Dairy Queen Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

Dairy Queen has always been famous for its yummy soft-serve ice cream and treats. More than that, it’s a leader in frozen desserts and marketing. This case study explores how Dairy Queen’s smart marketing and its partnership with WillowTree helped upgrade its digital and eCommerce game.

Dairy Queen worked with WillowTree on a digital plan for several years. They focused on improving mobile orders, their website, and marketing tech. Thanks to this teamwork, they got great results. These include a 35% rise in loyalty sign-ups and a 46% boost in sales from clicks. They also saw a 5 million jump in people finding them by search, and nearly perfect mobile performance.

Dairy Queen’s move to digital has made it a top name in the food industry. It has won over many fans in the U.S. and Canada with its strategy. Let’s look into what made Dairy Queen’s marketing soar.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dairy Queen partnered with WillowTree to revamp their digital products and eCommerce capabilities
  • The strategic partnership resulted in significant improvements in loyalty accounts, purchase conversion rate, organic search terms, and mobile availability and performance
  • Dairy Queen focused on providing a unified brand experience across platforms
  • The brand enhanced their web experiences for customers, leading to improvements in order conversion, click-through rates, and Google search rankings
  • WillowTree developed a personalized mobile app and accelerated the brand’s development release cycle for targeted personalization

Unified Brand Experience Across Platforms

Dairy Queen saw a need to align its brand, digital products, and eCommerce across all platforms. They teamed up with WillowTree, experts in digital change, for this task.

Their goal was to revamp Dairy Queen’s main digital offerings. This would give customers in the US and Canada a smooth and consistent brand experience. By combining their efforts, WillowTree and Dairy Queen made big strides in improving eCommerce and uniting the brand’s image online.

This united effort led to major benefits:

  • Loyalty accounts grew by 35%, making stronger connections with fans.
  • The purchase conversion rate jumped by 46%, boosting sales and customer happiness.
  • Organic search terms soared by 5 million, making Dairy Queen more visible online.
  • Mobile use hit 99.9% in performance, providing a great experience for users on-the-go.

Dairy Queen’s partnership with WillowTree is a shining example of dedication to digital growth and customer satisfaction. By updating their digital products and eCommerce, Dairy Queen managed to bring together their brand experience for all customers.

Loyalty Accounts Increase Purchase Conversion Rate Organic Search Terms Growth Mobile Availability and Performance
35% 46% 5 million 99.9%

Enhancing Web Experiences for Customers

Dairy Queen teamed up with WillowTree to do more than just boost their digital products. They aimed to better the whole web experience for their customers. This included making DairyQueen.com, their main site, and the DQ Cakes microsite better. WillowTree used their skills in branding, security, and more to make these sites work better.

Optimizing DairyQueen.com

WillowTree worked on making DairyQueen.com a lot more user-friendly. They updated the design and how the site works. This made it easier for people to find what they wanted and order their favorite Dairy Queen treats. Thanks to these updates, more people enjoyed using the site and ordering became smoother.

Revamping the DQ Cakes Microsite

The DQ Cakes microsite got a big makeover, too. The new design makes the joy of Dairy Queen cakes stand out more. It now has a wide variety of cakes you can customize easily. This made it simpler for customers to look through cake designs, pick their favorite, and order it.

WillowTree’s work on DairyQueen.com and the DQ Cakes microsite has been a big success. User experience and site performance have gotten much better. This includes more people clicking through and better Google search rankings. The sites now meet the high expectations of today’s online shoppers.

New CMS for Enhanced Content Creation

WillowTree introduced a new CMS for Dairy Queen’s websites. This helps Dairy Queen staff and franchise owners create and update content easily. The new CMS makes sure that the content on DairyQueen.com and the DQ Cakes microsite is always good. It’s a big step towards better digital services for Dairy Queen customers.

Enhancing Web Experiences for Customers

Enhancements Benefits
Optimized DairyQueen.com – Improved order conversion rates
– Increased click-through rates
– Enhanced user satisfaction
Revamped DQ Cakes microsite – Streamlined cake ordering process
– Enhanced personalized cake selections
– Higher order conversion rates
New CMS for content creation – Efficient workflows for ADQ employees and franchise owners
– Consistent and high-quality content across platforms

Quick Behind-the-Scenes Development

Dairy Queen teamed up with WillowTree to create a unique mobile app. This app aimed to make their customer experience better. It focused on meeting each customer’s unique likes and needs.

