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McDonald’s Digital Marketing Strategies

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Introduction

McDonald’s ten digital marketing strategies were reviewed in the previous study and it was found that the organisation utilises digital marketing approach to position the company by offering a point of differentiation (PODs). As part of the latest McDonald’s digital marketing strategy, ten different digital marketing practises are being investigated and promoted through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, web browsers, etc. Ten specific immersive advertisement initiatives are referred to as McDonald coins sales, calling for McDonald’s project, simulated McDonald’s monopoly version, tracking my macca application, McDonald extended hours services, happy meals wireless play zones, iced fruit smoothies application, angry birds campaign, home promotion (OOH) and garbage kick. However, the review finds that McDonald’s new approach to digital marketing lacks the foundation and requisite degree of interactivity (O’Mahony, 2013). In this context, Truong & Simmons (2010) and Smith (2012) have stated that the success of the digital marketing approach of the organisation depends on three factors: 1- the structure of the digital marketing initiative, 2- the interactivity of the digital campaign and 3- measures of control. On the other hand, McDonald’s latest digital marketing strategy fails many of these three components. Holes have also been generated in the digital media strategy of the business. This essay would also suggest a recalibrated digital marketing strategy that will assist McDonald to engage more successfully with his target market.

Theoretical Background

In the field of marketing, Wertime & Fenwick (2011) described digital marketing as a future development where businesses conduct more of their marketing activities across digital platforms and online media. Using digital platforms that are collaborative in nature, digital marketing practises are interconnected and provide enterprises with the ability to participate in customised conversation with consumers. Personalized dialogue generates several data points and consumer behavioural knowledge, as in neural networks. In this sense, digital markets may use data points and consumer behavioural knowledge to constantly improvise and improve customer engagement (Wertime & Fenwick, 2011). Gerzema & D’Antonio (2011) found out that digital marketing is carried out on different platforms such as Facebook, Hi5, Twitter, LinkedIn social networking accounts or via online blogging or immersive gaming in web browsers such as Google, Firefox, etc. or through YouTube videos. Montgomery & Chester (2011) reported that target buyers are primarily in the age range of 12 years to 32 years for digital marketers. In other words, digital advertisers may be expected to reach predominantly adolescents, teens, teenagers, teachers, young professionals who invest a substantial amount of time on online surfing or social networking. Montgomery & Chester (2011) noticed that digital marketers have tremendous potential for utilising video gaming or virtual world mixed reality consoles as a digital marketing tool to advertise the company to thousands of online gamers. On the other side, Okazaki, Katsukura & Nishiyama (2007) and Smith (2012) suggested that it can be considered an enhanced online marketing technique for mobile marketing or the production of advertising applications on smartphones. Centered on these theoretical hypotheses, a recalibration of McDonald’s current digital marketing approach would be carried out in the next segment.

Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Target Market

Androich (2012) reported that McDonald has segmented its market on the basis of age group and life style. Similarly, in case of digital marketing strategy, the company needs to segment its target market in terms of age, purpose of using internet, weekly time spent in virtual medium etc. According to Androich (2012), McDonald generally targets children, students and professionals. In case of digital marketing approach, ideal customer will be young people in the age group of 18years to 30 years. According to Agrawal (2013), health organizations have already raised the bar for quality standards and even legal proceedings are being directed to fast-food companies for provoking children to eat high calorie fast-food (Agrawal, 2013). Therefore, in order to avoid legal punishment, teenagers and adolescent will not be targeted during execution of digital marketing strategy by McDonald. Target customer base for digital marketing strategy will share some homogeneous attributes such as, spending long hours in doing social networking, spending significant amount of time in web browsing, being member of community in social networking sites, frequent viewers of YouTube video etc.      

  • Marketing Objective

Ball, Coelho, & Machas (2004) used SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) objectives in order set marketing plan. In case of digital marketing strategy of McDonald, SMART objectives can be used to put direction to the plan, Specific- increase market penetration of the company by 10% within next 18 months, Measurable- rise in online customer base and rise in sales volume will be used to measure market penetration, Achievable- it is evident from the previous study that McDonald has already invested significant amount of resources in order to execute digital marketing strategy, therefore, it is expected that the company has sufficient resource capability to achieve the marketing objective, Realistic- based on previous digital marketing success, achieving selected marketing objective seems realistic and Time Bound- within 18 months, marketing objectives will be achieved by the company. 

