This week, 352 hosted Alan Magee, VP of Marketing and Technology at Church’s Chicken – a 70-year-old brand which had its most successful year in 2019. Kacie Lett Gordon, SVP of Strategy at 352, moderated an energizing conversation around this consumer brand’s story, how to operationalize growth, and how the lines have blurred between marketing and technology. Below is a brief recap of our conversation: 

Building a roadmap for growth

Alan shared that one of the first initiatives he was tasked with in his current role was creating a 2 – 3 year roadmap outlining how Church’s would move things forward and solidifying the brand in the future. Although no one could have predicted many of the events occurring in 2020, having this roadmap in place in 2019 allowed Alan and the Church’s team to accelerate aspects of the business amidst Covid-19. Their sights were set on creating a fully integrated strategy with a heavy emphasis on digital and technology.

Focus on the foundations

QSR (quick service restaurant) brands are battling for consumer attention in a sea of endless, customizable options. To cut through the noise, Alan focused on their core guests to enhance consistency and provide always-on messaging. The Church’s team focused on getting the foundational pieces of the marketing/technology right, from relaunching their mobile app and CRM to incorporating digital components into internal training. When talking about where they are as a brand today Alan said,

Now we are ready to turn this into a smart house, but we needed the base of the house first.

Harmoniously humanizing technology

When asked about how he gained internal buy-in, Alan candidly shared that he found success in creating stakeholder alignment by using universally understood concepts, like music. He relied on illustrating technical subjects like marketing channels to favorite musicians and the tools within those channels are similar to instruments. “People want to understand technology and digital, but it goes over their heads. You need to put it in layman’s terms sometimes. Ask for feedback, share success stories,” Alan shared.

Evidence-based decision making

Kacie and Alan explored the operational perspective of Church’s products and how they approached testing and learning. Alan responded succinctly and without hesitation, “It’s very difficult.” He went on to share that a lot of their supply chain operations need to support limited time offers. In order to do this successfully, the Church’s team relies on simulated market tests during a research cycle, which involves leveraging historical sales data to create a more accurate supply forecast.

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Join us on July 21st as we talk with Dawn Whaley, President of Sharecare.


352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.