You hear the word “McDonald’s” and where does your mind wander to? Do you start to drool over a Quarter Pounder with cheese? Maybe you begin to smell their fries, fresh out of the fryer? Maybe you begin to think about their successful marketing campaigns and how you can apply their ideas to your business?
If you thought the latter, then congratulations: You are a true entrepreneur or small business owner!
Don’t worry if your mind didn’t go to the business side of McDonald’s; I’d be lying if I said a chocolate shake didn’t sound tasty right now. But you can use their business principles to fuel your growing small business by following some of their marketing strategies.
Create an iconic logo to make it easy for customers to easily recognize your brand. The logo colors you choose for your company, as well as the logo you’ll be using, are crucial to branding. Remember, colors have the ability to bring out emotions in people, and that could potentially turn away or bring in traffic. It’s also important to take into account what color combinations may say; for example, red and green may make people associate your brand with Christmas and will assume that’s all you do. Or, they’ll get lost in their thoughts about childhood Christmases and will forget about your company.
Your logo should be something that will easily attract and hold someone’s attention. This is especially true for stores in downtown areas with a lot of drive-by traffic. Your store’s name can be as cutesy and sweet as you want, but unless someone can read it and comprehend it quickly, it won’t matter. You want something that people can see and remember instantly.
Take a look at Quality Logo Products. In addition to having the full name of the company spelled out, we also have a short ‘QLP’ that makes it easy for people to instantly recognize (and hopefully order promotional products, but that’s neither here nor there).
If you run multiple store locations, then keep everything consistent. This not only applies to policies (return policies should be uniform and not vary from one location to the next), but also to décor. Your locations may not benefit from a ‘variety is the spice of life’ attitude, so it’s probably best to avoid using a different theme at each one. Customers enjoy walking in and knowing what to expect. Deliver a consistently high-quality product and service, and you’ll be sure to keep them coming back for more!
Offer a wide variety of products in order to maximize your customer target. McDonald’s has at least one menu item for everyone to take the edge off of hunger for a few hours. While some may argue that they’re steering too far away from their intended purpose (hamburgers, shakes, fries), others could say they’re just maximizing their reach (fruit smoothies, salads, etc.).
A family of four could stop there for lunch and everyone could find something to eat. Dad could get a Big Mac, Mom gets a Caesar Salad, Tommy could get a Quarter Pounder with cheese and fries, and little Susie could get a Happy Meal (complete with a fairy princess toy). You won’t please everyone all the time, but you should aim to please some people part of the time.
Your industry will determine which products you should carry. Maybe you’re carrying products or services in a variety of prices in order to attract people, or maybe it’s the products themselves. The products with the fewest options will be at the bottom of the pricing scale, while the products with all the bells and whistles will be at the higher end of the scale. Customers can fit into one of these areas and find exactly what they’re looking for, and at the price they want.
McDonald’s has decades of experience tinkering with what consumers will put up with and what they won’t. Don’t waste your own marketing dollars to repeat their mistakes; steal their successes and make them work for your company!
Are there any other lessons you can pull away from McDonalds’ marketing? Any lessons of theirs that you shouldn’t repeat? Sound off below!