  • Operational Approach

RACE framework (reaching target customers and prospect, achieving interaction with target customers, converting prospects to customer and engaging customers in real time manner) will be used to design marketing strategy (Chaffey & Bosomworth, 2013). The Race framework can be executed in the following manner. Reach (R) – social media campaign such as online games, community page; free gift sampling etc will be broadcasted through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. McDonald store locator application will be launched for Smartphone while Smartphone users will have the opportunity to play McDonald themed angry bird game in online mode. Email campaign and SMS (short message service) for different discounts and available product range in McDonald stores will be sent to mobile of users. On the other hand, virtual McDonald themed game and augmented reality avatar will be released in virtual reality websites like Second life. While playing McDonald themed games in second life website, online gamers will collect bit coins that can be used to buy fast-food in Mc Donald stores. In order to increase reach of digital marketing campaign, customer feedback forum will be created in social networking sites and company website. Customer queries will be collected from these forums and within minimum possible time, answer to the query will be sent to customers. Promotional and customer training video will be launched through YouTube (Chaffey & Bosomworth, 2013). As part of integrated marketing campaign, customer loyalty program will be linked to social networking site community pages. For example, while playing McDonald themed games in Facebook, customers will have the opportunity to earn loyalty points and use loyalty to get additional discount while buying fast-food. CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaigns like putting envelops of McDonald fast-food in dustbin, reducing carbon emission, decrease waste etc will be broadcasted through YouTube videos. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay per Click (PPC) technique and online public relation technique will be conjointly used to maximize reach of the digital marketing strategy (Chaffey & Bosomworth, 2013). Act & Convert (A&C) – in order to act on the basis of digital marketing strategy, website pages of the company will be updated in real time manner while sales lead will be generated after analyzing frequency of visit of online users in different website pages of McDonald. As part of e-commerce management technique, efficiency of above mentioned digital channels in generating lead will be tested for every 24 hours with the help of statistical techniques like multivariate testing and predictive analytics (Chaffey & Bosomworth, 2013). In order to check efficiency of digital marketing strategy in converting leads into potential customers, customer visits per page and sample survey will be used. Chaffey & Bosomworth (2013) suggested that digital markets can use landing page optimization technique in order to identify potential visitors that can be converted into future buyers. For example, McDonald will need to prepare data base of visitors in web blogs, social media pages, Smartphone application users and virtual gaming site, then cluster visitors on the basis of their repeat visiting, then use text and predictive analytics in order to predict probability that the online visitor will purchase McDonald fast-food. Based on predicted probability, marketing effort will be directed to online users. Engage (E) – according to Chaffey & Bosomworth (2013), digital marketers need to engage online customers and visitors of web pages in sustainable manner otherwise the marketers might not be able to realize profit from targeted set of customers. Similarly, McDonald needs to engage its online customer base with the help of continuous customer support & services, sending email & promotional SMSs in frequent manner and incorporation multilevel digital channels. In order to engage more customers, McDonald can even execute social CRM strategy such as encouraging customers to reduce waste of waters, decreasing carbon footprint from operation, community development etc in order to communicate brand message to customers. The company would need to decrease page drop rate in order to ensure continuous flow data generated from customer page visit or any kind online activities of customers.

  • Control Mechanism

Digital marketing strategy for McDonald is being directed by different digital channel conversion model such as nature of user experience, page template design, information architecture, messaging of information to online users and level of interaction during merchandising. In such context, control mechanism needs to be incorporated by the company in order to retain success of the incorporated digital marketing strategy. Statistical data modelling, text analytics and customer data mining techniques might be used to predict behaviour of customers while visiting McDonald web pages. The company can map journey of customers in different digital marketing channels like virtual gaming, social networking, Smartphone application, YouTube videos etc (Chaffey & Bosomworth, 2013). Such customer journey mapping will help McDonald to streamline digital marketing activities as par requirements of customers. As part of control mechanism, 1/6th of total advertising spending will be assigned for digital marketing activities. Additional 10% budget will be allocated in order to address any kind of uncertainties may occur while executing marketing strategy through digital platform.

