BUENOS AIRES: A global segmentation study, inspired by McDonald's LatAm, has helped the fast food chain better understand existing and potential customers and the competitive landscape in which it operates.

In an ESOMAR paper, McDonald’s deeper consumer understanding: A holistic approach to segmentation, Volpellier Hernán Rodrigo, Business Insight & Pricing Corporate Director, McDonald's Latin America, and Oscar Yuan, President, Ipsos Strategy3, outline how McDonald's LatAm addressed concerns that the slowdown the brand was experiencing in the rest of the world could affect the region’s own growth.

It partnered with Ipsos to undertake a global segmentation study across 36 countries that assessed the attitudes and behaviors of over 100,000 customers and sought to develop a common language that every market could use when discussing consumers, needs, and initiatives worldwide and identify global priority opportunity areas.

Individual markets conducted segmentations specific to their markets but aligned with the global view, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico in Latin America.

In this way, the authors explain, the brand was able to create a comprehensive view of the consumer across McDonald’s close-in category (quick-service), evolving competitive landscape (grocery stores, delivery, cafeterias, convenience stores, local chains), and their lives more broadly (family values, health, social lives).

By then leveraging two segmentations for each market – one that segmented consumers by attitudes and beliefs and another which parsed out consumer need states – the team could ascertain those areas where McDonald’s held most equity, those that offered the greatest opportunity to focus on and gain share, and those to deprioritize.

The ‘Where to Play’ opportunities thus identified were ranked based on factors such as consumer spending patterns and demographics, with each market coming up with more than 100 proposals.

Common initiatives included loyalty programs, delivery and easy packaging for take-away/grab & go, a new family experience and meal deals (for both the younger and more traditional families), and a more creative approach to feed daily cravings.

Since completion, the authors report, the segmentation has served as the foundation for every subsequent piece of research carried out by the organization and is now a critical component of the tracking program, generating ideas for product innovation, and providing direction for new menu strategy.

McDonald’s also plans to leverage the consumer segmentation for its communications, directing relevant promotions and products to specific segments.

Sourced from ESOMAR