Learning from McDonald's Marketing Strategy

by JaneG

What can I as a blogger, web publisher and small online business person learn from McDonald's marketing strategy?

When it comes to business and marketing strategy I don’t believe in trying to reinvent the wheel completely. By learning from smart profitable businesses, that have stood the test of time, you can make more intelligent business decisions. So what can we learn from McDonald's marketing strategy?

Well first just how well is McDonalds doing, as a company? Below is a graph of McDonald's earnings per share over the last few years. It shows a steady climb in earnings over this period. That is not at all what I expected. McDonald's is in the restaurant business. In a recession, like the one we had in this time period, people eat out less. They prepare their own food because that's cheaper. So while other restaurants where going bankrupt McDonald's earnings climbed steadily.

McDonalds EPS graph
McDonalds EPS graph

Mind real estate

When I think about shoes I think Nike, when I think about soda I think Coka-Cola and when I think about burgers, I think McDonald's. These companies own a bit of real estate in my mind and that makes their brands worth millions of dollars. Once you have that association in a clients mind replacing it is an expensive business. McDonald's has their logo, their slogan and their clown to reinforce the associations in our minds.

As an online publisher/writer I can use the power of social networking to build a relationship with my readers. Linking their passion for a niche to me and my website in their minds. That way I can improve my return traffic greatly. If the search engines is your only source of traffic, you are very vulnerable to changes in their search algorithms.

Once you have finished reading this article why not subscribe to me on Facebook. That way you will be notified whenever I write a new article. Knowledge is the key to success in marketing and business.

Would you like fries with that?
Would you like fries with that?

The upsell

Whenever you order something at a McDonald's the staff will try to get you to buy more than you intended to order. If you ask for a Big Mac, they will ask you if you want the meal. If you order a burger and soda, they are trained to ask you whether you want fries with that. So upselling is when you sell more to a customer than they came in the door intending to buy. If you get good at it, upselling can make a major difference to your profits.

Product consistency

Are McDonald's burgers great? No, they are good, but not great. What they do have going for them is that they have very consistent products. Whether I have a Big Mac, in my home town or in Paris France, it's always the exactly the same burger.

As I mentioned before I am in the business of publishing content, building a relationship with my readers and also marketing niche specific products to them. So to me consistency means that everything I publish reaches a certain minimum level of quality. It doesn't have to be perfect, but every page needs to deliver value to my readers.

Target market

When I think about a business's target market, I define them as the group people that benefit from that business's products and service, if they know about those products and services.

When you look ad McDonald's advertising it's pretty clear that their focus is mostly on families. Particularly families with small children. Some McDonald's restaurants have play areas for the kids. The colors and pictures in side of the restaurant are all very bright and appealing to kids. Most of the options on the menu appeals to children and of course their mascot is a clown. Targeting children has been a successful strategy for McDonald's, because these kids bring their families with them.

If your business is mostly online, researching the needs of your target market, may be tricky. I use Google's Analytics and certain other programs to track the sources of traffic, to my site. Using these tools I can get a Geographic breakdown of where my traffic is coming from. I can also tell what users are searching for on the search engines that leads them to my site. This doesn't give me a complete picture of who is visiting my site, but it does give me some idea.

Whenever I publish an article, I use Google Adwords to look at the keywords that are related to the topic, which gets searched for on Google Search most frequently. I then optimize my articles for those keywords.

I keep an eye on sites like Yahoo Answers and forums in my niche. This gives me an idea of what matters to consumer and what information they are looking for.

Using all these tools together I can tell who my readers are and I can give them what they want to read.

If you enjoyed reading this article you might also like how to become a better Essay writer.

I hope you have found Learning from McDonald's Marketing Strategy useful. If you have an opinion on this article, please share it below.

Updated: 02/10/2013, JaneG
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Tolovaj on 06/21/2012

I agree, McDonalds has great business plan and even better realization. We all can learn a lot from their business strategy. Maybe you can expand it to their franchise policy? McDonalds is known for occupying extremely good places (not good looking, but with a lot of traffic) and this strategy can also be converted to web publishing business: we need to publish in places with good traffic, or at least take care of good promotion.
Thanks for your explanations and comparisons.

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