McDonald’s All-Out Marketing – A Series of Lessons for B2B Marketers

Now past its second week, the 2014 FIFA World Cup has all the world’s attention. But along with it, you have its biggest sponsors: McDonald’s.

Labeling itself the World Cup’s “official restaurant,” it’s certainly a prime example of all out marketing. From its entire menu theme to inspiring ads and youth programs, it’s a wonder how a single brand can tie itself to something that seems actually quite unrelated to its tie-in event.

How do they pull it off? Is it through the food? Player endorsements? Sheer branding power?

It may not actually be all these things. Maybe, it’s because McDonald’s really just has a way of identifying itself with most people. McDonald’s has been famous for a huge share of ads that just really get people connecting not just with the brand but also with each other. Connecting though isn’t just something you can accomplish with consumer advertising. Even B2B marketers can (and should) score for the same goal.

The P in Popular can also stand for People

One McDonald’s World Cup ad featured zero famous players. Instead, it focused on the greatness of seemingly ordinary folks from around the world. B2B marketers often brush off this kind of mass marketing and emotional appeal. But what they don’t realize is that they’re doing this on an even greater scale whenever they engage, nurture, and qualify prospects.

Think about it. These prospects don’t really care for what industry celeb endorses you. They care about how your business sees them and treats them from before they give you the sale to after they’ve become long-standing customer.

Tying in different channels

McDonald’s also redesigned the boxes for its French fries. Not only is the design an obvious nod to FIFA Brazil, it also has a QR code leading to a mobile app GOL! The free app allows other soccer fans from every corner of the globe to engage and interact with each other through a fun, virtual trick-shot challenge.

It’s more than just getting along with the times. McDonald’s is just one of the many brands that have integrated new technologies (QR codes and mobile apps) with traditional marketing (packaging and design). In your case, how does your marketing strategy makes its presence felt from within your products and services?

Market yourself by marketing others

Another part of McDonald’s large campaign is the youth-oriented Player Escort programme. It looks simple enough. You make kids dreams come true by letting them walk hand-in-hand with their superstar soccer players. Everyone’s touched and your PR soars.

Is that all there is to it though? The gesture has more subtle implications. What’s the point of getting close to a star? It’s so that they’ll see you associated with that person (however brief the moment is). Association. Connection. It’s boosting one’s own marketability by marketing others as well. This actually news to B2B marketers but the fact does get glossed over when done by the likes of McDonald’s. Maybe they’d have a different opinion if they realized that client testimonies and thought leadership are more or less the same thing!

The goal of creating human connections is the goal for all marketers. Differences between B2C and B2B are irrelevant in this regard. You might have a different approach to this but you’re still trying to shoot for the same thing.