Big Mac meets Big Data (Personalization & Loyalty)

    

It was McDonald’s largest bet in 20 years and a clear indication from McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, on how he plans to drive growth at the world’s largest fast food operator. Wired has a great article that goes in-depth on the thinking behind the acquisition.

As domain experts in customer loyalty with leading clients in the restaurant industry, we see three key takeaways from this move:

  • Bring it in-house, by hook or crook: Leading brands are moving fast to either build or buy the capabilities that they need to stay relevant and provide value to today’s informed, always-on, digital first consumers. McDonald’s move parallels what leaders have done in other consumer industries. Nike bought Zodiac to bolster its capabilities with 1:1 marketing. Similarly, Ulta Beauty bought QM Scientific to build out AI-powered shopping assistant capabilities.

  • Personalization is now key to any tech stack: The Wired article notes that “Dynamic Yield essentially adds a personalization layer to the McDonald’s technology stack.” A typical tech stack will have systems of record and integration layers that form the hub of the data infrastructure. This will then plug into activation platforms, such as marketing clouds, that then deliver the customer experience.

    McDonald’s, Nike, Ulta, and others are all basically saying that there is a missing piece to the puzzle and it is a huge piece! The missing piece is a business specific and custom-built personalization layer that sits between a company’s data infrastructure and activation platforms.

    McDonald’s has bet $300MM that Dynamic Yield will help them accelerate the personalization layer build so that they can better attract new customers, retain existing customers, and grow their value over time. Their goal is to do this across all digital and analog channels in an integrated, and fully personalized, way.

  • Software is not the answer: Personalization has been around for decades but is still a mess. Per Segment, only 22 percent of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive. This is because most brands think personalization is a tactic that can be solved with off the shelf software rather than a strategic value driver that needs to be purposefully built and tailored for their unique needs. Leading brands now understand this and are making bets to get ahead of their competition before they realize the same.

These takeaways highlight what Antuit has seen in the market and heard from its customer loyalty clients over the years. It will be interesting to see how well McDonald’s integrates the Dynamic Yield acquisition, how they roll out their technology to new restaurant specific channels (i.e., drive thru), and how the competition responds. Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, and Taco Bell will need to play catch-up before they lose too much ground. 

For those organizations that cannot afford to acquire their own personalization software company, working with a firm that delivers fit-for-purpose AI customer loyalty solutions, like Antuit, will be their best bet.  To learn more click below or get in touch with us here.

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