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How Mary Brown’s successfully marketed their mobile app launch


Company Bio

Mary Brown’s Chicken and Taters has been serving Canadians for over 50 years. Starting in St. John’s, Newfoundland, they’ve expanded Canada-wide with over 170 franchised and corporately-owned locations. Their menu includes signature chicken, such as their nine-piece feast, and their famous Big Mary sandwich.



Mary Brown’s engaged Smooth Commerce to develop a new mobile app experience for their customers. As they approached their Canada-wide launch of September 8th, they considered ways to promote their app to customers to yield a successful adoption rate and how to leverage the app to win new customers. It was necessary for Mary Brown’s to get creative in their advertising and promotional initiatives to reach people and encourage them to download their app during the pandemic.



Mary Brown’s took a multi-channel promotional approach to planning their mobile app launch. They leveraged a variety of media to reach their customers wherever they were. They also invested in a compelling first-time user offer – a free Big Mary – to entice customers and use it as a hook in their promotional efforts. Let’s highlight a few of the examples they used as a promotional strategy to encourage customers to download their new app:

Social media

Mary Brown’s announced their new app through all of their social media channels, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They continue to frequently post to encourage people to download their app and include links to their app on the App Store and Google Play. They’ve also shared videos of their app in-action and made fun commercials, such as the one in this link.

In-store marketing

Inside Mary Brown’s locations, they used table cards and posters to promote their new mobile app. Their poster included the words “You had me at FREE Big Mary” to showcase the first-time offer that customers receive when they download the app.

Exterior signage

Mary Brown’s used signage on the outside of their locations to share the news of their new mobile app. The window posters featured the headline “Download the NEW Mary Brown’s app” to let passersby know they had something fresh, other than their chicken, to offer.

Radio advertisements

Mary Brown’s wanted to ensure all of their customers knew about their new mobile app. To achieve this, they placed advertisements on the radio station KiSS 92.5. If a customer was listening to their commercial while driving, they could easily make a stop at Mary Brown’s on their way home.


Once customers downloaded the app, the Mary Brown’s team utilized the marketing capabilities of Smooth Commerce’s Merchant Portal to stay top-of-mind with app users. Let’s explore some of the ways they did this:

Push notifications

The Mary Brown’s team leveraged the Merchant Portal to send out a push notification to app users who had not redeemed their free Big Mary. They used the segment tool to isolate the users who did not redeem the first-time offer and sent them a push notification as a reminder. The segment tool eliminated unnecessarily following up with customers who already redeemed the offer by targeting the push notification to those who hadn’t.

App feed marketing card

Mary Brown’s app has a dynamic home feed. Their team used the Merchant Portal to create a new app feed marketing card to remind users to redeem the free Big Mary they receive on their first purchase through the app. It’s good practice to give customers more than one reminder about a promotion in case they miss your first message.


“Mary Brown’s made an important commitment to invest in the success of their app launch with a comprehensive marketing and promotional campaign and compelling first time offer. These initiatives produced impressive results with strong initial traction for the mobile app that is continuing to grow,” Brian Deck, CEO of Smooth Commerce.

“We made the successful launch of our new mobile app a priority. We dedicated our marketing resources to the effort, and Smooth Commerce’s team provided us with exceptional support through training staff, both at head office and Mary Brown’s locations, to ensure that we were set up for success,” Jeff Barlow, Vice President of Marketing at Mary Brown’s.



Within 30 days of launch:

  • Over 58,000 users signed up for the app
  • 45% of new users made a purchase
  • Reached #8 in Food & Drink on the App Store



During a launch for a mobile app or web ordering, it’s key to highlight the ordering system’s benefits for your customers. Having a rewarding loyalty program with an enticing first-time offer is also key to encourage first-time users to download your app and motivate continued use. Mary Brown’s was able to successfully launch their mobile app because they leveraged these principles using a multi-channel approach.

Mary Brown’s was also able to keep the users that downloaded their app engaged by utilizing Smooth Commerce’s Merchant Portal. By using the app feed and push notifications, they stayed top-of-mind with their customers and encouraged purchases. Having both a short and long-term marketing strategy to support your mobile app is key to high adoption and continued customer use and engagement.


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