First, a little background about me and my relationship to pizza…I love it! I grew up eating Domino’s in the 80s in Michigan. In college, I ate Domino’s every week. But now, I live literally 2 blocks from a Domino’s, and I have NEVER bought one in the last ten years. There is one simple reason, the quality and taste is poor. And, it’s been that way for a very long time.
Which brings me to the Domino’s Pizza’s new marketing campaign – the Pizza Turnaround. Clearly, they’ve invested significant resources on TV and the web to make this happen. I applaud the spirit and effort. The fact that they feature President Patrick Doyle saying “there comes a time where you know you have to make a change” shows that this initiative came from the top.
The commercial is well-done and is, I believe, authentic. You see Domino’s management squirming from comments on Twitter and in focus groups – all negative opinions about the taste. Then, the company leaps into action to create a new pizza, returning to the door steps of their worst critics (by the way – those critics are not that harsh) to demonstrate that they’ve listened and changed. Finally, we see that the critics love the new pizza (of course), and everyone goes home happy.
Bravo! Now, that’s worth rewinding my Tivo to watch. It’s courageous to tell the world your product is not that good. I even tweeted that they get Social Media and created this new hashtag (#theygetsm). But, then I thought about it some more and visited their website and thought – “What happens if people don’t really like the new pizza? What happens if people try it once, don’t think it’s good enough, and don’t come back again? Then what?”
Here’s what I would suggest to Patrick Doyle:
1) Continue to listen to your customers — I know it’s Social Media 101, but not listening to their customers and pizza lovers got them into this mess to begin with. The emphasis is on the word “continue.” Just watching their #newpizza twitter feed seems like the jury is still out on whether folks will like the pizza. A big improvement on the crust, but others are saying the rest is the same. How many people eat the pizza just for the crust?
2) Make the process even more transparent — the Twitter feed on the home page is a great start, but how about letting people leave reviews, post pictures, make suggestions.
3) Let your customers have a voice — because, after all, they already do. Just make it more participatory by allowing them to rate and comment on new pizza recipe suggestions. You might even get some great product ideas. If you get crazy with this, hold a contest where the most popular idea generator gets a free trip to the Domino’s headquarters and gets to create a new pizza of the month.
4) Make the social part of your site an enduring asset — build it into their main site, not a separate microsite. Today, visitors come to the Pizza Turnaround site and are entertained once, but they will probably never come back. Give them a forum to voice their opinions and a place for them to talk to each other, get timely news and deals, and most importantly, engage with them, and they might just return. Remember, allowing user generated content leads to unique web pages = SEO traffic.
5) Innovate and go where your customers are — create a iphone app for customers to place orders and check in on expected delivery times. Build a Hungry for Pizza app on Facebook and let teens and college students pool money and order pizza together.
I hope Domino’s turnaround leads to a good 180 degree turn and not a 360 degree spin. It’s a good start, one that deserves a good finish.