Should You Up Your Digital Game in 2015? Why One CEO Says Yes

Getting or staying ahead of the possibilities provided by mobile and other digital platforms in 2015 should be high on the agenda of any business chief, whether they’re running a consumer-facing company or a business-to-business enterprise.

Domino’s Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle exemplifies this new mandate. America’s top pizza brands are using a new focus on online and mobile ordering and other digital touch points to continue to grab share from one another but, especially, from the thousands of independent pizza shops that always have been a big part of the fabric of the pizza industry in the United States.

“Customers have shown us they want access to the brand through technology, and they want it anytime, anywhere they are no matter what screen is in front of them.”

And arguably, Domino’s ranks No. 1 in digital engagement and expertise among its peers, with Pizza Hut, the largest seller in the business, trying to keep up, and No. 3 Papa John’s trailing in digital legerdemain as well.

“What customers have shown us is that they want access to the brand through technology, and they want it anytime, anywhere they are no matter what screen is in front of them, whether they’re driving their Ford, in their living room or on a laptop or mobile phone,” Doyle says.

“They want to be able to access the brand through technology. And we have pretty drastically changed our model over the last five to seven years to accommodate that.”

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Domino’s began 2014 with an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas about a pizza-ordering app for Ford’s Sync infotainment system and ended this year with its first national ad campaign focusing on digital technology, with a 30-second TV spot promoting the introduction of its Siri-like “Dom” mobile voice ordering app.

“The last few years, we’ve been growing faster than anyone else in the category,” Doyle said. Digital ordering “has given us some level of advantage versus our national competitors, but the bigger advantage has been against digital players who simply aren’t offering it.”

Doyle needs to be careful that he’s not just leading a technology company that happens to make pizza. “At the end of the day, we’re an extremely customer-focused brand, and we’re only responding to what customers want,” he said. “We’re a pizza company first; we have to give customers great pizza.”

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Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.

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