B2B Social Media Lessons From Domino’s “Pizza Turnaround” Campaign

What if your product wasn’t good? What if your customers tell you that your product isn’t any good? What do you do? The natural reaction is likely to get defensive and tout the aspects of the product that you think are strong and shy a way from conversations that are negative about your product. This means that social media marketing for your business is likely out of the question. However, what if you had the opposite reaction and tackled the negative head on. Domino’s Pizza did.

Over the holidays in the US Domino’s Pizza launched more than just a campaign. It made a dramatic change in its business, and one that all B2B companies can learn from. Domino’s was tired of hearing customer feedback and research that told them that people didn’t like the taste of their pizza. In response to this Domino’s completely changed all the the ingredients of their pizza in an effort to improve it for their customers. Think about this point as it applies to your B2B business.

Does your company care enough about its customers to rebuild a bad product from scratch? Secondly, if you did rebuild it what type of response would this change generate from customers?

Domino’s also knew it was not enough just to change their pizza. They knew that for this new recipe to succeed they needed to tell people about the change and encourage them to try this new pizza. To do this they leveraged traditional advertising as well as a social microsite: PizzaTurnAround.com. This microsite holds many lessons for B2B social media professionals.

B2B Social Media Lessons From Domino’s

Lesson 1: Be Honest With Your Customers – People hate being lied to. The only thing worse than being lied to is being disregarded. At the heart of Domino’s new effort is a simple acknowledgment that for a while they ignored customers and sold bland or bad tasting pizza. It seems like a simple sentiment, but it has powerful effects. Try doing it yourself. What would happen if you told a customer the reason a new release of a software product was being delayed was due to the fact that a couple developers were out because they recently had a new addition to their family? Isn’t that response likely to generate a better response from the customer that some line about how all of the amazing new features are taking longer to test?

Lesson 2: Use Third Party Social Media Endorsements To Boost Credibility

B2B companies want people to say only great things about their products. This is an unrealistic expectation. No matter how hard an organization may try, it can’t make everyone happy. There are always going to be people who don’t support your product or your organization. Conversely there are people who will always support you. The people that are really important are the ones in the middle. Think about the last time you bought something from Amazon. Was it the 5 star customer rating that sold you? It was likely the 3.5 star rating that offered deep insights into the pros and cons of the product.

How do you move the people in the middle to your side? They need to be convinced by other people who were in the middle and now have begun to support your product. Domino’s knew this. They included a live Twitter search stream on PizzaTurnAround.com (see image above) as a way to help convince people that are on the fence about trying the new pizza. Are all of the Tweets positive? No, but they are all credible.

Lesson 3: Mix Selling and Lead Generation Directly With Social Media

Sales and social media go together. Don’t listen to people who tell you they don’t. In this Domino’s example we can see that they have put an advertisement for their new pizza with a call to action on the top right of the microsite. Their goal is to get people to try their new product. For this to happen, they have to make it easy for people to do it. Do you have direct sales or lead generation tied to your social media activities? If not, why? To be effective, social media and sales needs to work together.

Being Remarkable is About Doing What Others Won’t
While there are many B2B social media lessons that can be learned from this Domino’s campaign, the most important is likely the simplest. To be remarkable, to be a company people talk about, to command respect, your organization has to be willing to do things for its customers that no one else in your industry would.

What other lessons did you take away from this Domino’s campaign? Should B2B companies adopt this approach to product improvement?

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this. On the weekend I happened to see the new Domino’s commercial explaining the change and I was really impressed. I think this is a great example of how the use of social networking can provide businesses with valuable feedback, and in Domino’s case, they actually addressed the issue head on (eventually).

  2. Neal says

    This whole advertising campaign is a terrible idea for a a few simple reasons:

    1. Dominos is not in the business of making high quality pizzas. Their strengths are speed of delivery, an almost ubiquitous presence across the country, and low prices. If they start selling themselves as a high quality pizza chain, they’re now in competition with far better local restaurants. People who are looking for cheap (albeit bland) pizza will go elsewhere and those looking for the best taste will never accept Dominos simply because they do not have the resources, methods attention to craft associated with local pizza parlors.

    2. Why would anyone trust Dominos to self-correct if they’ve just admitted that their product was terrible? The company has implied that they can’t be trusted to put out a good product after failing to do just that for years.

    3. Dominos has lowered the bar drastically. They’re selling something that’s better than something bad which they themselves made. The message is: “congratulate us we’re no longer incompetent”. Would anyone really buy food that is marginally better than something terrible?

    I’ve worked on 2.0 stuff for awhile and digging a hole like this seems unwise. They will get buzz in the short term but in the end will this really yield any long term trust/investment in the product?

  3. says

    Domino’s approach is an example of best practice public relations at work: listening to stakeholders and changing an aspect of the organisation to more effectively meet stakeholder needs/wants (two-way symmetrical in technical terms…).

    Fantastic to see an organisation doing this. Will it result in greater stakeholder (i.e. customer) satisfaction and increased sales? Only time will tell…

    Very well articulated post, as well.

  4. says

    Good on Domino’s for embracing social media, listening to what their customers want and trying to make their offering ‘better’. You’re damned if you do/don’t.

  5. Jeff Ohm says

    There are more lessons to be learned:

    I live 3/4 of a mile from a Dominos Pizza franchise. Good, bad, or indifferent, I have purchased a quick pie online before picking it up. I even signed up for text alerts and e-mail notifications after I ordered. It’s close, pretty cool and pretty easy.

    But, ironically, given my proximity to the store, not one piece of DM, FSI, text or e-mail alert I received came to me with the pizzaturnaround url.

    As a consumer, my relationship is with my local franchise, and not “nameless Dominos corporate”. As a local customer, it’s a real shame I heard about this campaign via a third party blog.

    So, additional lessons to be learned:

    1) Franchisees always need to implement national plans locally.
    2) Corporate America needs to leave their ivory towers to get a better understanding of how best to support the franchisees.
    3) If as Neal says, Dominos wants to compete with a local pizzeria, how can they ever establish a better relationship with me than the one I have with Papa Gorgio if I don’t hear from them that they changed a recipe?
    4) Social Media should be practiced with a completely integrated approach and not in a vacuum. My guess is the print agency and SM agency didn’t work this out.

    Not empowering the franchisee was a big miss.

  6. says

    Kipp,

    your points (1-4) are valid but I am not sharing the love as it applies (or doesn’t apply) to Dominos new campaign.

    Few, beyond us marketing folks, are going to stumble across http://www.pizzaturnaround.com because they bookmarked http://www.dominos.com.

    Yes, there’s a link to ‘pizzaturnaround’ at the bottom of the page…way below the fold, under the huge ORDER NOW button. But what they have done is relegated all those wonderfully honest Tweets to a deserted island on the Interweb.

    Let’s revisit this in 90-days and see if the campaign is still running or if they go back to “bland pizza within 30 minutes or less”. This is, after all, what built the empire.

    Pat

  7. says

    i thought dominos had a genius idea with this campaign! way to highlight the negative, listen to consumers and make the changes that were wanted and needed.

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