They managed to lower the time for new app updates from three months to two weeks. This change meant Dairy Queen could add new features quickly. Customers always had the latest updates at their fingertips.

The app offered special deals through weekly and monthly promotions. By understanding what each customer enjoyed, Dairy Queen sent out personalized offers. This approach boosted how much customers interacted with the brand and their loyalty.

Benefits of Quick Development Releases

Quick development times brought many advantages to Dairy Queen:

  • Their fast update cycle meant Dairy Queen could adapt quickly. They stayed up-to-date with trends, feedback, and new technologies. This kept their app competitive.
  • Because updates were frequent, Dairy Queen could make their app better over time. They used customer feedback to enhance the app’s features and usability.
  • Their ability to roll out updates quickly allowed for more personalization. This made it easier to offer customized experiences and promotions. Such personalization improved how satisfied and loyal customers felt.
  • Being able to update their app so fast gave Dairy Queen an edge over competitors. This meant they could offer new experiences before anyone else, keeping their app at the forefront.

The combination of swift development and personalization has made Dairy Queen a leader in the fast-food industry. It has redefined what it means to engage and satisfy customers.

Boosting Customer Loyalty

WillowTree revamped Dairy Queen’s app to make ordering easier and boost customer loyalty. They did extensive research and worked closely with Dairy Queen. Their goal was a smoother customer experience to drive sales and keep customers coming back. They hoped this would place the app among the top 20 QSR apps.

Dairy Queen wanted its app to be easy and friendly to use. WillowTree’s redesign lets customers quickly find what they want, order, and pay without hassle. This approach aims to remove any issues that could frustrate customers. Happy customers mean more loyalty.

The Benefits of the Redesigned In-App Ordering Experience:

  • Enhanced user experience: The new design provides a seamless and intuitive customer journey, enabling customers to easily navigate and complete their orders.
  • Increased engagement: By simplifying the ordering process, Dairy Queen aims to keep customers engaged within the app and encourage repeat purchases.
  • Targeted promotions: The redesigned in-app ordering experience allows for targeted promotions and personalized offers, further enticing customers to make purchases.
  • Improved conversion rates: The optimized customer journey path aims to increase conversion rates, turning app users into loyal customers.

This redesign puts Dairy Queen ahead in the QSR game by focusing on customer needs. They’re betting on a better app experience to keep their customers loyal for a long time.

Check out the new in-app ordering yourself. See why so many customers find it easy and convenient to use Dairy Queen’s app.

Omnichannel Consistency

WillowTree worked with Dairy Queen to tackle software fragmentation. This ensured a unified experience across all platforms for consumers. With the use of geofencing technology, Dairy Queen can now send location and menu-specific content to its customers. This makes sure each Blizzard Treat order is perfect in timing and temperature, offering a smooth omnichannel journey.

Improved Customer Experience Through Geofencing

Geofencing technology helps Dairy Queen give its customers personalized experiences. It enables the delivery of hyperlocal content, making sure customers receive the most relevant promotions and information. Whether enjoying a Blizzard Treat at home or on the move, the experience becomes tailor-made. This improves their satisfaction and fosters loyalty.

Fan Engagement Strategy through Loyalty Program

American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) introduced DQ Rewards for better fan connections and habits. They chose Braze for CRM strategies. This included personalized communications for loyalty members. They aimed to attract new fans and boost app downloads. They also encouraged members to join DQ Rewards.

Benefits of DQ Rewards Membership

Being a part of the DQ Rewards loyalty program offers great perks. Fans of Dairy Queen get:

  • Special offers and discounts
  • Free treats on birthdays
  • Priority access to new menu items and promotions
  • Personalized recommendations based on preferences

This program creates a community amongst Dairy Queen fans. It encourages more frequent visits and engagement.

