Down to the Nugget: Localization

Vegetarian burgers in India, tofu McNuggets in Japan and spacious, well-decorated restaurants in France are all ways that McDonald’s has accommodated local preferences into their business strategy. Geo-targeted advertising, or localization—the practice of delivering custom content on local factors like a market, city, household, or even an individual consumer—has companies succeeding at the local level. Marketing isn’t a one size fits all strategy. Observation and insight help to determine local markets to target and how businesses can optimize product assortments to local demand.

Steps to Having a Strategic View Towards Localization

1. Understand how consumer behaviors differ at each product level, be it a category, subcategory or brand. For example, desserts from McDonald’s may be selling well in India, but not the beef burgers. Since India has a largely vegetarian population, McDonald’s quickly localized by serving 100% vegetarian burgers.

2. Assess the geographic differences in demand for these products and let them serve as a basis for determining where to localize. For instance, France is the second biggest market for McDonald’s. Since French people spend more than two hours a day at the table, French McDonald’s are spacious and tastefully decorated to encourage people to take their time while eating.

3. Identify the households that fit your strategic consumer profile within the market, and then engage with those consumers via marketing programs that cater to the uniqueness of their market and behaviors.