  • Link to Offline Marketing Strategy

         In order to optimize digital communications strategy retention, online and offline campaign will be integrated in simultaneous manner. For example, facilities being availed in online mode of McDonald can be communicated through offline communication channels like TV commercials, newspaper advertisement, electronic display inside stores and billboard placements. In the proposed marketing strategy, clear link between online and offline marketing strategy for McDonald has been identified. For example, customer earning loyalty points through playing McDonald themed games in social networking sites need to visit local McDonald stores in order buy fast-food by utilizing loyalty points. On the other hand, customers can even collect smart application installation code through print advertisement or TV commercials will promote uniqueness of McDonald themed online games. Chaffey & Bosomworth (2013) stated that collaborative framework for online and offline marketing strategy helps companies to use both the medium in alternate manner and maximize reach to customers. In context to digital marketing strategy for McDonald, the company can use its offline distribution channels like quick service restaurants (QSRs), cafes etc to communicate to incoming patrons regarding multiple benefits offered by the company through online channels.

Conclusion

            From the aforementioned discussion, it is clear that McDonalds need to integrate its digital marketing activities with offline marketing strategy in order engage target customers in efficient manner. Race framework has been used in order to design framework for digital marketing strategy. As part of RACE framework, four performance verticals for digital marketing strategy has been identified such as, 1- reaching target customers and prospect, 2- achieving interaction with target customers, 3- converting prospects to customer and 4- engaging customers in real time manner. For digital marketing strategy of McDonald, the study has integrated multilevel digital channels within same platform. Integration of different digital channels within same platform will help McDonald increase reach of its digital marketing strategy in comprehensive manner. It may, in conclusion, be said that the company has the opportunity to increase effectiveness of existing online strategy by using mentioned recommendations and integrating reformed digital strategy with offline channels.       

References
  • Agarwal, A. (2013). Global Fast Food Market – Industry Analysis, Size, Growth, Trends and Forecast (2013-2019). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/4457795/Global_Fast_Food_Market_-_Industry_Analysis_Size_Growth_Trends_and_Forecast_2013_-_2019.
  • Androich, A. (2012). Why McDonald’s bare-bones marketing approach works. Retrieved from http://www.marketingmag.ca/news/marketer-news/why-mcdonalds-bare-bones-marketing-approach-works-62994.  
  • Ball, D., Coelho, P. S., & Machas, A. (2004). The role of communication and trust in explaining customer loyalty: An extention to the ECSI model. European Journal of Marketing, 38(9/10), 1272-93.
  • Chaffey, D., & Bosomworth, D. (2013). Digital marketing strategy Planning Template. Retrieved from http://web.efzg.hr/dok/MAR/vskare/kolegiji/im/materijali/digital-marketing-plan-template-smart-insights.pdf.
  • Gerzema, J., & D’Antonio, M. (2011). Spend shift: How the post-crisis values revolution is changing the way we buy, sell, and live. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Montgomery, K., & Chester, J. (2011). Digital Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents. Retrieved from http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/DigitalMarketingReport_FINAL_web_20111017.pdf.
  • Okazaki, S., Katsukura, A., & Nishiyama, M. (2007). How mobile advertising works: The role of trust in improving attitudes and recall. Journal of Advertising Research, 47(2), 165-78.
  • O’Mahony, J. (2013). McDonald’s app reveals cow your burger came from in transparency drive. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10124730/McDonalds-app-reveals-cow-your-burger-came-from-in-transparency-drive.html.
  • Smith, K. T. (2012). Longitudinal study of digital marketing strategies targeting Millennials. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 29/2, 86–92.
  • Truong, Y., & Simmons, G. (2010). Perceived intrusiveness in digital advertising: Strategic marketing implications. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 18(3), 239-56.
  • Wertime, K. & Fenwick, I. (2011). DigiMarketing: The essential guide to new media and digital marketing. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons.

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