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McDonald's marketing gets contextual

News, 05 October 2016
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NEW YORK: McDonald's, the restaurant chain, is increasingly orientating its marketing output around a consumer's needs and context in a given moment – an approach challenging many existing silos in the industry.

Deborah Wahl, SVP/CMO at McDonald's, discussed this subject at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2016 MIXX Conference in New York.

"We need new labels to define the places and ways that we interact with each other," she said. (For further details of the company's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: McDonald's CMO redefines marketing in "new world order".)

More specifically, marketers should dismantle the channel-focused silos that have traditionally divided their strategies between certain types of media.

"It's really not about my device. It's about what I need, at that moment. It's not about my screen. It's about my context," Wahl said.

"And by putting human beings at the center of our marketing, we prioritize their context and their needs. And that informs what we say, how we say it, and where we say it."

Elaborating on this theme, she suggested that social media now represents the "spiritual centre" of McDonald's marketing activities.

The strength of such services, Wahl continued, is that they are "openly conversational, personally-relevant, and contextually-appropriate – a two-way street allowing dialogue, kinship and collaboration."

Similarly, on mobile, the company is "using a simple but powerful equation to inform our activity: Context plus location equals that unique occasion," she said.

"In understanding that occasion, [context] makes all the difference when it comes to forging a meaningful relationship and creating some value."

By way of demonstrating how that theory works in practice, Wahl cited the brand's mobile app, which has been downloaded over ten million times since launching last year.

"Notifications are based on actual customer data," she said. "Offers align to local-market preferences, as well as whatever local campaigns happen to be underway at the moment of transaction."

Data sourced from Warc

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