Integrated CRM Management with Braze

The collaboration with Braze transformed ADQ’s CRM efforts. With Braze, ADQ could:

  • Segment and target specific customer groups with personalized messages
  • Create dynamic and engaging email and push notification campaigns
  • Track and analyze customer behavior for better communication
  • Deliver timely offers to engage fans more

This strategy allowed ADQ to connect with fans effectively. It kept them updated on new items and promotions.

Gamification has been added to the loyalty program by Dairy Queen. Members earn points with each purchase. They can move up levels for more perks and rewards.

DQ Rewards – Driving Habit-Forming Behavior

The DQ Rewards program aims to make Dairy Queen a habit for fans. It uses incentives and special experiences to build strong connections. ADQ wants fans to always choose Dairy Queen for their treats.

Thanks to Braze, ADQ understands customer wants and shopping habits better. They personalize their offers effectively. This leads to more visits and a strong fan base.

Benefits of DQ Rewards Key Features of Braze Integration
  • Special offers and discounts
  • Free treats on birthdays
  • Priority access to new menu items and promotions
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Segmentation and targeting
  • Personalized messaging
  • Dynamic email and push notification campaigns
  • Behavior tracking and analysis
Gamification elements to drive habit-forming behavior

This mix of a strong loyalty program and Braze’s CRM tools helps Dairy Queen. It builds lasting bonds with fans, forming a loyal customer community.

The Soft-Serve Revolution and Menu Expansion

Dairy Queen led the way in soft-serve ice cream, winning over customers with tasty frozen treats. The 1950s marked a big change when they started to offer more than ice cream. Customers could now enjoy banana splits, milkshakes, and the iconic Dilly Bar.

Dairy Queen didn’t stop at desserts. They opened Brazier locations to serve more than just sweet treats. These spots offered yummy burgers and other savory foods too. By doing this, Dairy Queen could appeal to more people with different food likes.

Let’s dive deeper into how the menu growth reshaped Dairy Queen:

Banana Splits

The classic banana split was a big hit for Dairy Queen in the 1950s. This yummy treat had a banana cut in half, topped with soft-serve ice cream. It was then drizzled with chocolate and strawberry syrup, and finished with whipped cream, nuts, and cherries. It quickly became a favorite for its mix of tastes and textures.


Dairy Queen also added milkshakes to their menu. These were thick, creamy drinks made with top-notch ice cream in various flavors. Each one was topped with whipped cream and a cherry, making them a refreshing choice for customers.

The Famous Dilly Bar

The Dilly Bar became a key part of Dairy Queen’s menu in 1955. This treat had a vanilla soft-serve center with a chocolate coating. Its distinct shape and crunchy bite made it an instant favorite and a top choice at Dairy Queen.

Brazier Locations

Dairy Queen launched Brazier locations to expand their menu. Beside soft-serve treats, these places offered grilled burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and more. This move turned Dairy Queen into a favorite spot for both sweets and savory snacks, drawing in a broad crowd.

The mix of soft-serve revolution and menu development made Dairy Queen stand out. By offering a variety of desserts, drinks, and savory items, the brand cemented its leadership in the fast-food world.

Menu items introduced in the 1950s Description
Banana Split An indulgent treat with soft-serve ice cream, banana, chocolate, strawberry syrup, whipped cream, nuts, and maraschino cherries.
Milkshakes Thick and creamy beverages made with premium ice cream, available in various flavors.
Dilly Bar A classic frozen delight featuring a soft-serve ice cream center coated in chocolate.

Lessons from Dairy Queen’s History

Dairy Queen’s story teaches us a lot, especially for business folks. Starting small to becoming a worldwide loved brand, it shows key success secrets.


Innovation has always been Dairy Queen’s magic. Their introduction of soft-serve ice cream changed desserts forever, making them stand out. This drive for innovation keeps them growing and staying relevant.


**Diversifying** their menu has helped Dairy Queen attract more customers. From the start with ice cream to adding treats like banana splits, and milkshakes, including the famous Dilly Bar. This diversification met various customer preferences, fueling success.


Improving the franchise system made Dairy Queen more efficient and uniform. A clear structure for franchise operations meant consistent experiences everywhere, aiding global growth. This strategy has made Dairy Queen a recognized name all over.

