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McDonald’s builds local push on mobile via teacher appreciation incentives

A number of regional McDonald’s locations are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day by incentivizing customers to download the McD application, giving local educators a mobile coupon for a free beverage and encouraging them to partake in a Twitter contest for school supplies funding.

McDonald’s is ramping up to show its appreciation for local teachers by reminding them of the chain’s longstanding offer allowing educators to receive a complimentary McCafé tea or coffee on every Tuesday throughout the school year. Additionally, in celebration of today’s Teacher Appreciation Day, teachers are encouraged to snap a photo with their free beverage and upload it to Twitter via the #TeacherTuesdays hashtag, which will enter their school into a drawing to win money for school supplies.

“For QSRs, as well as for virtually all large retail brands operating physical stores, it is critical to demonstrate to their customer base that the brand is effectively part of the community,” said Daniel Dreymann, CEO and co-founder of Mowingo, the platform behind the McD app. “Examples include tie-ins with local sports teams, sponsoring of local events, appreciation for local teachers, deliveries from local stores, etc.

“The mobile channel is a natural tool to develop this community spirit,” he said. “Mowingo’s platform allows corporate marketing departments to delegate some authority to regional and local managers, while maintaining brand integrity, layering local customer engagement activities over national promotions.”

Pouring out regional incentives
McDonald’s restaurants in a slew of United States regions are doling out resources to demonstrate the QSR chain’s appreciation for local educators, with several areas taking a mobile-heavy focus.

Northern Arizona McDonald’s locations are rolling out a 24-hour mobile app offer for teachers, enabling them to receive a free medium McCafé beverage on May 3. This means that teachers who have not already downloaded the McD mobile app must do so in order to take advantage of the limited-time coupon.

Educators will be able to receive a complimentary shake, smoothie, hot or iced coffee, latte, mocha, hot chocolate, iced mocha or frappe with the mobile-only deal.

Meanwhile, several other regions are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day with different offers.

McDonald’s in the greater Philadelphia area will offer schoolteachers a complimentary breakfast between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Tuesday at any of its 285 regional restaurants. Consumers must have their school ID cards ready to show to the cashier.

The chain’s stores in greater Washington, D.C. are also spearheading a Twitter contest. Teachers that pick up a free McCafé beverage on Tuesday are asked to snap a photo with their drink and tweet it to @McDonalds_DMV via the hashtag #TeacherTuesdays.

This will automatically enter their school’s name into a drawing to win $1,000 to use on school supplies for the classroom.

The Twitter contest is open to residents of cities other than Washington, D.C. as well, such as Baltimore, MD. Consumers should check their regional McDonald’s Twitter account to ensure eligibility.

McDonald’s will undoubtedly enjoy greater brand visibility with its Teacher Appreciation Day promotions, and be in a better place to drive more app downloads through the use of relevant incentives.

Tying in local promotions
The fast-food chain has historically seen success in rolling out social media contests and mobile app activations tailored to specific markets, suggesting that other food marketers in its sector should adopt the same strategy.

In April, McDonald’s treated fans in the greater Philadelphia region to a four-pronged sweepstakes campaign and boosted usage of its recently released app by inviting users to redeem any in-app offer during the month of April for a chance to win $50,000 (see story).

Last year, McDonald’s found success in leveraging sports activations within its McD mobile app that offered promotions tied to local sports teams, resulting in 57 percent more active users in those markets (see story).

“McDonald’s has always benefited from local initiatives driven by franchisees who are attuned to what’s happening in their communities, but increasingly we see non-franchised retailers encouraging local managers to do the same,” Mr. Dreymann said. “Store managers at The Home Depot, for example, maintain local Web pages for their locations.

“Every positive interaction with customers is an opportunity to drive more app downloads, but it’s a subsidiary goal, i.e. a brand should not subjugate its marketing strategy to this one metric, there are additional KPIs.”