Case Studies

Marketing Lessons from Voodoo Doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts

Photo courtesy

Cannot tell you how happy we were to stumble across these lessons from Voodoo Doughnuts. You know if your small, fiercely independent restaurant brand has its own Wikipedia page, you’re on to something.

What this post is NOT going to tell you:

  • Voodoo Doughnuts does an AWESOME job marketing via Twitter (they have 15K or so followers at the time of this writing).
  • Voodoo Doughnuts has a dedicated employee posting multiple times per day to its Facebook page (yeah they’ll post here and there, a few times per week).
  • Voodoo Doughnuts has this killer website that sucks people in and spits them out towards a location (it’s pretty awful).
  • Voodoo Doughnuts has amassed an extraordinary email following through its multitude of locations (they have four).
  • Voodoo Doughnuts has this crazy YouTube channel where they post the most insane videos (they have nine videos, most with only about 1,500 views; nothing spectacular from a traditional “marketing” perspective).

If you know this brand — and I know it very, very well, having lived in Beaverton for five years — you’ll recall it’s not even particularly convenient to ACTUALLY EAT DOUGHNUTS THERE, with lines extending around the block and many guests wavering about which crazy doughnut they’re going to eat.

The bacon maple bar? The vanilla frosting doughnut topped with Fruit Loops? The Tex-Ass Challenge doughnut that’s approximately the size of Rhode Island? Vegan doughnuts? And, well, let’s just say there are many more colorful and PG13- (or worse?) rated varieties.

What Sonia Simone at Copyblogger reminds us that Voodoo Doughnuts is:

  • Memorable. Legendarily memorable, in fact.
  • Laser-like focused on a target customer. The rest of us are allowed in, but they definitely cater to The Portland Crowd.
  • Perfectly happy with NOT bending over backwards to cater to anyone else. Credit cards? Pffft. It’s cash-only at Voodoo. Mobile app with mobile payment capability built-in, you know, to shorten those lines? Oh my gosh you are hilarious!
Read:  Why Your Social Media Images are Driving People Crazy

Read the rest of Sonia’s breakdown, it’s another great reminder of what restaurants can be — when they focus on the “branding” first. But what do you think?

About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.