Marketing Planning of Dunkin’ Donuts

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In the modern world, most businesses focus on the loyalty of the customers. With an increasing number of loyal customers who over and over choose products and services of certain firms, the overall profit of the firms increases as well. A crucial part of increasing the customers’ loyalty depends on marketing planning. The marketing planning of Dunkin’ Donuts represents several ways of improving a company’s brand. However, there are some issues in Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing planning, with the key problem revolving around the company’s competition with Starbucks. Identifying problems in marketing planning and finding ways to resolve those problems is essential to promoting a company’s brand and attracting customers.

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Marketing Planning of Dunkin’ Donuts: Overview

Marketing planning is a never-ending process that requires companies to adapt to the changes in the market. The story of Dunkin’ Donuts began in 1950 with the mission to serve affordable yet high-quality donuts and coffee and with a focus on donuts (Management Decision Case). As coffee started gaining more popularity, Dunkin’ Donuts decided to focus more on coffee, thus creating competition for Starbucks (Management Decision Case). The two companies became rivals in the coffee industry and started developing marketing plans to take the place of the market leader.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing planning has been changing depending over time.. However, the company cannot surpass Starbucks, which takes more than 35 percent of the U.S. coffee market, whereas Dunkin’ Donuts takes 24 percent (Management Decision Case). The first problem regarding the marketing planning of Dunkin’ Donuts is that it is focused on digital strategy, but the company has fewer social media interactions compared to Starbucks (Management Decision Case).

Another problem can be related to the fact that Dunkin’ Donuts aims only at the middle class, “the “average Joe’s average joe,” without considering upper-class customers who typically demand higher quality service (Management Decision Case). One more problem can be caused by the company’s implementation of aggressive marketing, such as the message saying, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks,” which can provoke negative reactions (Management Decision Case). While Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing planning has been successful, some issues have to be considered to improve the perception of the company’s brand.


An alternative solution that could help Dunkin’ Donuts overpower Starbucks in the coffee industry is related to the company’s brand name. Even though Starbucks’s name itself has no relation to coffee, it is internationally known for serving coffee. On the other hand, the name “Dunkin’ Donuts” shows the company’s specific focus on donuts, not coffee, which for marketing purposes, makes it harder to promote the company as one serving coffee. In this case, Dunkin’ Donuts could either do a complete rebranding or open a new branch to focus on serving coffee. However, these alternatives were not possible because when the company decided to focus more on coffee in the early 2000s, it already had a 50-year-old history positioning itself as a donuts’ seller (Management Decision Case). Even if Dunkin’ Donuts had changed its name in general or opened new branches with new names, the company would still have to implement the marketing planning, which would require spending more resources.


One relevant solution for increasing customer loyalty towards Dunkin’ Donuts in the coffee industry can be continuing the implementation of the marketing planning and expanding it when necessary. The marketing planning should consider the needs of upper-class clients and reduce possible negative perceptions to increase social media interactions in the company’s digital strategy. In my experience, finding the best ways to improve the perception of a brand requires doing some outside research. For example, research shows that brands need to enhance their brand equity to increase the amount and quality of online interactions with customers (Ahmad & Guzmán, 2020). Moreover, randomly assigned research participants were more willing to communicate online with Starbucks than with Dunkin’ Donuts (Ahmad & Guzmán, 2020). Since the company’s marketing planning keeps Dunkin’ Donuts among the leaders in the coffee industry, it should remain but with some changes in the previously overlooked areas.


Specific strategies for accomplishing the proposed solution should be based on marketing planning. Dunkin’ Donuts could focus on the differentiation category of marketing planning’s competitive strategy specifying that, unlike other companies, they do serve more than just high-quality coffee (McGraw-Hill Education). For example, instead of saying, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks,” Dunkin’ Donuts could say, “Friends treat friends with more than just coffee”. Marketing planning should be ready to adapt to the market demands, and it is up to the marketing managers to ensure the clients’ loyalty.

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The loyalty of the customers depends on marketing planning and its execution. Good marketing planning can improve a brand’s perception, attract customers, and increase the company’s profit. However, it is possible that the planning might overlook some aspects of market demands focusing on the others. Finding efficient approaches to cover market demands can ensure that the company will be the leader of the industry and not just one of those at the top.


Ahmad, F., & Guzmán, F. (2020). Brand equity, online reviews, and message trust: The moderating role of persuasion knowledge. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 30(4), 549-564.

Management Decision Case. Marketing planning helps Dunkin’ Donuts score big in coffee customer loyalty.

McGraw-Hill Education. Chapter 3: Elements of marketing strategy and planning.

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BusinessEssay. "Marketing Planning of Dunkin' Donuts." September 8, 2022.