The Marketing Veteran Rejoins the Pizza Franchisor to Oversee Menu Innovation, Marketing, Customer Service and More
Donatos Pizza, an Ohio-based family owned pizza franchisor, announced Jodie Conrad as its Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). As CMO, Conrad will oversee the pizza franchisor’s menu innovation, marketing, and customer service as well as strategize with the leadership team to increase brand awareness and sales. Conrad previously worked for Donatos as director of brand marketing from 2000 to 2005.
“I’m very excited to rejoin the brand. I’ve been a Donatos fan since childhood, and I look forward to helping create new fans all across the country,” Conrad said in a statement.
With this new role, Conrad looks forward to growing the pizza brand in new markets. “I’m privileged to have only worked on brands where I truly believed in the quality of the product. It’s an exciting time to come back to Donatos because of our growth in several channels – traditional franchise restaurants, Red Robin locations, and non-traditional sites.”
Conrad isn’t the only new addition to the pizza franchisor’s leadership team. Another lifelong Donatos fan, Christina Jackson, was recently named Chief People Officer.
Donatos’ leadership team is excited to have Conrad back in the fold. “She is a very well-respected person in the restaurant industry with tremendous experience and a successful track record. She already knows our brand well, and we are confident that she will step right in and help push us forward,” said Kevin King, Donatos president. Conrad’s marketing background prepared her for this role.
Conrad’s Marketing Background
Conrad accidently fell into marketing. She was a finance major in college, and her first job in marketing came from a finance position at an advertising agency. “After a few months, I realized that I didn’t really love my finance work responsibilities, and there was an opening on the account service team that worked on field marketing for a restaurant company. I was able to move into that role, and from there I never left.”
Her favorite aspect of marketing is that it’s always interesting because the customer is constantly changing. “One of the pieces of advice I give to people seeking careers in marketing is to stay curious – there’s always something more or new to learn.”
Conrad recently served as the CMO of Fazoli’s, a fast casual restaurant franchise, where she was responsible for the brand’s social media, consumer insights, field marketing, public relations, and more.
For franchisors looking to improve their marketing strategies, Conrad suggests sharpening and simplifying the brand’s message. When prospects are researching different franchise opportunities, it’s important to get their attention by effectively communicating what the advantages are to investing, she adds.
In Conrad’s view, technology will play an important role in the future of the restaurant industry. “I’ve been in the restaurant business a long time, and in the past, I barely knew members of the IT department. Now, we work as closely with them as any cross-functional team in the company. Technology is a critical part of the customer experience, and we have to work together to make it as simple and frictionless as possible.”