McDonalds needs to find ways to attract more young people

McDonalds needs to find ways to attract more young people
Image Credit:
Mike Mozart

The product managers at McDonald’s have a problem on their hands. A recent study revealed that among younger burger eaters, the millennials, only one in five has ever eaten a Big Mac burger. For a 61 year-old burger chain, this does not bode well for the future. McDonald’s product managers need to take a look at their product manager job description and realize that they have a new job on their hands: they need to figure out how they’re going to go about capturing younger customers.

The Challenge That McDonalds Faces With Younger Customers

If you were a McDonald’s product manager and you woke up one day and realized that today’s younger generation was no longer visiting your restaurants and buying your food, what would you do? If you are like most of us, you’d realize that you need to start to have a discussion with this segment of your market in order to better understand what their wants and needs are. If you understand these, then you can create a dining experience that they’ll be willing to visit you to experience.

Here in the 21st Century, when you want to strike up a conversation with someone we all know how to go about doing this. Social Media. There are a number of companies out there that do a very, very good job of using social media to communicate with their customers: Starbucks and Zappos, have been doing this for years. They use social media to deal with all sorts of things like customer complaints, generate ideas, and to run promotions.

As recently as two years ago, McDonalds really had no way to respond to anything that was being said about it online. What makes this sorta amazing is that the McDonald’s global brand is mentioned online once every one to two seconds. McDonald’s has finally gotten around to setting up their own social media team. The product managers have set up digital media hubs in London, Singapore, and Oak Brook, IL. The goal of this team is to help McDonald’s find ways that they can win back the millennials that the company has lost to competitors who serve fresher food.

McDonald’s Product Manager’s Plans For Capturing Younger Customers

We all view social media as being a powerful tool that can be used to reach out to customers. This has been shown to be the case when there are customers with complaints – unhappy customers can be dealt with quickly and turned once again into happy customers. However, experts who have spent time studying social media caution product managers that the focus that they may apply to social media could end up producing very little return for their efforts. The number of tweets that a company sends or the number of Facebook likes that they receive do not necessarily translate into increased sales.

Social media has already turned out to be an important communication tool for the McDonald’s product managers. Their target market, millennials, started to use Twitter to complain about the fact that breakfast was not being served at McDonald’s past 10:30 in the morning. Based on this input, the chain has extended their breakfast menu to now be available all day. This change has paid off for McDonald’s. A recent survey of millennials revealed that 78% of the respondents said that they had visited a McDonald’s at least once in the past month. This was the best result that McDonald’s had seen in the past three years. Now that’s something to add to your product manager resume!

Recently, when the McDonald’s product managers were getting ready to roll out a new advertising campaign that talked about how their burgers are prepared, instead of setting up a focus group to test their ads, they turned to social media. The product managers decided to run ads on both Instagram and Facebook talking about the source, quality, and taste of their burgers. The feeling was that this type of advertising allowed McDonald’s to tailor their ads to the millennials and their specific needs.

What All Of This Means For You

Over at the very large fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s the product managers have a bit of a problem on their hands. One of the largest groups of consumers, millennials, are not eating at McDonald’s restaurants as much as the company would like them to. This means that the McDonald’s product managers need to take a careful look at their product development definition and determine what needs to be changed in order to capture the younger customers.

The first step in this process is to strike up a dialog with their target customers. The way that this gets done these days is to become active using social media tools. McDonald’s has gone ahead and set up three separate digital media hubs worldwide. The hope is that this will help them to win back customers that they have lost. The company is going to have to carefully evaluate what kind of benefits their social media involvement yields for them. It has already yielded one success in helping the company to understand that their younger customers wanted to be able to get breakfast menu items all day long.

Social media is a big deal. More importantly from the McDonald’s product manager’s point of view social media is how one of their most important target markets, millennials, choose to communicate. Taking the time to get involved in social media is probably a very good idea because it will allow McDonald’s to listen to what their customers are saying about them. The product managers are then going to have to figure out what steps to take once they know what their customers really want.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: When it comes to social media, do you think that McDonald’s should do more listening or talking?

