It sure didn’t take long for 2014 to shift into high gear.

Little more than two weeks into the New Year, we’re already knee deep in stories with big implications for marketers in the retail sector (charged anything at Target lately?), sports marketing (the ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s suspension for the 2014 season), and the food services industry (with Hershey’s announcement of 3-D printed chocolate).  As Ron Burgundy would say: “That escalated quickly.”

With the news of early 2014 in mind, I reached out to some of the most knowledgeable marketers in those three sectors, and over the course of the next three weeks, I will share with you their predictions about what the rest of 2014 will hold for their industries, and how it might affect marketing and advertising. The series will kick off with John Costello, President of Global Marketing and Innovation for Dunkin’ Brands; followed by Jon Podany, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA); and culminate with Will Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at the Brown Shoe Company. Of course, I couldn’t help asking about the coolest thing in their office, as well.

The Way The Industry Sees It

2014 Predictions within the Food Services Industry and How They Have the Potential to Affect Marketing and Advertising, with Dunkin’ Brands® President, Global Marketing and Innovation, John Costello


What are your 2014 predictions within the food services industry and how do they have the potential to affect marketing and advertising?

1) The customer is evolving as Millennials, Hispanics, and healthier eaters are all growing in influence, spending, and power and as Baby Boomers move into retirement years.

2) Consumer confidence could improve, but will remain mixed as consumers deal with job insecurity, the complexity of the new health care laws, and concerns about government dysfunction.

3) Traditional meals and eating are giving way to: “I want to eat what I want, when I want, and where I want.”

4) Innovative food at a good value will be more important. People continue to look for interesting and differentiating food choices, but also want good value. Consumers don’t want cheap food; they want great, interesting food at a good value.

5) Consumer engagement is changing as people want to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch, and where they want watch. I think the shifting media landscape will require focus against both old and new media. For example, while new media is booming, TV viewing is up compared to where it was a year ago.

6) Substance will replace hype as social media comes of age and leverages the power of a recommendation by a friend, which is the most powerful marketing tool. At the end of the day that is what social media has the power to harness.

7) Technology is changing the way we engage with consumers and delivers both functionality and value. For example, a mobile app can be used to pay, obtain coupons, find a store, research a product, look-up nutritional information, and share thoughts with friends.

8) Internet retailing will continue to grow as Millennials and Digital Natives begin to exert more buying power. Bricks and mortar stores can continue to thrive and survive by ensuring an in-store experience that is relevant, interesting, and entertaining. We used to go to the store because it was the only place to buy something. Now, we need a reason to go. If retailers give consumers a good reason to go to the store, people will continue to go there.

What’s the coolest thing in your office?

The coolest thing in my office is a picture of a thirty-three inch Sea Run trout I caught in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. A close second is a photo of our senior leadership team and franchisee leaders pushing the buzzer at NASDAQ to launch our IPO in July of 2011.