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Data is now at the core of Domino’s brand strategy, but it wasn’t being fully exploited until just a couple of years ago. 

“The number one consideration for our brand is still ‘arrives hot’ – so if you get that wrong, you don’t have a brand,” said Domino’s CMO, Sarah Barron, at this month’s Festival of Marketing. “But we were, literally, not capitalising on this well of data that was sat underneath us.” 

From the types of deals that tempt customers to buy, or what channels they most frequently use – Barron says that customer data is now invaluable for Domino’s, enabling the company to drive brand strategy, and increase key metrics such as lifetime value. 

So what changes have Domino’s made in order to become data-focused, and what role does data play in sustaining the company’s success?  

Becoming “the Netflix of pizza”

When she first joined Domino’s as CMO in 2020, Barron says that the company “had almost failed to realise that we were a data business.” 

“Eighty five percent of our sales go through online, we’ve got 14 million actives, we have got 70 to 100,000 lines of data – we are fundamentally a data business, but we were acting just like a pizza business,” she said.

Shortly after recruiting Barron, Domino’s also hired digital director Nick Bamber, formerly of Missguided, who Barron says is someone who “really understood how to mine data, and said ‘right, this is a risk if we don’t capitalise on this – it is a massive source of competitive advantage.’” 

“And that’s why we talk about being the Netflix of pizza throughout our business and externally as well,” said Barron. “We’ve already got Blockbuster… we want to be the Netflix of pizza.” 

LTV for app users is 25% higher

With consumers increasingly searching for food online and via apps, the task for Domino’s was to go from simply delivering great pizza to capitalising on the data underneath, as well as to using language around data that everybody in the business – from franchisees to head office – could understand.

“Whether it’s the actives that we’ve got, new customers, how we are reactivating them, how we are stopping them from lapsing, how we are driving their frequency… that is what we surface in every single conversation,” said Barron, a topic she touched on recently on Marketing Week’s This Much I Learned podcast.

Customer cohort analysis also enables the company to look at customers over the longer term, which in turn informs business forecasting. Next, says Barron, comes channel strategy, which is all about asking the question: “Where do we need to get these customers to in order to extract the most value?” 

For Domino’s, the answer is very clear cut.  

“Every day now, it’s our app,” Barron stated. “The lifetime value of a customer when they’re on our app is 25% higher than any other customer. We as a business have gone hell for leather behind that objective: think about our customers, get them on the app. And we have seen some record changes in our numbers which I think is what is making people feel like we are future proofing the business.” 

Impressively, 80% of Domino’s orders are now made through its app – an increase from 50% around 18 months ago.  

“We’ve done that through deals that push them to the app, we’ve done that by making our experience when they get there much easier,” said Barron, also explaining how this cohort of customers tends to return and repeat purchase, too.  

“You can see that the predicted lifetime value increases from those customers over time, and therefore we can statistically prove to our business that investing now to get those customers that are important to us onto our app will drive lifetime value – and that’s what informs business planning.” 

Embedding a culture of testing, and backing up media spend  

Another change for Domino’s has been in recruitment, with the creation of a ‘black-belt product team’ as Barron puts it. 

“[People] that have worked in on-site ecommerce for many years, who know what they’re doing in this space, who are constantly multivariate testing different types of things on our app to optimise the experience and extract value.” 

This testing doesn’t have to be complicated, either, she explained. “It’s the most basic things, like recommending a deal to [customers] when they land or when they’ve put stuff in their basket. Pop up a page that offers them other things that they can choose or that they might be interested in. We’re constantly testing and when we’ve got that customer onto the app, [it’s about] what conversations are we then having with them to make sure that we can extract the most value?” 

This culture extends to media spend as well. The company uses a third-party media investment analysis model from Ebiquity, which Barron says is to ensure that “every penny is really well spent.” 

“Any media plan we want to do, we push through them so that they can help us understand the long-term, and that is what’s really driven some significant increases for us in return on investment. Which again, just means I can stand up in front of the franchisees, and based on data and fact, say ‘we’re making your money work hard for you and therefore I would like to suggest that we spend more on this.’”

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