When I go into my local Starbucks, I’ll usually ask for a “large” chai, or coffee. The word “venti,” which they use to indicate their largest size, just can’t make its way out of my mouth.
Something about fake foreign languages maybe. So, it means 20, as in twenty ounces. There’s a pretentiousness to the sizing that I just can’t bring myself to buy into.
There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts in the small college town I live in, and I have no problem asking for a large coffee there. In Dunkin’ Donuts, a large is a large. There are also at least eight or nine other coffee places in town (it’s a highly caffeinated place). Most of them are better experiences than either Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. A few are cheaper than Dunkin’ Donuts.
The first that struck me immediately is that the site uses a secure protocol (https) throughout. I’m not sure why. There are no forms to fill out on the front page of the site. Do the folks who work on their web pages understand why a secure protocol exists? Maybe they have a reason for what they do. They are getting pages indexed in the search engines, but it does look like they could use someone with some SEO knowledge taking a serious look at their pages.
The other thing that I noticed was that it’s all about the coffee. The focus of their site definitely isn’t about donuts, but rather the dunkin’. From the coffee cup logo, to the page title that tells us “Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee | Buy Coffee Beans Online.”
Now a company that spends $75 million a year on advertising is pretty serious about being noticed. And a pretty smart campaign on the Yankees web site a couple of years ago shows they have some folks working with them who are internet savvy.
Of course, even very large companies stumble sometimes. A web page titled What I Would Do If I Were CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts (no longer available) talks about a marketing nightmare Dunkin’ Donuts ran into back in 1999, when the New York Post ran a picture of some mice feasting on donuts in the window of a New York Dunkin Donuts’s franchise. The company quickly became the butt of jokes on the David Letterman show. How would you react if this was your company? The writer of this article has some good ideas. Dunkin Donuts probably got it wrong. But, it looks like they’ve put it behind them, and learning from your mistakes is valuable in itself.
I remember the “time to get up to make the donuts commercials” that Dunkin’ Donuts used for years. Back then, it did seem to be about the donuts. I don’t see those commercials anymore. Here are a few articles that look at some of the strategies that the company has used in the last few years.
It’s Not About the Doughnuts
A Fast Company look at Dunkin’ Donuts, notes that it’s not about the experience, but rather speed and price. Faster and cheaper than Starbucks, it’s a “hit and run” kind of place.
A Java Jolt For Dunkin’ Donuts
Last December, Business Week took a look at the expansion plans of the Coffee and Donut Giant.
Some interesting observations here on marketing segmentation, and placement (everywhere, apparently), and how the focus is the coffee, and not the food. Thoughtful article.
Regardless of those articles, I wonder about their online approach. It seems like some of the smartest internet marketing for Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t even by Dunkin’ Donuts. For a look at how a blog can help a business, see: More on the Dunkin’ Donuts Blog
A few weeks ago, Search Engine Journal’s Loren Baker took a close look at the local search strategy of Dunkin Donuts. Or is that a lack of strategy? In Dunkin Donuts Doesn’t Get Local Search Marketing, he pinpoints some of the things that Dunkin’ Donuts could do to make their focus on being everywhere work more to their advantage.
It wouldn’t take much of that $75 million per annum advertising budget to fix some of the SEO issues on the Dunkin’ Donuts web site. Maybe the new owners will consider it.