McDonalds’ Customer Engagement Engine

Entrant: TRACK NZ
Nominee: McDonald's
Awards: Grand Prix, Industry Gold - Retail & E-commerce


As the largest player in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) category McDonald’s faces constant competitive pressures and headwinds to growth. The market is changing via disruptive plays like Uber Eats which enabled café and restaurants to compete directly on convenience. McDonald’s needed to respond relevantly to changing customer expectations and find new ways to deliver growth for both the company and their franchisees.

The solution was to leverage their data, and the launch of a global McDonald’s mobile app in the New Zealand market, to drive a shift to 1-to-1 communication. Though the app was essentially a shell with basic functionality, the local team added the smarts that turned it from a ‘dumb’ couponing tool into a smart, personalised, growth engine.

They built strong data and technology foundations to enable them to identify, segment, target, engage and measure the behaviour of individual customers. They mapped the app adoption journey to help create habitual use of the app and drive incremental behaviour. And they analysed point of sale data to provide insight on the offers to be used at different stages and by different segments of customers.

Finally, they established a comprehensive ongoing go-to-market approach combining always-on offers, triggered 1-to-1 communications and app-exclusive promotions to drive engagement.

Over the course of 12 months, they overachieved against two key success metrics. The number of new users acquired was 39.5% over target; and app attributable store visits were 58% over target

In an extremely competitive category, and faced with a number of significant challenges, this programme made smart use of technology, data and analytics to generate incremental business growth for McDonald’s and their franchisees - proving the power of direct marketing to add value even in a traditional mass retail environment.