Tools of engagement in hands of customer

Domino’s Pizza is about to test a new tool that will give its customers the opportunity to become media owners and earn themselves some revenue from the brand’s marketing.

Mark Choueke
Mark Choueke

Fans of the Domino’s Pizza brand can download a tool that will enable them to host its advertising on their social network pages, personal websites or blogs. They will then earn 50p for every sale that comes from somebody clicking through to the website from their page, less than orthodox affiliate marketers might expect but still a welcome return.

Several thoughts occur. One is that this move informs several trends that are already rife within marketing. The crowdsourcing debate for example, which has so far been restricted largely to the perimeters of the creative community.

But it also fits nicely with this week’s cover story on the evolving relationship between franchisees and franchisors. Franchisees of brands such as Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s and non-food brands like InterContinental Hotels Group feel more empowered than ever before to complain (and even sue) when they feel the owner brand’s marketing is going awry and costing them revenue.

Could this new move by Domino’s eventually result in customers complaining that their earnings are down because the brand got the marketing wrong?

“Could this new move by Domino’s eventually result in customers complaining that their earnings are down because the brand got the marketing wrong?”

You may laugh but this clever idea is only at the beginning of its evolution. Dan Clays, managing director of BLM Quantum, which created the tool for Domino’s, says the widget allows the brand to retain control of its advertising messages.

It also allows a company to identify genuine brand champions. Last, and perhaps most potently, it helps a brand identify, among its fans, the genuine powerhouses of the internet – those with thousands of Facebook friends as opposed to hundreds; those that are active and influential, what writer and social trend-spotter Malcolm Gladwell might call “connectors”.

This could be the real power of this new tool and others that will follow.

This story isn’t over yet – there will be naysayers (there always are), arguments over whether this represents cheap exploitation and various takes on the technology used in different ways.

Regardless, you can be sure that engagement with the customer, giving the customer the permission and tools to participate, will be at the heart of activities by brands such as Domino’s, Nike and O2 that constantly break new ground in marketing.

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