Last month I outlined the 10 Fundamentals of Adaptive Marketing. Here are 3 real life examples of adaptive marketing done at its best:

Coca Cola Freestyle

According to Millward-Brown, one of the world’s leading brand equity research firms, Coca-Cola is the World’s 6th Most Valuable Brand.

In 2009, the company introduced Coca-Cola Freestyle, a touch screen soda fountain, to the US market. The machine features over 125 different Coca-Cola drink products and custom flavours. It allows consumers to choose from mixtures of flavours of Coca-Cola branded products which are then dispensed individually. Machines are currently located in major Coca-Cola partners and retail locations as a part of a steady roll out to market.

Customers choose a base product, which they can then supplement with additional flavouring. Diet and Zero products remain low or no calorie, even with the flavourings added.

There are a wide range of products and flavours available:

Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola and Caffeine Free Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero; Sprite and Sprite Zero; Powerade ION4 and Zero; Fanta and Fanta Zero; Hi-C;  Minute Maid Lemonade and Minute Maid Light Lemonade; Dasani Still Water and Dasani Sensations; Barq’s and Diet Barq’s,  Vault Red Blitz; Pibb Xtra and Pibb Zero and Dr. Pepper’s.

Flavours include cherry, fruit punch, grape, lime, orange, peach, raspberry, strawberry or vanilla.

Testing began in Georgia, Southern California and Utah in July 2009 and had rolled out to 60+ locations around America by the end of that summer.

One of the largest cinema chains in the USA, Carmike Cinemas, installed Freestyle machines in several markets. These machines included flavours not previously available to the American market including Orange Coke which was previously sold only in Russia and the Baltics as well as flavoured Dasani waters.

The machines transmit supply and demand data to both Coca-Cola and the owner of the retail outlet; including brands sold, times of the day of sales, troubleshooting information and service data.

Coca-Cola deployed machines to 500 more locations in the United States in June 2010 and followed up by implementation to a wide cross-section of universities in the United States. Burger King announced in December 2011 that it plans to implement the Freestyle system in its 850 company-owned restaurants in the USA by the spring of 2012, and is encouraging its franchisees to follow suit.

Undoubtedly Coca-Cola is practicing textbook Adaptive Marketing with Freestyle.

Disney Theme Parks

Walt Disney is one of the most widely recognized brands on the globe and is a great marketing company. If you have ever been to their parks you get a first-hand experience of why they are so successful. One of the secrets to their continued success over the past decade is how the company turns mountains of guest data into strategic insights that drive memorable, relevant guest interactions at every turn.

Disney’s theme park marketing is information-driven, technology-enabled, and practices adaptive marketing.

Disney uses guest knowledge to:

  1. Drive  highly relevant interactions at any given point in time and place.
  2. Expand its reach to connect with guests in new ways.
  3. Anticipate  the needs of their guests.
  4. Create competitive differentiation and strategic advantage.

Tom Boyles, Senior Vice President Global Customer Managed Relationships for the Disney parks and resorts has given conferences at marketing seminars, explaining how they leverage customer data in a real time world.

Here are some of his thoughts:

  • “We know our customer well enough at any point in time or place to know exactly what to do next”.
  • “We are constantly adapting our data collection and marketing practices to improve the customer experience and impact business results”.
  • “It’s not so much about did we get someone to the park. It’s more about did we get them back to the park.”
  • “A customer never met a channel they didn’t like, so we closely manage them all”.
  • “We connect with our customers across all channels and media on their terms”.
  • “No one owns the customer, but everyone owns the moment”.
  • “Our view is that it’s not just customer relationship management, but CCRM: continuous customer relationship management”.

Disney’s mission is to know their customer and act on it.  They have taken it a step further to explicitly define what their customer would like to do next. Although on many occasions the answer could be “nothing,” it’s a great starting point to start to create a customer experience that feels very personalized.

Domino’s Pizza

The Domino´s adaptive marketing system is focused on selling more food. This is done through supporting online ordering throughout brand touchpoints (e.g., primary web site, mobile applications, and Facebook page). Other touchpoints serve marketing needs and raise awareness about new products or the brand in a way that supports their mission.

Nothing they do online is just for the sake of it; everything ties back to that unifying purpose.

Controlled Touchpoints

Domino’s has an important online presence in terms of their own web sites and applications.

