October 2, 2014 3:42 pm

Mobile Marketing & the “McDonaldization” of Consumer Culture

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George Ritzer, renowned American sociologist and expert on consumer behaviour, has spoken prophetically about the McDonaldization of society which has grown to dominate our consumer culture. According to his theory, we have become a nation driven by concerns of speed, efficiency and convenience – as demonstrated by the McDonalds fast-food style of operation. If we look at our fast-paced culture today, the principles of the fast-food restaurant are undeniably dominating more and more sectors of society, ranging from our own basic lifestyle choices to almost every aspect of the business sector.

Every one of us are active contributors to the McDonaldization that is rapidly governing patterns of consumption. We are a society obsessed with efficiency, reliability and convenience, whether it’s deciding what to eat, where to shop or how to get there. Our brains are racked with deliberating best possible routes to avoid traffic, we shop online at our desks on our lunch break, the daily news comes from the smartphones in our pockets and we can’t help but notice a few local cashiers have been replaced by queue-abolishing self-service tills.


With the internet being deemed the “virtual street” of today’s society due to its accessibility and convenience, it’s pretty clear that online shopping is fast cannibalising traditional retailers. If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you’ve already thought about, or acted on, expanding your business online in some sense, whether it be through social media or e-commerce. Online domination creates one main concern for business owners – how can traditional businesses and growing online businesses get the upper hand on giant retailers who hold an enormous online presence? How can your business thrive within the inevitable McDonaldization of consumer culture?

Many experts, ranging from social theorists to business professionals, claim that one of the simpler solutions lies in effective marketing.

How do you market your business?

Think about how your business markets itself for a second. Are you spending a lot more money than you can afford on newspaper and magazine advertisements?  Is a huge chunk of your marketing budget going towards flyers that will go straight to the bin, flashy posters or billboards? What your business needs is a marketing strategy that targets your consumer audience directly, effectively, is measureable, and most importantly is friendly on the pocket. Mobile Marketing is one particular medium that adopts all of these principles. The versatility and simplicity of the text message means it can be adapted to suit any type of businesses at any growth stage.

I’m sure you`re probably thinking, how could a simple text message outdo a slot in the daily newspaper or a well-located billboard in a bustling city?

Very few will give a second glance at a billboard or a subway poster while legging it from the office to beat the 6 o`clock rush, let alone stop to memorise your business offers. Not only is a worthwhile newspaper slot extremely costly, but traditional print publications have been facing long-term decline since the rise of electronic media, therefore your audience is declining at a rapid rate while the cost of advertising space is sky rocketing to keep newspapers profitable. The secret to marketing success for businesses in today’s fast-paced society is adopting and implementing the principles that have deemed us the McDonalized Culture – speed, efficiency, predictability and control.


Characteristics of McDonaldization in Mobile Marketing


1. Speed/Efficiency

The extensive amount of traditional and online retailers that exist today leave customers overwhelmed with choice and variety. Ideally, consumers prefer to make snappy decisions based on convenience, in other words, what`s right front of them. This is where Targeted Mobile Marketing comes in. What’s effective about mobile marketing is that it enables you to build a database of customers that have already transacted or shown interest in your store, therefore you`re targeting customers you KNOW are interested in your products, you’re promoting brand awareness by reminding them you`re there, while at the same time enticing them back in with regular offers. On a Friday evening when a customer is contemplating where to do their weekend shopping, receiving a text from your store immediately puts you in their thought process, and could be the little push they need to drive them in the door. Not only is it convenient for the customer, it couldn’t be more efficient for your business and your budget. With one click of a button a message is sent to an entire database of customers at only a tiny fraction of the standard SMS rate. No time is wasted delegating marketing tasks to busy employees, no collaborating with advertising or design companies, no advertising material wasted on a mass audience that might not take a second glance. Simple? Yes. Effective? Hell, yes.

2. Predictability

In an ideal world, businesses would be able to predict the outcome of every marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the unpredictability of consumer behaviour allows for no such certainty.  What CAN be predicted is how effective a business is in reaching their target market if the right medium is chosen. With traditional media; if a business puts an ad in the paper or on a public billboard for example, it`s impossible to be certain how many people, or what grouping of people, will look or even take notice of the advertisement. In contrast to older media, predictability is one of the steady building blocks of mobile marketing. Here`s why…

  • We all love to text

    Research shows that on average we check our mobile phone every 6 minutes; for most of us, our mobile phones have quite figuratively become an extension of our body. In saying that, research today has established that 98% of text messages are opened by the recipient, therefore you are guaranteed that 98% of your customer database will see the offers sent by your business.



  • The audience is predictable

    The customer database is built and created by you; therefore you can be certain that your message reaches your target market. You are certain of when they receive it, how they receive it and are 98% certain they will open it. Pretty good odds if you ask me!


  • Predictability at customer level

    By opting in to receiving text messages from a company, customers EXPECT to receive weekly or fortnightly promotional offers. Regular correspondence from your store is expected by the consumer, which in turn narrows down the overwhelming choice offered to them by competitors.


3. Control

Mobile marketing platforms offer a degree of control unparalleled by other marketing media. How many marketing channels are data-driven, allowing businesses to market differently to customers based on transaction history? There are also few mediums out there today that have conversion and opt out reports, enabling businesses to monitor the success or failure of any campaign, and at the same time allowing them to measure ROI.

Here are just some of the control features offered by the mobile messaging platform…

  • Automated Messaging:

    Automated mobile messaging platforms such as the ZinMobi platform allow the user to schedule individual, group or bulk messages ahead of time, so your marketing strategies can be planned weeks or months in advance, taking the stress off you when you’re at your busiest. Targeted automated messages can also be scheduled to go out daily, weekly or monthly based on customers` transaction patterns without you having to lift a finger.


  • Customer Profiling:

    No one customer is the same. Regular customers might only need a very small push to get them in the door, whereas lapsed customers may need a little something extra, or what we call a WOW offer. Data driven mobile marketing companies focus on transaction patterns and purchase history so you can market differently to each customer for the purpose of maximising profits. There`s no sense in sending your best offers to customers who will purchase from you regardless of communication. Customer profiling allows you to control the offers you send; saving your WOW offers to attract back lapsed customers, while at the same time keeping your repeat customers happy with regular offers.


  • Mobile Couponing & Conversion Rates:

    The ZinMobi messaging platform provides complete tracking and visibility of every campaign`s performance. Mobile couponing is used to trigger purchases and can be personalized based on transaction data, most effectively, the time that has elapsed since the last transaction which allows you to focus on lapsing customers. Monitoring conversion rates from mobile couponing means the success or failure of campaigns is measurable and easily assessed. Ideally a successful campaign will have a high conversion rate and a low opt-out rate; therefore unsuccessful campaigns are traceable and can be improved upon or substituted based on reports. It’s safe to say that targeted mobile messaging takes controlled marketing to a whole new level.


In a Nutshell…

If a business is to survive in our fast-paced society it is advised they adopt the basic principles of McDonaldization that coincide with today’s consumer demands. The fast-food industry places a great deal of emphasis on things that can be calculated, counted and quantified; as does effective marketing. Replacing traditional marketing media with newer technologies such as Targeted Mobile Marketing is a firm stepping stone in getting ahead of both online and offline competition, without burning a hole in your pocket, and at the same time adhering to demands of speed, efficiency and convenience.

Free Webinar: How to increase sales without a single new customerReady to learn more?

Join us on November 5th 2014 for a free webinar on the three metrics you should be using to create the most effective and targetied mobile messaging campaigns. The webinar builds on the information given here to give you practical step by step guidance on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Register here today!