McDonald’s appointment of its first U.S. vice president of digital is the latest step in a widespread revamp the burger chain sees as key to reaching its audience.
Julia Vander Ploeg joins the Golden Arches from Ticketmaster as a member of its Global Digital Team. This group is focused on customer engagement, e-commerce, service delivery and digital content, according to the company’s website.
“Julia’s newly created position will advance McDonald’s efforts in the digital space,” spokeswoman Becca Hary said in an email.
Current job postings in the company’s global digital unit hint at what could be ahead for the team.
A listing for a product director for music and entertainment says the role would include crafting the strategy and product roadmap “for a variety of digital music and entertainment experiences that McDonald’s will provide to customers.”
In addition to negotiating contracts with the music and entertainment industries, this person would also “establish multi-channel music and emerging entertainment programs to reward our most enthusiastic customers and drive frequency.” McDonald’s declined to share more about the position.
Driving foot traffic has proved to be a problem both for McDonald’s and the restaurant industry at large. The company noted second-quarter traffic dropped across all major segments while global comps were relatively flat. Earlier this month, it noted that an earlier forecast of relatively flat global comps for the full year “is now at risk” due to a China supplier issue.
Another posting refers to its ongoing loyalty initiatives. One responsibility of a loyalty product director would be to “establish multi-channel loyalty programs to reward our most enthusiastic customers and drive frequency.”
A UX/interaction designer’s responsibilities would include delivering “design assets for new feature/functionality of shopping experiences (web, mobile, kiosk) and other forms of consumer engagement (games, etc).”
Another for a release manager related to McDonald’s e-commerce platform details how McDonald’s plans to “revolutionize” how it interacts with customers by “removing physical boundaries to allow our customers to connect to and order McDonald’s any time or place, globally.” The role would be in charge of release management of the e-commerce platform and a global mobile ordering app.
The company is already testing mobile ordering in the Columbus, Georgia, market while the McD App, which is available in more than 2,000 U.S. restaurants, sends customizable offers to redeem.
Parts of Australia already offer mobile ordering.
On its recent earnings, McDonald’s stressed the importance of connecting with its customers digitally.
“We’re also accelerating our digital efforts, as we’ve talked about before, leveraging learning from markets like France and Australia, who are now executing some elements of our e-commerce digital strategies,” said CEO Don Thompson on the company’s last earnings call. “We’re also testing various additional elements of our strategy in other markets, like the U.S, Sweden and the U.K., as we refine and execute our global digital vision.”
Thompson already has said the company plans to place greater emphasis on digital in its media mix.
To that end, McDonald’s opened a San Francisco outpost in June. Far from its Midwest roots of Oak Brook, Illinois, the company wants “to create a presence in the heart of the tech community” and enable it “to attract world-class talent from the digital industry,” Hary said.