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5 Questions: Jamie Guse of Dairy Queen

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by: Karen Marchione (@kmarchione)
28 November 2011

I’m really happy to have Jamie Guse from Dairy Queen on our “5 Questions” blog this month. Jamie is Dairy Queen’s senior manager, digital marketing, and he’s the person behind its incredibly popular Blizzard of the Month loyalty program and DQ’s social media strategy. If you live in the United States or Canada, you know there are Dairy Queen franchises everywhere, and it turns out there are loyal fans of Dairy Queen everywhere—in fact, more than 3 million to date.

1) Jamie, thank you for being on our blog this month. First off, can you tell us a little more about yourself?

[caption id="attachment_2665" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Jamie Guse, Dairy Queen’s senior manager, digital marketing"][/caption]

My career in online marketing started in the late ‘90s. I was initially focused on email marketing at American Express Retirement Services. After that, I moved into the agency world for several years at The Lacek Group (division of Ogilvy One), followed by The Star Tribune for a short stint. I’ve been in a digital marketing role at Dairy Queen for the past three years and am responsible for overseeing all of Dairy Queen’s social and digital initiatives, including email, website, interactive marketing, advertising and mobile.

2) Dairy Queen is very focused on growing its Blizzard Fan Club. How long has the fan club been in existence? What are the benefits of joining your loyalty club?

The fan club has been in existence since 2007. We started it because we knew through consumer research and personal experience that people absolutely loved our Blizzards. I wouldn’t hesitate to call some of our customers “fanatics.” We wanted to reward them for the loyalty and figure out a way to get them to come back into the stores with their friends and family.

There are many perks of being a Blizzard of the Month club member—by signing up you’re first to know about our newest Blizzard of the Month, and each member is emailed a “Buy One, Get One Free” (BOGO) coupon six times per year.

We use consumer insights from our fans to help with our market research. We survey fan club members and gather consumer panels made up of Blizzard Fan Club members who give us valuable feedback on our new products, what they would like to see more of, how often they go to a Dairy Queen, and much more.

3) Give us an example of a successful campaign that has really engaged your fan base.

One of our most engaging campaigns has been our Customer Appreciation Day. We wanted to help our franchises drive traffic into our Dairy Queen stores in January, which as you can expect is a month that typically experiences lower traffic. We gave our franchises the choice of one of three potential BOGO email offers for their store. Fan club members would then receive a coupon via email for the store they specified was the closest to their home during their sign-up for the Blizzard of the Month club. We had a high level of engagement with this campaign, including a 37 percent open rate and 83 percent click-through rate, which led to overwhelmingly positive results in terms of traffic to stores.

4) Are your Blizzard Fan Club members more willing to share over social networks? How have you taken advantage of social media to grow the club?

Yes, absolutely. Take our July BOGO campaign, which was a huge initiative for us this year. The goal was lofty—increase our fan club by 300,000 Blizzard Fan Club members in one month!

One of the ways we could reach those numbers was to make the campaign go viral. Not only did we strongly encourage our 2.9 million fan club members to recruit other new fan club members, but we also offered members signing up for the Blizzard Fan Club the option of posting a BOGO offer to their personal Facebook page, using Silverpop’s Share-to-Social feature. We also did a lot of advertising that drew many to our Facebook page, and we made it easy for new members to enroll in our Blizzard of the Month club through a form on our Facebook page.

The Summer July BOGO campaign was an enormous success, with Dairy Queen exceeding fan club membership goals by 22 percent. The month in which the campaign took place was also the highest trafficked month in history. Social media was a big driver in getting word out and giving our fan club members a voice to promote our loyalty program for us.

5) If another company were to start a loyalty club today, what advice would you give them?

The biggest thing I would tell them is to take the time to really understand who your audience is. When you understand who your fans are, you’ll have a better idea of how to engage with them. Since email is our primary driver of communication with our fan club members, I especially think the tone of your emails is crucial. You need to reward customers and make it special for them as a thank you for opening up your email and engaging with your brand.

Thanks Jamie! If any of you out there want to join the Blizzard of the Month club, you can find our more information at


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