The Book of Booth Patrick Doyle
Illustration by Peter Strain

The Book of Booth: Patrick Doyle

The Domino’s CEO explains the benefits of his marketing background, and how ‘healthy paranoia’ can drive innovation.

Patrick Doyle combined marketing expertise and an understanding of analytics to lead a turnaround as president and CEO of Domino’s Pizza. Today, Domino’s, headquartered near Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the world’s second-largest pizza chain.

Go where the action isn’t.

I think there are just too many people in business—particularly earlier-career or mid-career people who are coming out of school—who want to go into an industry or sector that’s hot, where all the value is being created. But how are you going to prove that you’re bringing incremental value? You’re just one more person on that train.

Understand the data.

To be a highly successful marketer now you have to understand the analytics. Ten, 20, 30 years ago, marketing departments were largely made up of right-brained, creative types. They were coming up with advertisements, and a lot of it was around gut. You still need those people—breakthrough creative material is still going to come often from somebody on the right-brained creative team.

But you can test it and find out whether it’s going to be compelling to consumers, and you can figure out how to incrementally improve that communication even after you’ve come up with the base idea. There is just dramatically more science around what you can do now and how you can measure facts, so if you’re going to go through a marketing department and your aspiration is, “I want to be the chief marketing officer,” you’d better be really analytically sound along with having great ideas for product and for advertising and communication.

A different path to the CEO’s office.

If you look at Fortune 500 companies today, I think a little more than 20 percent of them are run by people who came up through marketing. And I think it’s about 25 percent who came out of finance. Marketing is growing. If you look at value creation in companies, most of it comes from growth, not from margin enhancement, not from expense control, not from balance-sheet decisions. Those things are important. But at the end of the day big value creation comes from revenue growth, and that comes from understanding the consumer. 

What makes Domino’s innovative?

Probably some healthy paranoia. We wake up in the morning and we’re not happy with where we are. It’s part of who we are as an organization.

We wake up every day with a fundamental belief that there are better ways to run our business than the way we are running it today, and we have to keep discovering what those ways are.

A Booth MBA informing an approach to innovation.

When our people are presenting new ideas, they know that they’re going to have a really good analytical discussion with me about the value creation opportunity that’s there and the data that’s going to be behind those decisions. That comes from Booth.

Everything I learned at Booth about the customer, everything about the analytics around understanding the customer, all of that is informing the way we think about innovation and value creation at Domino’s.

Seeing success.

There’s nothing incredibly profound about what we do. There are things you can do in this world that may have more profound, direct impact than selling pizza. But there’s nothing more gratifying to me than seeing people succeed in this system and under this brand and that’s why it’s meaningful to me.