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P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The Christmas season has always been the time that home owners take the time to decorate the outside of their homes to celebrate the season. What this generally involved was going into either the attic or the basement in order to drag out box after box that contain outside lights and decorations. Once this had been done, next came the physical challenge of putting up all of the lights and finding enough extension cords to connect them to outlets so that they could be turned on. This was a strenuous undertaking that nobody ever looked forward to. This was all before lasers got involved.

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How to get millennials to buy groceries

How to get millennials to buy groceries
Image Credit:
Britt-knee

If you were the product manager for a grocery store, you wouldn’t think that you’d have to worry about getting young people to come into your store and buy things, would you? I mean, we all need the food products that grocery stores sell. Traditionally people have always shopped for food the same way: they made up a list, they came to the store, and they bought everything that was on their list. However, it turns out that with the millennials things are a bit different…

Why Millenials Don’t Shop Like Their Parents

So what do we know about millennial shoppers? The one thing that we can say about all of them is that they are in love with e-commerce – they grew up with the stuff. Unlike their parents who planned out what they were going to go buy when they went to the grocery store, government studies have shown that the millennials seem to go grocery shopping less often than their parents did. It looks like it’s time for grocery store product managers to change their product development definition.

One of the big problems that grocery store product managers are facing is that the shopping habits of millennials are different from the people who have made up the bulk of grocery store customers in the past. The millennials are spreading their purchases out over several different options. These options can include online grocery stores such as Amazon’s AmazonFresh, convenience stories that now carry more options, and non-traditional grocery stores such as Wal-Mart and Target stores.

Studies have shown that people between 25-34 years of age spent an average of $3,539 on average for groceries over the course of a year. It turns out that this is $1,000 less than the same group spent back in 1990. When you take a look at everyone who is buying groceries, the average spent last year was $4,015.

What Grocery Store Product Managers Can Do To Attract Millenials

This change in millennial spending patterns is not really the fault of grocery store product managers. Instead, the financial crisis left millennials with a lot of student debt and fairly weak job prospects. The result of this situation is that there has been a drag placed on consumer spending. As proof of this, sales at food and beverage retailers rose by 3.7% between 2002 and 2007. However, spending only rose by 2.4% from 2008 to 2013.

What product managers are discovering is that millennials are putting off marriage and childbearing milestones both of which generally result in more trips to the grocery store. In order to get millennials to shop at their stores, grocery store product managers are starting to roll out smartphone apps that allow customers to place their orders in advance. Do this right and you’ll have something to put on your product manager resume.

Additionally, product managers are starting to introduce new product lines. To help millennials get access to all of the products that the grocery store offers, grocery store product managers are starting to form partnerships with other firms. This include firms that can deliver groceries to customer’s homes thus eliminating the need for them to ever come to the grocery store in the first place.

What All Of This Means For You

You would think that being a product manager for a grocery store would be a good job to have. I mean, your product manager job description says that everyone needs the product that your store sells so you should have no lack of customers. However, what these product managers are starting to discover is that their millennial customers are going to the grocery store less often.

The reasons for the changes in shopping behavior are many. One of the most important ones is because the recent economic crisis has put a dent on the amount of money that millennials have to spend and so they go to the store less and end up spending less. Additionally, since millennials are putting off getting married and having children they have less need for what a grocery store sells. Millennials also have a host of alternative locations where they can drop in and buy the food that they need instead of going to a traditional grocery store. Product managers are reacting to this change in purchasing behavior by starting to create mobile apps that allow customers to place their orders for food online. They are starting to carry new lines of products that millennials can’t get anywhere else and they are now offering delivery service so that customers don’t even have to come to the grocery store any more.

The good news for grocery story product managers is that the products that they sell are critical products for their customers – everyone needs them. However, because of changing lifestyles, these product managers are going to have to change how they offer their products to the youngest generation. The steps that they’ve taken so far are good – they are making it easier to buy groceries. They are going to have to continue to move the world of grocery shopping into the world of ecommerce.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What can grocery store product managers do to compete with non-traditional grocery stores like Wal-Mart?

Click here to get automatic updates when
The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The product managers at McDonald’s have a problem on their hands. A recent study revealed that among younger burger eaters, the millennials, only one in five has ever eaten a Big Mac burger. For a 61 year-old burger chain, this does not bode well for the future. McDonald’s product managers need to take a look at their product manager job description and realize that they have a new job on their hands: they need to figure out how they’re going to go about capturing younger customers.

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