In early 2003, McDonald's experienced their first ever financial loss after 12 months of decline.


What could they do to turn their finances around?


Most thought the solution was to offer 'healthy' food. However, many attempts by McDonald's to introduce

'healthy' food on their menu had failed.


People do not go to McDonald's to buy 'healthy' food!


So McDonald's followed the basic rules of marketing:


Who were their customers?

They realized that they were not serving just one monolithic group of customers but many different types of people and different segments of the market.


What did they value?

The challenge was to find something a particular segment of the market would value and buy.



The marketing department found that one of the largest types of sales was one or two Happy Meals plus a

Diet Coke. It seemed that parents, especially mothers, would take their children to McDonald's for Happy Meals

but didn't want to eat a greasy hamburger themselves! So they just bought a Diet Coke.


Create a product and service

McDonald's created a 'Premium Salad'. This was not a gourmet salad for salad connoisseurs. It was not to

lure customers into the store. It was something mothers could buy who were already in the restaurant under

duress! For them, it was better than eating nothing at all.


The marketing strategy worked! Not only did the Premium Salad sell but sales of Happy Meals increased too!


The first rule of Marketing: Find who your customers are and what they value.


Source: What is Marketing? Dr Ryan Hamilton