McDonald’s Marketing Strategy Explained – The Key Insights

McDonald's marketing strategy

The phrase “I’m loving it” is one of the greatest tools that has contributed to McDonald’s marketing strategy, and to its name all over the world.

McDonald's marketing strategy

McDonald’s is undoubtedly one of the world’s largest fast food chains that has been serving us well since decades! Starting from a small burger joint to becoming recognizable as well as one of the favorites of all, McDonald’s has come a long way. 

Starting from funny, interesting advertisements to cool stuff content on TV or on social media platforms, McDonald’s very well knows how to approach their customers and make their offerings look more interesting. 

McDonald’s Company Overview  

Starting from a small burger restaurant in 1940 by brothers Richard James McDonald and Maurice James McDonald, has turned into one of the most successful names in the fast food serving industry. 

McDonald company overview

  • The largest fast food restaurant chain has more than 40,275 McDonald’s restaurants in the world.
  • In India, it has 512 outlets at different locations. 
  • In Australia, it has 1,028 outlets. 
  • In the United Kingdom, it has 1,397 outlets, and the tale continues. 
  • For FY23, McDonald’s recorded $25.49 billion in total revenue. This was a 10% increase from its revenue in 2022, which was $23.18 billion. 
  • In India, McDonald’s reported to have a revenue of INR 22 billion.

McDonald’s Marketing Strategy

McDonald’s marketing strategy is a mix of innovative ideas, marketing campaigns, and advertisements, approaching differently to various customer segments, key components, etc. 

Key Elements of the McDonald’s Marketing Strategy 

Some key elements have been adopted by McDonald’s to have a better hold and recognition in the market. 

(A) Brand Recognition

With the emerging new fast food serving restaurants in the market, McDonald since its establishment has successfully built a strong and valuable brand image in the market and among the customers.

McDonald’s has been consistently recognized for its strong brand image be it on virtual platforms or in a physical space. 

The golden arches and the iconic Ronald McDonald character are deeply rooted and have become so popular out in the world. Apart from it McDonald’s consistently maintains its brand presence across all channels, with more customer loyalty.

McDonald marketing strategies

(B) Segmenting Target Market 

McDonald’s understands that different customer groups have different preferences, food selections, needs, preferences, and behaviors. Therefore it consequently delivers tailored ads, offerings, or campaigns by targeting those customer segments.

(C) Add-ons on the Menu 

With time McDonald’s has launched and innovated its product list and has been adding tasty stuff to their menu list according to different customer groups. 

This constant menu innovation has been a crucial part of McDonald’s marketing strategy. It continuously introduces new foodstuff to its menu while also refining & innovating existing offerings based on customer feedback and preferences.

This helps them to cater to evolving consumer tastes and preferences.

Approaches Used in McDonald’s Marketing Strategy 

1. Targeted Advertising

McDonald sets out its marketing tactics differently according to the various customer segments. This helps the brand to understand more about their customer preferences, food choices, etc.

Therefore for this the brand has used various strategies and tactics that includes their product advertisement, partnerships, targeted campaigns, etc.

For example, McDonalds advertises different family marketing campaigns to target the family customer segment. 


2. Emotional Appeal

Emotional appeal often lets a brand maintain and develop an emotional connection with the audience. In the same way, McDonald’s marketing campaigns often create an emotional appeal to create a connection with its audience.

The brand associates the enjoyable experiences and the special moments in its customer’s life by evoking and rejoicing positive emotions like joy, happiness, and togetherness. 

3. Digital Marketing

McDonald’s does have a good physical presence with its outlets all over the world, and by opening new ones too.

Apart from this, McDonald’s maintains and embraces digital and social media platforms to connect with its customer base more effectively and efficiently.

It uses platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage customers, share promotional offers, and also to have regular feedback.

Also, they have developed their own mobile app, to make online ordering more easy. 

McDonald social media presence

4. Adapting to Local Surroundings 

The company employs strategies and tactics that are suited to local preference and surrounding culture.  It helps them to reach a more wider base of audience by recognizing and adapting to local preferences.

It offers menus that tailors the particular surrounding and regional taste and also maintains its core menu offerings.