Strategic Acquisitions

Through strategic acquisitions, Dairy Queen has grown its menu and reached new markets. Buying Orange Julius, for example, widened their appeal. These strategic moves have kept Dairy Queen competitive and flexible.

Financial Backing

Strong financial support, like Warren Buffet’s backing, has given Dairy Queen stability and chances to grow. This support has helped them fund new ideas, marketing, and better infrastructure, keeping them thriving in the market.

Key Lessons from Dairy Queen’s History
Lesson Description
Innovation Dairy Queen’s early adoption of soft-serve ice cream and continuous innovation have set them apart from their competitors.
Diversification By diversifying its menu, Dairy Queen has attracted a broader customer base and catered to different tastes.
Structure Streamlining the franchising system has brought efficiency and uniformity to the Dairy Queen brand.
Strategic Acquisitions Strategic acquisitions, like the acquisition of Orange Julius, have helped Dairy Queen tap into new markets and diversify its offerings.
Financial Backing Having strong financial backing, including the involvement of Warren Buffet, has provided Dairy Queen with stability and growth opportunities.


Dairy Queen’s collaboration with WillowTree has brought notable achievements in digital marketing. They enhanced web interactions and increased customer loyalty with a personal app. Their efforts show Dairy Queen’s commitment to staying current in the digital age.

This partnership led to a 35% rise in loyalty sign-ups and a 46% increase in purchase rates. Dairy Queen also saw a boost in organic search visibility. They achieved a near-perfect mobile performance rate, highlighting their digital excellence.

Their custom mobile app and quick updates have boosted customer interaction and efficiency. Targeted deals and an easy ordering process have strengthened customer loyalty. Dairy Queen’s app now ranks in the top 20 among fast-food chains, showcasing their tech savvy.

Dairy Queen’s marketing approach stresses the value of adapting to new technology. They offer seamless services across all platforms, showing they are a progressive brand. Their strategic moves have allowed them to enter new markets and promise future growth.


What are the key elements of Dairy Queen’s digital transformation?

Dairy Queen improved mobile ordering and pickup. They also enhanced their website and MarTech setup. Plus, they created a consistent brand experience across all platforms.

What were the results of Dairy Queen’s partnership with WillowTree?

Their partnership with WillowTree led to a 35% rise in loyalty sign-ups. Purchases jumped by 46%. Organic search terms grew by 5 million. Their app’s uptime hit 99.9%.

How did WillowTree enhance Dairy Queen’s web experiences?

WillowTree improved DairyQueen.com and the DQ Cakes site. They boosted order conversions and click-through rates. They also improved Google rankings and site speed.

How did WillowTree contribute to quick behind-the-scenes development for Dairy Queen?

WillowTree created a personalized Dairy Queen app. This cut new development release time from months to two weeks. It allowed for better personalization and frequent promotions.

How did WillowTree boost customer loyalty for Dairy Queen?

WillowTree redesigned Dairy Queen’s app ordering. They made it simpler and clearer for users. Their design was based on research and aimed at increasing sales and customer loyalty.

How did Dairy Queen ensure omnichannel consistency?

Dairy Queen used geofencing for location-specific content. This gave customers tailored information based on their spot and menu choices. The result was a seamless experience across channels.

What strategy did American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) employ to deepen fan relationships?

ADQ introduced DQ Rewards, a loyalty program. This aimed to make fans more devoted and to encourage repeated visits. They managed this program with the Braze platform for better communication.

How did Dairy Queen diversify its menu and attract a broader customer base?

In the 1950s, Dairy Queen added banana splits, milkshakes, and Dilly Bars to their menu. The start of Brazier locations, with burgers and fast food, attracted more customers.

What lessons can be learned from Dairy Queen’s history?

Dairy Queen’s history shows the value of innovation and menu diversification. It also highlights the importance of a good structure, strategic buys, and strong financial support for growth.

What are the key takeaways from Dairy Queen’s marketing strategy?

Dairy Queen’s strategy includes digital updates, better web experiences, and increased customer loyalty. They also focus on a consistent experience and engaging fans through a loyalty scheme. These strategies have made Dairy Queen a market leader.
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Editorial Team