It’s getting increasingly difficult to find ways to add value for our customers. I don’t mean tickets to the Stanley Cup Final or the Super Bowl; I mean ways that really help their business.
The McDonald’s Group, now called “The McDonald’s Division” is responsible for the Coca-Cola business and therefore the relationship with McDonald’s. One of the things we used to do really well was find ways to add real value to the Coca-Cola and McDonald’s partnership. And it wasn’t just tickets to great sporting occasions, although there was some of that as well.
Part of my geographic responsibility when working on the McDonald’s business was Russia. McDonald’s had opened there a mere two months after the Iron Curtain had been torn down in 1989.
On Jan. 31, 1990, more than 30,000 customers stood in line for six hours and paid the equivalent of several days of wages to enjoy McDonald’s Big Macs and other menu items of US fast food fare. Three large and beautifully designed restaurants opened fairly quickly and business boomed.
McDonald’s continued to expand, and as they did so they opened up in St Petersburg and applied the same menu and pricing. However, whilst Moscow boomed, the restaurants in St Petersburg did not.
McDonald’s was concerned. This was not familiar territory and they were unsure what the issue was. Was the consumer so different in St Petersburg?
Meanwhile at Coca-Cola, our marketing dept. found that although the consumer wasn’t necessarily very different, the disposable rubles in their pocket were. The two markets were economically very different. Shortly after McDonald’s realized they had issues, we shared our findings with their marketing people and recommended a change in pricing.
We had experienced similar issues before, and as a result instituted a lower pricing structure in St Petersburg. McDonald’s commenced an Extra Value Meal pricing program and sales almost immediately showed quite dramatic increases.
Do we see the signs of our customer struggles? Are we in tune with where we may be able to help? All our customers have areas where we can contribute and add real value. We just need to be observant and be asking the right questions.
See how easily you can add value. This was just one way we were able to add customer value through shared insights that resulted in profit increases for our largest customer. In coming articles, I’ll be looking at more ways we added value to enhance and keep our partnership on the right track.
What are some of the pain points for your customer? What are they struggling with? What information or resources have you available that can help them?