Fries With That Book?

Clients of The Threshold Group and regular readers of this blog, know that we are not big fans of mass media advertising. This is not an aesthetic judgment. Rather it is because that 30 second spot on the local news is difficult to evaluate.

Of course, any marketing campaign in any medium can be problematic to track if we fail to add both tagging and defined goals.

Case in point – MacDonald’s campaign to defend its share of lunch and extend its share of breakfast with the launch of “southern style chicken sandwich” and “southern style chicken biscuit for breakfast.” As usual, there is significant mass media support. What’s not usual is a massive distribution of coupons for free sandwiches in purchases form

Amazon has a broad market in categories such as consumer electronics, fashion goods, home furnishings, watches and CDs/DVDs as well as books. The three packages received from Amazon this week all contained coupons for the sandwiches. Although Amazon has excellent database marketing capabilities, this is not a targeted promotion. There is nothing about our demographics, psychographics, or purchase history to flag us as prime McDonald’s prospects, other than that our office is within half a mile of a McDonald’s outlet.

Incredibly, the coupons are not coded. There are no barcodes, key codes, or other ways, which would enable McDonald’s to at least gage the redemption rate from the “Amazon channel”. More interesting tracking would be to tag coupons by product category, geocode, purchase volume on many other attributes. McDonald’s might then, to take a simple example, buy banners on Amazon’s pages for the most successful categories.

Without coding, it can only determine how many of the coupons were ultimately redeemed. Such a measure won’t even tell, if the promotion recruited new customers. Come to think of it though, the coupons make fair bookmarks for the new books from Amazon.