This study shows how McDonald's continually aims to build its brand by listening to its customers. It also identifies the various stages in the marketing process. Company Profile
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving more than 58 million customers daily. A McDonald's restaurant is operated by either a franchisee, an affiliate, or the corporation itself. The corporation's revenues come from the rent, royalties and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. McDonald's revenues grew 27% over the three years ending in 2007 to $22.8 billion, and 9% growth in operating income to $3.9 billion. McDonald's primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, shakes, and desserts. In response to obesity trends in Western nations and in the face of criticism over the healthiness of its products, the company has modified its menu to include alternatives considered healthier such as salads, wraps and fruit.
Branding develops a personality for an organisation, product or service. The brand image represents how consumers view the organisation. Branding only works when an organisation behaves and presents itself in a consistent way. Marketing communication methods, such as advertising and promotion, are used to create the colours, designs and images, which give the brand its recognizable face. At McDonald's this is represented by its familiar logo - the Golden Arches.
Marketing involves identifying customer needs and requirements, and meeting these needs in a better way than competitors. In this way a company creates loyal customers. The starting point is to find out that potential customers are - not everyone will want what McDonald's has to offer. The people McDonald's identifies as likely customers are known as key audiences.
The marketing mix and market research
Having identified its key audiences a company has to ensure a marketing mix is created that appeal specifically to those people. The marketing mix is a term used to describe the four main marketing tools (4Ps): • product
• And the places through which products are sold to customers.
Using detailed information about its customers, McDonald's marketing department can determine: 1. What products are well received?
2. What prices consumers are willing to pay?
3. What TV programs, newspapers and advertising consumers read or view? 4. What restaurants are visited?
Market research is the format which enables McDonald's to identify this key information. Accurate research is essential in creating the right mix to win customer loyalty.
In all its markets McDonald's faces competition from other businesses. Additionally, economic, legal and technological changes, social factors, the retail environment and many other elements affect McDonald's success in the market.
Market research identifies these factors and anticipates how they will affect people's willingness to buy. As the economy and social attitudes change, so do buying patterns. McDonald's needs to identify whether the number of target customers is growing or shrinking and whether their buying habits will change in the future. Market research considers everything that affects buying decisions. These buying decisions can often be affected by wider factors than just the product itself. Psychological factors are important, e.g. what image does the product give or how the consumer feels when purchasing it. These additional psychological factors are significantly important to the customer. They can be even more important than the products' physical benefits. Through marketing, McDonald's establishes a prominent position in the minds of customers. This is known as branding.
Meeting the needs of key audiences
There are a limited number of customers in the market. To build long-term business it...