NEW YORK: McDonald’s, the restaurant chain, believes that brands could gain major benefits by pursuing a more holistic view of the consumer and reducing their reliance on “walled gardens”.

Bob Rupczynski, Global Vice President/Media, CRM & Digital Merchandising at McDonald’s, discussed this subject during a keynote session at the ad:tech New York conference.

And he argued that many prospective partners of brands deliberately build “walled gardens”, meaning a provider or vendor enjoys near-total control over their data, and may not let a client easily fuse these figures with other information sources.

“Walled gardens enclose and divide data … They make a complete view of our consumers very difficult to get at,” said Rupczynski. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How McDonald’s is building its brand beyond walled gardens.)

“It’s impossible to get a clear view if I have to hop over that wall, and I can only see your data when it’s inside your walls, and then I can measure it with your tools inside your walls.”

In the digital universe, marketers often rely on various “walled gardens” to reach consumers. And while these enterprises can deliver powerful insights, the inability to mesh them together is a significant shortcoming.

“I want to be obsessed about who consumers are and why they want to interact with my brand,” Rupczynski said. “I want us to stop talking about walls in general and understand who they are, and not worry about everyone else.

“My suggestion – [and] the way we’re going to approach it at McDonald’s – is to stop climbing the walls … Stop worrying about, ‘How do I tear down those walls so I can get the data in and out?’ Stop worrying about how to climb over and live in that confined world. Stop worrying about how to build walls that connect to other walls, so I can have a bigger garden inside that wall.”

One of Rupczynski’s underlying recommendations for his fellow client-side marketers was thus to “take the power back into our hands.”

And that means assuming heightened responsibility for generating consumer insights and creating experiences that excite them, rather than solely “relying on the big behemoths in the industry, the walled gardens, to give us what we need”.

Sourced from WARC