David E. Tryder Manager Interactive & Relationship Marketing Dunkin’ Donuts

David E. Tryder Manager Interactive & Relationship Marketing Dunkin’ Donuts

eMarketer Interviews David Tryder, Dunkin Donuts about Facebook

eMarketer: Dunkin’ Donuts ran a two-day Facebook event in January. What was the purpose?

David Tryder: We ran a customer forum on Facebook around our menu of healthy menu items, DDSMART, the “better-for-you” products like egg white flatbread sandwiches, Latte Lite and multigrain bagels.

The first of the year is when everyone is thinking about getting healthier and eating a little bit better, so it was the perfect time to talk to customers about DDSMART—find out how they use it, what they think of it and get suggestions for how we can make it better.

In these times, when everybody’s marketing budget is tight, the Facebook program popped in our minds as a great, cost-effective opportunity. We have more than 370,000 brand fans on our Facebook page now.

“We have more than 370,000 brand fans on our Facebook page.”

For the event, we had brand managers responsible for the DDSMART menu participate, along with Stan Frankenthaler, who’s the head of culinary for all of Dunkin’, they were listening to customers and providing feedback.

So it was a great opportunity for us to test what I see as one of the great benefits of Facebook, which is that it’s a cost-effective way to get real-time feedback from real customers who want to talk to your brand and engage directly.

eMarketer: What was involved in implementation?

Mr. Tryder: We worked with our media relations team and did blogger outreach. We also reached out to our Facebook fans with an invitation and we used our Dunkin’ Perks database, which consists of customers who opt in for Dunkin’ communications. We spread the word about a week before the event and sent a reminder both the Friday before and Monday—the day of the event—through Facebook.

eMarketer: How many people are in the Dunkin’ Perks e-mail database?

Mr. Tryder: Unfortunately, that’s proprietary, but it’s a number that shows e-mail is an effective and very cost-effective marketing tool for us.

eMarketer: Is it more than the 370,000-plus brand fans on the Facebook page?

Mr. Tryder: Yes. [Laughs] Dunkin’ Perks is an opt-in e-mail that is sent about once every three weeks, a combination of national messaging and exclusive offers that we do on a local market basis.

eMarketer: What did you learn from the two-day Facebook event?

Mr. Tryder: What stands out is that customers are interested in engaging directly with the brand in a relevant and honest way.

We got a lot of great feedback in the conversations about the DDSMART menu items—and customers liked the fact that Stan was there answering questions.

Quite honestly, that’s not a big “Aha!” I mean, every brand wants to establish as close a relationship to its fans as it can—the question has always been how do you do that cost-effectively, in a meaningful way that doesn’t just look like more advertising?

This proved that we could do that.

It was a first for us. We launched our Facebook page last year, but we had never taken a proactive stance to use it as a real engagement tool.

The full version of this interview is available on eMarketer’s Total Access subscription site, where every day eMarketer publishes interviews with digital marketing trendsetters and entrepreneurs.