Can McDonald’s Be Fast Again — in Service and Sales Growth?

19 Jan

Isn’t it time for a number of fast-food restaurants to return to their roots and offer scaled-down menus and fast service?

In the “good old days,” fast-food menus were really simple. Take a look at this early McDonald’s menu, for example. (And yes, as with everything in the “good old days,” prices were really low then. :-) )

Photo by Getty Images

However, over the last several years, many fast-food chains have added numerous items to their menus — sometimes to broaden their target markets and other times to include some healthier items.

Consider this 2015 screen capture from McDonald’s Web site. It’s not even readable unless you actually visit the Web site. [Please read more below the image!!!]

Mcdonalds menu

McDonald’s seems to have gotten the message — albeit just a bit so far. After a period of lackluster results, the world’s biggest fast-food chain has decided to trim its menu. To date, the other leading fast-food food restaurants do NOT seem to have gotten this message at all.

Keeping in mind the screen shot above, what do you think of this move by McDonald’s? 

According to Mary Bowerman, writing for USA Today:

“McDonald’s is sending eight items to the chopping block and maybe even getting rid of some ingredients, as the fast-food chain tries to revamp its supersize-me reputation. The chain announced plans to speed up service time by simplifying the menu and reducing the number of Extra Value Meals from 16 to 11. The chain plans on reducing choices of various items, meaning instead of four quarter-pound options, consumers will have one.”

 

Entrepreneurs Feeling GREAT About 2015

17 Jan

After enduring the Great Recession, many — but, by no means all — entrepreneurs have done better the last couple of years. So, how are they feeling as we enter further into 2015?

As Leigh Buchanan reports for Inc., the leading publication devoted to entrepreneurs, as well small and fast-growing firms:

“Entrepreneurs, optimistic by nature, are particularly — indeed, almost giddily — enthusiastic. Our second annual State of Small Business survey finds their collective confidence up sharply from last year. While they do have concerns — about health care costs, political gridlock, and regulation — most seem to share the sentiments of J. Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile in Chicago, who says, ‘It would take something pretty significant to inhibit the growth we’ve been experiencing.'”

“The percentage of respondents who describe themselves as ‘very confident’ about the economy’s prospects over the next 12 months has almost tripled, from just under 10 percent last year to 26 percent this year. The number who say they have little confidence that the economy will be strong has dropped by more than half.”

“Survey respondents, drawn from the Inc. 5000 universe of America’s fastest-growing companies, were even more upbeat about the prospects for their own companies, with 57 percent rating them as ‘excellent,’ versus 38 percent [last year]. The percentage who see their company’s 12-month outlook as average or poor fell from 16 percent to just 8 percent.”

Click the image to read more.
 
Inc

 

What Are the 50 Most Socially Influential Brands?

16 Jan

There are various reports on the social influence of brands. A new brand rating from Lithium Technologies (whose social software helps companies respond on social networks and build trusted content on a community they own) rates the  importance of the leading 50 social global brands.

In its ranking system, Lithium notes the following:

“The Klout 50 is a ranking of the top 50 global brands with the most social influence and engagement. The Klout 50 is the ultimate ranking of brands that are authentically connecting with their digital audience. These social elite brands are the most active on social media platforms and their audiences consistently share and interact with their digital content.

“Amazon lands the #1 spot followed by Microsoft and MTV. These brands are reinventing the way they connect with people and share experiences on social media. They are authentic, create compelling and meaningful content as well as engage with everyone – not just the positive, most influential fans.”

“The Klout 50 is based on the Interbrand 2014 Best Global Brands report and corresponding Klout Scores. Klout Scores are compiled using proprietary algorithms, determined by more than 400 signals from eight different networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well as real world data from Wikipedia. Brand value strength is not enough to succeed on social media, as evidenced by only Microsoft, Google, and McDonald’s being recognized for their global brand and social media success, securing a top ten spot on both the Klout 50 and Interbrand’s list.”

Click the image to see the Klout 50 and read more.
 

 

Are Firms Now Smarter About the Customers to Target with Discount Offers?

15 Jan

We know that many shoppers regularly look for discounts, and typically won’t make many discretionary purchases without them. But, there are also shoppers who often buy without looking for a sale. Through their access to big data, a growing number of firms are learning to better target their discounts.

As Shelly Banjo reports for the Wall Street Journal:

“There’s a growing gap in retailing between those who get discounts and those who don’t. Retailers such as Stage Stores Inc., which runs 880 department stores, including the Bealls and Goody’s chains, are starting to pare back the promotions by showing them only to customers who respond to price reductions. At the other end of the spectrum, Stage Stores has shoppers who are more interested in nabbing the newest styles in shoes and handbags than in sniffing out bargains. Stage Stores rarely advertises clearance sales to them.”

“After years of collecting data, retailers have gotten savvier about how to use it. They are trying to maximize full-price sales to fatten profit margins, while using discounts to clear aging inventory and persuade reluctant shoppers to part with their cash. A fifth of online shoppers are considered true ‘discount junkies,’ people who make purchases only when plied with discounts, according to new data from AgilOne Inc., which works with 150 retailers to analyze customers’ purchases and predict their behavior. About 15% of shoppers generally pay full price for items and don’t bother searching for sales.”

Click the image to read more of Banjo’s story.
 

Shoppers such as these at Nordstrom Rack in Schaumburg, Illinois, look for bargains. However, discounts don’t excite all shoppers. Photo: Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press


 

Understanding How Google Search Works

14 Jan

Google Search is by far the world’s dominant search engine — with about two-thirds of all searches globally conducted with Google. According to Internet Live Stats: “Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average (visualize them here), which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

Yet, most users of Google Search — even those who pay Google to advertise — do not know how the Google search engine actually works. Do you? :-)

The animated infographic below from Quick Sprout provides some very good insights on Google’s search methodology.
 

 

An Animated Infographic of 2015 Mobile Marketing Stats

13 Jan

What’s ahead for mobile marketing 2015? Answer: A banner year.

Take a look at this animated infographic from Text Marketer, a British-based text messaging firm.
 

 

How to Shop More Safely Online

12 Jan

As we know, hacking and identity theft make us more vulnerable than ever when we shop with a credit or debit card — whether in a store, over the phone, or online. So, we need to do all we can to protect ourselves.
 
In the infographic below from Sainsbury’s Bank, “We’ve put together 15 steps for safe online shopping, along with how to stay safe using mobile devices, and Wi-Fi. We’ve also included tips on what to do if you encounter any illegal activity.”
 

 

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