CMO Interview: How McDonald's is putting customer centricity back on the menu

CMO of McDonald's in A/NZ, Mark Lollback, talks through the business transformation undertaken by the fast food chain to put customers back at the centre and how it plans to personalise experiences through technology

Mark Lollback, CMO, McDonald's Australia and New Zealand
Mark Lollback, CMO, McDonald's Australia and New Zealand

McDonald’s A/NZ CMO, Mark Lollback, isn’t someone who backs away from a challenge or the need to change.

“Every job I’ve had has been going into a problem,” he tells CMO. “I love change and solving big corporate problems or businesses that are flat-lining; it’s just my mindset. I also consider myself a bit of a maverick.”

So when he was offered the opportunity to help McDonald's turn its go-to-market strategy around and find a way to deliver stronger long-term value to its customers to drive sustainable business growth, Lollback jumped at it.

“Strategy is definitely more important than it has even been for marketers: Not just marketing strategy, but building a business strategy where the role of marketing and CMO is taking a real leadership position around where the business should be going,” Lollback comments.

Over the past year, Lollback has spearheaded a transformation program at McDonald's which has seen the organisation overhaul how every department looks at its customer value proposition.

One of the cornerstones of this approach is introducing “consumer noticeable branded platforms”, or longer-term growth initiatives aimed at providing more value to McDonald’s customers. Examples include the ‘create your taste’ customisable burger menu and extending McCafé into drive through.

“We’ve also moved away from limited time offers to new platforms such as ‘real choices’ lighter choice range,” Lollback says. “That’s a platform, and that’s what we’re focused on building. If we lay down the business plan correctly and genuinely deliver to the consumer, we’ll see growth.

“So it’s really about changing our thinking from delivering next month’s sales, to laying down plans that have a longer-term impact.”

Time to change

Lollback says the catalyst for change at McDonald's was necessity. In 2013, the fast food chain experienced a tough year and was facing heavy, price-led competition. “We probably didn’t react as strongly as we should have at the time,” he says.

“I think I nearly blew this joint up, because the way we solved that is by throwing everything at it. We did more one-time offers, launched more new products, made more TV commercials and ran 200 campaigns. It nearly broke the restaurants in terms of complexity, stress and the crew. But even on the back of that, we didn’t get the results we needed.”

This forced the organisation to take a step back and start looking at the fundamentals. “Whenever a business is going through ‘difficult times’, it’s always good to look at what has been really powerful historically, and what built the business into what it is today,” Lollback says.

“The answer was simple: It was these consumer noticeable platforms that had longevity and were truly valued by the consumer. It wasn’t noise, it wasn’t short-term innovation, it was fundamental platforms. “When we did that review and shared it with the board, it became very easy for all of us is see that our responsibility was to find out what those platforms would be.”

The group also realised it had stopped truly putting customers at the centre of the business. “We had become internal, chasing internal targets, and forgot what our business was about, which was being a fantastic place for customers and being very customer centric,” Lollback says.

To regain this focus, McDonald's investigated every touchpoint, from menu and marketing to restaurants, the service model and platforms. It also took a brutal look at what consumers were saying about the business.

“Internally, we created these ‘consumer tensions’,” Lollback explains. These included value, food experience, convenience, and the brand. “Across every function, we then tried to address those tensions.

“There was lots of brand tracking and consumer insights to filter down a small number of disruptive tensions, and these made us feel a bit uncomfortable. But it was through those that we could galvanise the business and operators behind a real desire to change.”

Since executing on this strategy, the business has turned around and is growing.

“We’re very strong and we’re very happy with the results,” Lollback adds.

Up next: How McDonald's is planning to personalise experiences through new digital innovations

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Nice blog!Blog is really informative , valuable.keep updating us with such amazing blogs.influencer agency in Melbourne

Rajat Kumar

Why flipping Status Quo Bias is the key to B2B marketing success

Read more

good this information are very helpful for millions of peoples customer loyalty Consultant is an important part of every business.

Tom Devid

Report: 4 ways to generate customer loyalty

Read more

Great post, thanks for sharing such a informative content.

CodeWare Limited

APAC software company brings on first VP of growth

Read more

This article highlights Gartner’s latest digital experience platforms report and how they are influencing content operations ecosystems. ...

vikram Roy

Gartner 2022 Digital Experience Platforms reveals leading vendor players

Read more

What about this one FormDesigner.pro? I think it's a great platform providing a lot of options, you can collect different data and work w...

Salvador Lopez

Gartner highlights four content marketing platform players as leaders

Read more

Blog Posts

​Why we need to look at the whole brand puzzle, not just play with the pieces

Creating meaningful brands should be a holistic and considered process. However, all too frequently it’s one that is disparate and reactive, where one objective is prioritized at the expense of all others. So, what are the key pieces to the ‘good’ brand puzzle?

Marketing overseas? 4 ways to make your message stick

Companies encounter a variety of challenges when it comes to marketing overseas. Marketing departments often don’t know much about the business and cultural context of the international audiences they are trying to reach. Sometimes they are also unsure about what kind of marketing they should be doing.

Cynthia Dearin

Author, business strategist, advisor

From unconscious to reflective: What level of data user are you?

Using data is a hot topic right now. Leaders are realising data can no longer just be the responsibility of dedicated analysts or staff with ‘data’ in their title or role description.

Dr Selena Fisk

Data expert, author

Sign in