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Dunkin Donuts Marketing Strategy: A Deep Dive

Dunkin Donuts is one of the most recognized brands on the face of the earth. Since starting out in Quincy (Massachusetts) as a modest coffee shop in 1950, it has redefined an entire industry and built a community of loyal fans. As fascinating as its journey to the top is, I bet you want to know about Dunkin Donuts’ marketing strategy, in particular.

It’s a textbook example of how keeping the big picture in mind pays off when adding new products and expanding into new markets. No wonder it’s recommended reading in marketing courses worldwide. 

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how Dunkin Donuts has honed its marketing strategy over the years to stay competitive to the present day. 

Let’s dive in.


Dunkin Donuts Market Analysis

To start with, here’s an overview of Dunkin Donuts’ worldwide business:

  • Revenue – $1.25 billion (2020)
  • Global presence – 13,200 outlets
  • Markets – 40 countries
  • US market share – 26% 
  • Customer loyalty – Ranked #1 by market research firm Brand Keys in 2021

Dunkin Donuts’ Target Audience

Before the 1990s, Dunkin Donuts was seen as the coffee place for regular, blue-collar workers. Over time, it added donuts, bagels, and other breakfast fare, which were go-to options for office goers heading to work or a quick mid-day bite.

By the early 2000s, Dunkin Donuts decided to go after a new demographic – students and younger people serving healthy options like oatmeal and whole-grain sandwiches. Today, Dunkin Donuts has a fairly target audience across age groups and income categories. 

Read also: 18 Marketing Strategies & 10 Examples From Top Brands

Dunkin Donuts Marketing Mix

Dunkin Donuts uses a multichannel marketing mix to cater to the needs of customers. This includes traditional channels and digital channels to leverage the mass appeal built over decades of successful campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at its marketing mix

1. Pricing 

Dunkin Donuts has always had a multi-tier pricing strategy. At the lower end, it offers on-the-go meal options for as little as $2. For the more affluent customer base, the brand offers higher-priced options like large espressos and lattes. You can also opt for combos that combine both but are lighter on the pocket. 

2. Place 

You’ll likely find a Dunkin’ Donuts outlet in almost any major city of the world. No surprises there – the company was among the first in the fast-food industry to adopt the franchise model. It generally sets up shop in busy areas, turning millions of daily commuters around the world into loyal fans. The warm and comfy ambiance draws people in.

3. Product

Besides the usual fare, Dunkin Donuts is known for its seasonal specials, many of which were developed based on direct customer feedback. The company runs surveys on social media and in-store to crowd-source ideas on new flavors and combos. In recent years, it has also worked with influencers like Charli DiAmelio to come up with co-branded signature drinks.

The delivery experience has also evolved, thanks to app-based pre-ordering and two-way drive-through at many locations.


4. Promotion

In 2019, Dunkin Donuts rebranded itself as simply Dunkin’. This was to signify that it had evolved from a fast-food restaurant to an ‘on-the-go’ one. Though it didn’t drop donuts from the menu, it now has fewer options. The company logo still has a dual pink and orange color scheme.

However, in line with its evolution from a friendly neighborhood coffee shop to a global beverage and merchandise brand, there has been a clear break with its earlier messaging.

For example, in 2006, Dunkin paid tribute to the work ethic of its largely office-going audience with its ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ campaign. That changed to fun and entertainment with the ‘Charlie’ campaign of 2020.

Read also: 9 Free Marketing Strategies to Scale Your Small Business

Dunkin Donuts’ Traditional Marketing Strategy

As a nearly 75-year-old brand, Dunkin Donuts has long used traditional marketing, like TV advertisements and billboards, sponsorships, and local marketing campaigns. These channels are part of a nuanced marketing strategy aimed at creating brand awareness and loyalty at the hyper-local, regional, and national levels.

Today, the company is investing in multi-platform campaigns, including broadcast TV shows, exclusive live streams, social media, and branded merchandise. This approach has helped it reach younger audiences, particularly in the US.

Read also: Top Retail Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business

Dunkin Donuts Social Media Marketing Strategy


Dunkin Donuts was quick to recognize TikTok’s potential as a growth platform. Thanks to a mix of influencer marketing and user-generated content campaigns, it has acquired over 3 million followers on the platform. The company prefers to partner with up-and-coming content creators to increase its reach and revenue. It also features the top-performing influencers in its branded TV ads.

For example, in collaboration with Charlie D’Amelio, Dunkin Donuts co-created two signature drinks called the Charli and the Charli Cold Foam around 2020. The TikTok star and Hollywood star Ben Affleck have also featured in its branded TV commercials. 

It has also found success on Instagram and has many signature hashtags to its name. As of today, it has some 2 million followers on the platform. It has applied the lessons from its Instagram campaigns across other platforms.

Read also: 7 Secret Dealership Marketing Tactics By The Top Guys

Dunkin Donuts’ Digital Advertising Strategy

According to Statista, digital ads accounted for $8.11m of the company’s total ad spend in September 2021 – roughly twice as much as Starbucks. Like its TV and billboard ads, Dunkin’s search ads, display ads, and social media ads use bright colors, images, and less text to communicate the offer.

Moreover, the company has also been running integrated campaigns in partnership with brands like Amazon and Discovery.


