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05 Jun / An Unlikely Trendsetter in a Complexly Cultural World

In the ever-growing world of online and mobile accessibility, marketing to mass amounts of consumers has never been easier. Yet, are generalized messages truly what win people over? McDonald’s would say no, and based on the success of their marketing strategy, they may be right. If you are wondering just how they do it, the answer is actually…you!

By embracing individual differences and considering a variety of different cultures, McDonald’s raises the bar in the world of marketing.

The process they use, segment marketing, includes dividing their entire audience into smaller sections. This allows for more meaningful interactions on an individualized level. This may sound like a simple idea, however, what makes this tactic truly special is how McDonald’s executes the process.

With the addition of multiple segments comes an increased need for individuals to oversee these segments. Once divided, McDonald’s assigns a specialist to each group. Each section has its own specialized marketing manager, otherwise known as a Market Segment Manager.

Brand Cross Cultural Index

Brand Cross Cultural Index (Image from Millward Brown)

So how exactly does McDonald’s decide how to segment their audience? Well, location, demographics, and existing behavior predictions all contribute. If you have ever stopped into a McDonald’s while traveling outside, or even inside, the United States, perhaps you have noticed something unique on the menu.

Often times, specialty sandwiches and desserts that reflect local food are offered in addition to the beloved classics. Some fun international items include Japan’s Filet O’ Shrimp sandwich, India’s McVeggie, Australia’s Bakehouse Brekkie Roll, and much more.

McDonald’s does not create segments strictly based on culture or geographical location. By taking into account preexisting behaviors, segments based on age and attitude also play a role in their grand marketing scheme.

And if you are curious as to whether or not this strategy is working for McDonald’s, there are numbers supporting their success. Ranking second only by a mere nine points on the 2013 Brand Cross Cultural Index, it is clear that the fast food giant has found an effective tactic to reach its segments.

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