Me Encanta: McDonald’s Latino-Targeted Marketing is Something to Love
Despite making up 17 percent of the U.S. population and a projected $1.5 trillion in purchasing power in 2015, most marketers fail when selling to–or even acknowledging–the Latino population. But after McDonald’s won Marketer of the Year at the American Hispanic Advertising Association’s annual conference, it highlighted exactly what the fast food giant was doing right in terms of targeting Latinos.
A deeper look into how McDonald’s respects and celebrates Latino customers can be a lesson to any firm hoping to capture what is usually an untapped and ignored market sector.
McDonald’s Loves Latinos
McDonald’s habit of marketing toward the Latino demographic is nothing new: The Big Mac purveyor has been a sponsor of Latino-facing events like the Latin Grammys and World Cup Soccer for years. But McDonald’s has been taking their efforts more seriously by increasing their Latino marketing budget to $111.4 million. This YouTube video on amazing soccer trips is a clever form of marketing that McDonald’s used to promote FIFA (and themselves):
And though the marketing ROI is hard to define for that particular video, the viral branding that results from it is nearly priceless.
This consistency in advertising helps to build unparalleled trust within the Latino community. Instead of feeling as though they’re the cultural “flavor of the week,” Latinos know that McDonald’s has seen them as powerful consumers for decades (Adam Salgado, McDonald’s VP of U.S. Marketing noted that the marketing strategy began in the 1980s). While other brands are just now beginning to understand the breadth of Latino consumerism, McDonald’s has shown appreciation for 25 years.
Lessons to Learn
McDonald’s is careful to avoid distilling the Latino population to a handful of stereotypes: In fact, the restaurant has separate marketing directors for its Hispanic, Asian, and American markets. By employing three separate directors based on culture, McDonald’s successfully steers away from the one-size-fits-all Hispanic-targeted advertising that can sometimes feel simplified and even, at times, a little disparaging. By inviting a member of the Hispanic community to actually advise and decide on campaigns, Hispanic customers feel as though diversity is respected, instead of parodied.
McDonald’s also utilizes communication as a method for building brand loyalty. Rather than simply translating the U.S. or English version of the website into Spanish, McDonald’s created an entirely new Spanish website, complete with culturally-appropriate content and advertising. It proves that rather than making Hispanics a marketing afterthought, McDonald’s values the community as loyal customers. McDonald’s even offers scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students through its sister site, MeEncanta.com. By offering content, social media, and websites–not only translated, but optimized for Hispanic consumers–McDonald’s respects its Hispanic audience.
Not everyone has the marketing budget of McDonald’s, but any firm can learn from the fast food juggernaut’s approach to multicultural advertising. By focusing on the Hispanic community as one of the main facets of marketing strategy (and, in turn, taking the time to understand what those Hispanic customers really want), McDonald’s has succeeded where many retailers have failed in the past. In the end, it’s about both knowing and respecting all of your customers.