For example, it created a skill for Alexa with Amazon that lets users ask questions related to Dunkin Donuts’ business timeline. The Discovery campaign included a branded ‘experience’ on Xbox complemented by TV promotions, social media contests, and branded giveaways. 

Read also: Interesting Insights From Samsung’s Marketing Strategy

Dunkin Donuts Merchandise Marketing Strategy

Dunkin’ went through an expensive rebrand in 2018 because it had diversified in a big way into branded clothing, cosmetics, and other products. However, the company believes the investment is worth it as it can now expand in new directions.

That’s not all – it also reinforces brand affinity each time somebody uses or is exposed to these products. This means they are more likely to walk into a Dunkin Donuts outlet than otherwise.

Dunkin Donuts’ Email Marketing Strategy

The company runs a weekly promotional email campaign providing updates on all the latest deals. You can also opt-in to the DD Perks rewards program via email link.

Upon registration, you can download the associated mobile app that lets you order your favorite beverages on the go. If you already have the app, the company sends you personalized offers based on your purchase history.

Dunkin Donuts’ Mobile App Marketing Strategy

The DD Perks app takes the rewards experience mobile, giving you access to exclusive offers, contests, and contactless ordering options.  

CRM: The Driving Force Behind Dunkin Donuts’ Marketing Strategy

The US beverage market is highly competitive, with players like Starbucks and McDonalds dominating. Consistency is a key factor for Dunkin Donuts in retaining its traditional customers even as it woos a younger audience. Over the years, the company has been investing in CRM tools to automate key elements like the DD Perks loyalty program.

This has enabled it to provide personalized menus to customers based on their purchase history and demographic data. EngageBay enables you to segment your audiences, create dynamic messaging, track engagement, and make strategic changes.

Read also: How Netflix Marketing Wins Audience Every Time

Dunkin Donuts Marketing Strategy: Lessons for Small Businesses 

If you’re a small business owner, there are several lessons you can learn from Dunkin Donuts’ proven marketing strategy. Despite its scale, the core principles apply to businesses of any size.

1. Know your audience

You may have a great product, but you may not see much traction unless you can tell your target customers what’s in it for them. The success of Dunkin Donuts’ marketing strategy derives from its clearly defined customer personas, which translate into effective messaging. Segment your customers properly based on online activity and preferences data to create similar results.

Next, map the customer journey and identify the key touch points where they interact with you. This should give you plenty of insights to develop tailored messaging.

EngageBay helps you identify where your customers are coming from, their interests, and how they respond to each offer or promotion. This includes email open rates, social media shares, and SMS outreach. It integrates all the insights into a single dashboard so you can capitalize on new trends and opportunities as they emerge.

2. Highlight quality and affordability in your messaging 

Dunkin Donuts’ messaging focused on quality and affordability to compete with rival Starbucks. It drove repeat purchases and increased average order value by creating pricing tiers. This element of Dunkin Donuts’ marketing strategy can be useful if you want to get customers to buy more categories of products every time they visit.

As an incentive, you can offer combos or bundles, free shipping, onboarding support, etc., depending on the industry you’re in. A combination of affordable pricing and value-added benefits can drive sales and revenues for your small business.

3. Leverage a mix of content marketing, email, and social media

Back in the 1950s, Dunkin Donuts likely relied on word–of–mouth to attract new customers and franchisees in the initial phase. If you’re just getting started in business or have a modest marketing budget, focus on organic content marketing, emails, and social media.

This will help you build brand awareness and reach out to new audiences. Run a mix of both inbound and outbound campaigns to attract and qualify leads and nurture them effectively. 

For example, you can create keyword-rich blogs or social media posts on popular topics related to your niche. Next, use dedicated landing pages offering downloadable guides or checklists to get access to visitors’ email addresses. Finally, use drip email campaigns to nurture and convert them into paying customers.

Cold emailing can be effective for lead generation as long as it’s backed by proper research. Use an Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy to identify high-value prospects and reach out to key decision-makers. With EngageBay, you can email select people from your contact lists, track engagement, and increase the odds of conversion.

4. Forge partnerships with other businesses 

By building relationships with local business owners, you can offer exclusive discounts to each other’s customers. This can help you overcome some of the drawbacks of paid advertising. The key is to be strategic when setting up such partnerships.

Make sure a potential partner’s products or service offerings are aligned with your own. This enables you to create effective promotions that complement the other and vice versa. You can also offer bundled or package deals to drive growth.

5. Listen to feedback 

Real-world customer feedback -critical feedback in particular – can help you improve your business like nothing else can. Like Dunkin Donuts, you can build customer feedback forms on your website, landing pages, and other channels. This can pinpoint any strategy or process-related problems affecting customer satisfaction. 

EngageBay offers email templates and web forms to help you capture customer feedback and make use of it most effectively.  

Read also: Get The Best Out of These Powerful Marketing Buzzwords


The big takeaway from Dunkin Donuts’ marketing strategy for small businesses is that it couldn’t have achieved all it did without using customer data efficiently. As a small business, you need to invest strategically in tools that can act as ‘eyes and ears’ when it comes to customer experience. 

EngageBay offers a comprehensive all-in-one sales, marketing, and customer support automation solution that empowers you to proactively anticipate and meet customer needs. With seamless multichannel data in one place, you can make quick and effective decisions that take your business to the next level of growth. 

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