  1. The primary web presence for Domino´s includes the ability to read the menu, order online, track orders, and get coupons. It also contains links to all other digital touchpoints.
  2. International sites: Domino´s has a physical presence and web sites in 70 countries.
  3. Pizza Turnaround: Blog site with social media integration tied to the “Oh Yes We Did” marketing campaign about Domino´s pizza.
  4. Show Us Your Pizza: Social sharing site that allows Domino´s fans to upload photos of their pizzas, with the winners getting $500.
  5. Domino´s blog: A company-run blog devoted to all things Domino´s, including food (e.g., pizza, chicken) and other media sites.
  6. Behind the Pizza: Flash-based interactive storytelling with gamification (i.e., explore, collect points, win Domino´s rewards). Although embedded within the blog site, the application is essentially a standalone.
  7. Gift cards site: A site devoted to the Domino’s loyalty program, where users can come, login, find out their rewards status, and manage their rewards´ accounts.
  8. Corporate site: Company information, career site and international and investor relations content.
  9. Investor relations site: Content for Domino´s investors.
  10. Mobile web site: Smartphone optimized version of the site with geared content, design and functionality geared.
  11. iPhone application: ordering and “Pizza tracker” application that allows people to order then track, in real-time, the status of their pizza orders. Place orders on the web, over the phone, or through the app, and then tracks progress.
  12. Android application (UK and Ireland).

Social Media  touchpoints

  • Facebook: Domino´s page on Facebook (3 million “Likes” at time of writing), with an embedded ordering application and links to other online presences (local Dominos Facebook pages, 70 country-specific web sites, games, photos, and videos)
  • Twitter: Presence for Domino´s pizza with over 30,000 followers. Proactive, it contains a mix of promotional content, customer support activity,engagement and fun content.
  • YouTube: Official online video channel for Domino´s, with 300,000 channel views and more than 4 million video views.
  • LinkedIn: Corporate profile of Domino´s on the world’s leading popular professional networking site, with links to corporate staff profiles, 3000+ employee profiles, and job openings within Domino´s.

Third Party Touchpoints

Content on Domino´s exists at many social sites geared towards location-based services. There’s lots of content in the press and blogosphere, given the size and reach of the company.

Examples of third-party touchpoints based on these elements include:

Social media mentions: In addition to Domino’s own social media presences, there are also independent social media mentions about Domino´s (what people say about Domino´s pizza on Twitter). Companies can monitor these streams of information for customer sentiment, or to connect with people on customer service issues.

Location-based services: Every company that has physical outlets needs to pay attention to location-based services and related platforms for user-generated content (Yelp, FourSquare, GoWalla).

Blogosphere: Articles on Domino´s appear in blogs, usually related to news stories, marketing campaigns, or coupons. While this may not be a major part of Dominos’ online presence most of the time, it would become important if there were a significant news story (e.g., the video released of Dominos employees engaging in unseemly behaviour with pizza ingredients).

News: Stories about Domino´s appear in the news, which could have impacts on its digital presence. Social news sites can also be highly relevant when it comes to driving traffic.


Dominos has approximately 10,000 franchise stores spread across all 50 United States and 70 countries, which means lots of customers and lots of employees. Their sites and applications are well-designed, with many social components and feedback channels (e.g., user-generated content, contests, integration of real-time Twitter streams). Consider their pizza tracker…How much more user-centred could you get? The thing most people want to know when they order fast-food delivery is when it’s going to show up; Dominos makes it easy to do this through multiple digital touchpoints.

Their International sites also demonstrate a clear commitment to making great experiences for all of their audiences.

The Pizza Turnaround sites and campaign offer the best example of the connection between Domino´s and its customers. Dominos took feedback from social media channels and elsewhere (e.g., “Your pizza crust tastes like cardboard”), published it, and retooled their entire 50-year-old pizza recipe based on this feedback. It all went up on the Web, in multiple sites, for everyone to see. While many companies struggle to behave like this now, Domino´s was and still is a maverick. It clearly demonstrates that they understand the connection between people and product, and how adaptive marketing and social media can strengthen that connection.

Business processes and technology

Dominos makes significant investments in technology infrastructure and business processes to support everything they do.

The Take Away

By thinking of their digital touchpoints as “the points of execution of their adaptive marketing strategy”, companies develop coherent strategies, reduce execution and management costs, and create better experiences for their customers.