ANA Annual Meeting 2016

Video: McDonald's Deborah Wahl on Mass Personalization and Owned Media

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McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl is on a mission to make the chain's marketing resonate more personally with its millions of customers.

Ms. Wahl, speaking at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference, said McDonald's serves 26 million people per day, or roughly as many people as the number of residents in the state of Texas.

Clearly, the chain cannot truly connect directly with everyone and deliver marketing messages tailored specifically to those individuals' needs. But it has been making a push to get to know its customers better through growing usage of its mobile app and increased study of the feedback it receives.

McDonald's is trying to use more of such first-party data to inform its marketing decisions. The chain's owned channels, including the app and the digital menu boards popping up inside of its restaurants, are as relevant to McDonald's as any paid media channel, Ms. Wahl said.

She added that McDonald's is seeing a lift in engagement and a rise in actual restaurant visits from mass personalization efforts via its owned media channels versus what it has done within paid efforts.