Dunkin' Brands, and often have established relationships with them.

But at the same time, these companies face uphill challenges: They operate at such scale that they aren't always adept at one-to-one marketing, in which companies create more personalized customer experiences with customers. For Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands, scale and traditional tactics were getting in the way of creating intimate customer experiences with coffee drinkers.

"Dunkin' has been very strong in traditional mass-market broadcast efforts like on TV and radio for the past decade," said John Schue, associate manager of digital marketing and innovation at Dunkin' Brands. "But now we're being challenged in moving to a more personalized one-to-one guest-centered approach as we think about how to engage today's consumer. We had to change our approach."

Dunkin' wanted to modernize and forge more personal relationships with customers based on their purchasing behavior and preferences at key points in the customer lifecycle, whether customers were new to the DD Perks loyalty program, inactive customers or long-standing Dunkin' drinkers. It also wanted to exploit new omnichannel marketing approaches, such as sending coupons in its mobile app or allowing customers to place orders on a mobile device and pick up beverages in stores. But it was hobbled by older technology and data silos.

With its existing marketing technology and customer data residing in a variety of sources -- on the Dunkin' website, in the mobile app, on social media platforms and so on -- the company couldn't get a handle on its customers and prospects and message them effectively. So it turned to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Journey Builder, a customer journey mapping tool within Marketing Cloud that maps entry points that customers take in their path to purchase. Journey Builder also helps segment a company's customer base, automate marketing campaigns and personalize messaging to customer segments.

It's no easy task to get all these systems on the back end to work together to come into one journey.
John Schueassociate manager of digital marketing and innovation, Dunkin' Brands

With Marketing Cloud, Schue said, the company can target consumer segments automatically instead of manually identifying audience segments. "We're no longer constantly pulling lists, evaluating where consumers are in the customer lifecycle and designing campaigns based on these insights," he said. "Now it's all happening within the tool."

As a result of using Marketing Cloud, Dunkin' has seen stronger customer engagement with email messages. There is a 3% increase in DD Perks member engagement in the first month after enrolling in the program. Given 16 million DD Perks members, that uptick can translate into real dollars.

Data from McKinsey & Co. supports this kind of customer experience improvement. Companies have begun to understand the importance of data integration in creating more seamless customer experiences and its impact on the bottom line, regardless of the device they use or where they are in the purchasing process. According to data, there can be a 50% increase in customer satisfaction by breaking down silos and creating more one-to-one marketing initiatives.

"We're trying to identify other moments where we can tap into the customer journey to deliver a more personalized experience to the guest," Schue noted. For Dunkin', one such use is making it easier for customers to use mobile devices to order and interact with the brand.

Roadblocks on the way to omnichannel

Despite successes, Dunkin' encountered some snags along the way. A primary obstacle was the ability to better integrate data from all touchpoints in the customer journey and create a single, unified experience.

In the case of enrolling a customer in the DD Perks program, several data sources have to be integrated, from capturing customer data in a database, then sending it to the Marketing Cloud. Then this information needs to be integrated with the company's loyalty program to generate offers as well as to sync with loyalty badge information so customers can accrue points and build their DD Perks profile. Combining further data from social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are additional steps.

"We had to coordinate back-end systems," Schue said. "It's no easy task to get all these systems on the back end to work together to come into one journey." As a result, Schue recalled, the company decided to remove its free beverage coupon offer from the customer journey mapping process and offer it separately because it would require an investment to better integrate the loyalty program data.

Today, Dunkin' is devising ways to use Journey Builder to engage customers in new channels. But email marketing is only one avenue, or channel, for Dunkin'. Recently, the company launched on-the-go ordering options, which allow customers to place an order on mobile devices, then speed past the line in stores to pick up coffee and a muffin. With Journey Builder, Dunkin' can personalize its messaging to these customers after they place their first order. Dunkin' is also using Journey Builder to re-engage lapsed customers. Dunkin' can also run analytics to better understand customer segments, such as the preferences of loyalty members or patterns in lapsed customers.

As a result, of Marketing Cloud improvements, Dunkin' can send some 700 million personalized email messages to customers, tailoring messaging so it isn't tone-deaf or generic. "We are moving away from the 'mass-market, batch-and-blast approach,'" Schue said. Dunkin' will also use Journey Builder to understand why customers have lapsed. By digging into moments where Dunkin' consumers dropped off and retargeting them anew.

For Dunkin', the personalization began by examining how customers interacted with the website or app. And now, content is more tailored to customers based on their product preferences and other analytics that reside in the loyalty program, which gives Dunkin' information on product preferences, account balance, last activity and so forth. Using that data enables Dunkin' to target messaging more directly to customers based on their purchasing patterns.

"We're realizing the value of making the shift from a brand-centric to a guest-centric approach, and it is paving the way for more one-to-one personalized communication," Schue said.

At the same time, there is widespread flight from many email marketing campaigns, given list fatigue, and company marketing departments need to take heed. A report by Deloitte LLP noted that 69% of respondents are unsubscribing, closing accounts, opting out of emails and deleting apps due to poorly targeted marketing communications. Data from Forrester Research's "Contextual Marketing Imperative" indicated that while 66% of marketing departments believe that they are doing a good job of one-to-one marketing, only 31% of consumers believe they are.

In addition to the dangers of list fatigue, Schue acknowledged that the process is incremental and requires testing and even failure to arrive at lessons learned.

"It's an iterative approach, so it's important to test and learn," Schue said. "We have plans to expand to other channels and go beyond email."

Karalee Slayton, principal product marketing manager for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, agreed that customer journey mapping requires initial steps, testing, then evaluation of what the test reveals.

"Start small. Don't try to boil the ocean," Slayton counseled. "The journey starts when you change your interaction with customers, then test what's working."

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