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How Domino?s Pizza leverages mobile to reinvent customer interactions

PHILADELPHIA ? One of the most recognizable brands in America, Domino?s Pizza is using technology to drive better experiences and reinvent its brand to interact with consumers in the digital age, a company executive explained at eTail East 2014. 

Between 2006 and 2008 Domino's was in crisis due to plummeting sales and a less than stellar image thanks in large part to a lackluster product. The company underwent a Renaissance, starting with a public admission that its pizza was not up to par, and revamped the entire menu and its ingredients. Just as important, was how the brand got the new product to its customers. Through its pizza tracker and builder tools, the company made online and mobile ordering a cornerstone of its business.

?Marketing is really helping us reinvent what is a fifty-year old plus brand,? said Dennis Maloney, vice president of multimedia marketing with Domino?s.

??Our pizza tastes like cardboard? was a phenomenal national television branding campaign focused around the concept that in this world of deceit and mistrust we need to connect with our customers by being unexpectedly real and transparent.?

?We promised we were going to fix it, and we changed everything about our business.?

?That reinvention extended beyond just marketing and it actually extended all the way to the ordering platforms; we needed to reinvent how we were interacting with consumers because they were reinventing how they interact with brands,? he said.

Recipe for success
The pizza turnaround campaign was based upon transparency. While the brand had the overall goal of transparency when it came to its product, the marketing team also recognized that the best way to communicate that transparency was through digital products. So instead of simply creating television spots that told consumers the brand was transparent, Domino?s built tools to facilitate this message.

Turnaround TV spot

It?s newest iPad app  features a 3-D pizza builder, joining successful tools and initiatives like Pizza Tracker, Pizza Hero and customer pizza profiles, as the latest example of how the company is using digital utility and user experience as the basis of its marketing efforts.

The digital focus transcended marketing communications. Ordering pizza is Domino's entire business. Maloney said during a discussion at eTail East 2014 that investing in digital didn't just represent a way to reflect and promote the company's new commitment to transparency, it also provided a better ordering experience.

Digital implications
Domino?s digital success is also rooted in not limiting its goals to the pizza industry, as consumers don?t change their expectations from category to category and notice any brand that leads transformation. These companies experience growth because they keep up with the pace of consumer behaviors.

Pizza Tracker is about tracking the progress of an order, but it is also the ultimate in accountability and transparency. Pizza profiles are the ultimate in easy ordering, as consumers can order a pizza in five clicks or 30 seconds. While these are all digital ideas or tools, they are based in a brand philosophy that goes much deeper, as all consumers appreciate openness and honesty.

Mr. Maloney executed a live demonstration of the revamped in-app ordering system the brand calls ?Dom? which will soon integrate voice with pizza profiles. Users will be able to reorder historical favorites without having to create a pizza from scratch and can order practically hands free.

The update is expected to take place this week.

These digital tools haven?t been designed solely to sell more pizzas based on cool factor, but are living devices of the company's overall brand philosophy.

?Forty-five percent of our sales are coming through our digital channels,? Mr. Maloney said.

?Technology is becoming a core part of our business; in order to win we had to enter this space?

?So what does this mean for us? We have to use technology to drive better experiences that drive better results,? he said.

 Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York