For example, considering India, it offers McAloo Tikki burger, catering to the vegetarian population of the country. Apart from that it also offers other vegetarian and nonvegetarian varieties too. 

5. Maintaining Brand Loyalty 

While implementing other marketing strategies, McDonald’s makes good use of its strategies to maintain and build brand loyalty with its customers.

For that they have their notable reward programs, initiatives, and also personalized offers, which all  contribute to its brand loyalty. 

6. Billboard Ads 

McDonald’s makes a lot of use of the traditional billboard ads, which offers the similar marketing as well as promotional aspect just like the ads on TV.

With the billboard ads they can target a huge base of customers, as it provides high-visibility and recognition and are usually placed in the high-traffic areas. 

McDonald billboard ad

Marketing Mix Of McDonald

McDonald’s makes use of the 4Ps of the marketing mix, i.e. Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. 

1. Product 

As the largest fast food restaurant chain in the world, McDonald’s boasts a diverse line-up of its products.

Its products range from burgers (like American Staples, Big Mac, McDouble, etc.), fries, cold drinks from McCafe, desserts, breakfast meals, and more of it. 

McDonald food products

2. Place 

McDonald’s has its outlet in almost every corner of the world. It has more than 40,275 outlets in the world. 

It has also been opening new restaurant outlets and also maintaining a good presence on online ordering, which has been contributing to its presence on every platform. 

3. Price 

McDonald makes use of the value-based pricing model, according to which it sets out its product prices that are pretty affordable and come in everybody’s range. It also sets out to provide more value to its customers with their innovative as well as affordable menu list. 

McDonald food prices

4. Promotion 

McDonald’s has been known for its way of advertising their menu through cool and innovative stuff. McDonald has invested an unbelievable amount of money into advertising campaigns and collaborations.

It uses various promotional tactics that span across different channels like, from traditional TV and radio to social media, and on other mediums too. 

McDonald Marketing Campaigns 

1. Hands Full Campaign

One of the most talked about campaigns of McDonald’s is its “Hands Full” campaign which was launched in 2018. The campaign is clubbed with three different ads, called ‘Hands Full’, ‘Grownup’ and ‘It Must Be’. 

McDonald's Hands Full Campaign
McDonald’s “Hands Full” Campaign

Each one of them shows a different in-store innovation, including the McDonald’s mobile app, in-store order screens, and table service.

2. The Kartik Aaryan Meal Campaign

Another one is the Kartik Aryan Meal. McDonald’s in India launched this new Kartik Aaryan Meal that includes a burger, a pizza, fries, with a different and interesting packaging than the usual one. 

McDonald's Kartik Aaryan Campaign
McDonald’s Kartik Aaryan Campaign

Along with that the meal also offers a QR Code, which upon scanning provides fans with the opportunity to take a selfie with him virtually. 

3. Meals Make Families Campaign

The campaign was launched in 2022 in India. Through this campaign McDonald highlighted the importance of how meals bring families together. 

McDonald's Meals Make Families Campaign
McDonald’s Meals Make Families Campaign

This campaign showcased some relatable and memorable moments people share with families while having a McDonald’s meal.

4. Campaigns During Covid-19 Pandmeic 

The pandemic time which was tough for everyone and safety emerged as a primary concern. Along with that safety and safe concerns also emerged when the restaurants were open after the pandemic . 

McDonald's Covid-19 Ad Campaign
McDonald’s Covid-19 Ad Campaign

During this McDonald launched a series of advertising commercials showcasing how things and scenarios have changed after the pandemic.

Through this campaign they highlighted how things have changed but McDonald’s is still there, providing the same positive & lively experience with extra hygiene and safety measures.

Note: Check our articles, Samsung Marketing Strategy & Nestle Marketing Strategy.

McDonald’s Marketing Strategy: Summing Up 

The success and expansion which McDonald has experienced over the years is the result of its strategic yet innovative and trendy marketing strategies.

These strategies have helped McDonald’s to maintain its brand position as well as its name in the global space of the fast food industry on both platforms, online and offline. 

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Published By: Aashita Singh
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