McDonald’s: Marketing and Customer Satisfaction

Introduction

Organisations endeavour to increase their sales potential by positioning their products and services in a manner that attracts clientele whilst retaining their competitive advantage. In the 21st century, organisations have attempted to create global appeal. Globalisation has made organisations avail their products and services in the global marketplace. In this process, marketing managers play a critical role in ensuring that marketers conduct the right product communication and marketing techniques. In the 21st century, marketing techniques oscillate around the creation of strong customer loyalty in a bid to mitigate any possibility of erosion of the market by a company’s competitor. Organisations stress on meeting customer needs and wants better in relation to their competitors to maximise customer satisfaction and profitability. This paper deploys the case of marketing McDonald’s products to evaluate the validity of this assertion.

Organisation’s Background

McDonald’s stands out as one of the biggest global fast-food retailers. It offers fast foods in more than 119 countries all over the globe. McDonald’s restaurants and franchises, which stand at about 33,500, continue to grow as the organisation penetrates new markets in Asia. This immense success is attributed to a number of factors such as its incredible emphasis on consumer engagement, appropriate leadership that fits the business of the organisation, and the exceptional investment of the organisational resources to enhance successful marketing. The paper discusses the applicability of the 21st marketing strategies of focusing on creating customer loyalty as a source of competitive advantage with reference to McDonald’s business.

Marketing Strategies

McDonald’s uses new and traditional media to position its products and services. The organisation has experienced a myriad of changes in its operational environment, especially by noting the increasing emphasis on the need to change eating behaviours to avoid the danger of health risks that are associated with eating unhealthy foods. In fact, health specialists classify foods that contain high calories such as fast foods, which form the menus of the McDonald’s, as unhealthy. Campaigns that have been initiated by health organisations against such products have resulted in the emergence of demand for fibre-rich foods. In a bid to ensure customer satisfaction in a marketing environment that is dominated by the changing eating habits, the organisation ensures that it markets products that meet this changing trend. For this purpose, the McDonald’s values creativity and innovation in an effort to come up with new products that meet the emerging customer needs.

Marketing of healthy foods helps in meeting the 21st century marketing agenda of building competitive advantage. Failure to respond in developing and marketing foods that meet customer expectations places McDonald’s market segment at the threat of being taken away by competitors. McDonald’s focuses on various mechanisms of ensuring that it provides healthy foods in its menus. It reflects such changes in its marketing plans and communication through new and traditional media. Such changes of pattern in the marketing planning of the company are important to ensure that the company continues to be market leader for fast foods around the globe by virtue of having the highest competitive advantage.

Any marketing effort needs to leave remarkable indentations in the minds of the target audience in the effort to create a strong brand image, especially while attempting to introduce new products. For this reason, in a bid to induce customer satisfaction with the products offered by an organisation, it should use different and new marketing plans whenever it attempts to introduce a new product (Yelkur 107). Faced with dynamics of changing tastes and the ‘unhealthy’ perception of fast foods, McDonald’s has to deal with the challenge of building clientele for new products, especially where the new products are unpopular and inconsistent with the company’s brand image. The organisation has the capability to deal with this challenge as evidenced by its efforts to handle and protect its brand image to enhance customer satisfaction as a catalyst of building a competitive advantage for an organisation that operates in the 21st century.

From the above claim, McDonald’s pays substantive attention to protect its brand image by responding to negative critics of the company’s products, particularly with criticisms that fast foods are closely associated with obesity and its associated ailments. As a part of marketing strategy, the company also focuses on “repositioning itself to appeal to a broader audience, particularly by redesigning its outlets and making them more modern, comfortable, and upscale” (Wilhelm par.2). In this extent, its plan of brand management and protection is one of the strategies that it uses to enhance its success in a competitive and dynamic fast-food business. It has planned to change its market arrangement strategies to meet the needs of the 21st customer base.

Customer satisfaction is a critical element that organisations use to retain their existing clients and/or attract of new ones (Yelkur 105). Customers who demonstrate good organisational reputation share it with other people. This observation creates urge amongst potential customers to experience the service or product offered by an organisation. McDonald’s recognises this assertion when it focuses on measuring its efficiency and quality of services based on the reported customers’ experience with its services. The company builds customer satisfaction around aspects such as the provision of quality foods that meet their tastes and preferences whilst ensuring speedy service delivery.

Customers are the main sources of organisational success because a company’s success depends on the capacity of customers to consume its products and/or services no matter the industry in which it operates so that it can continue with its daily goods and service production routines. For repeated sales, it is necessary for a company to ensure that its customers are satisfied with its products and services. Consistent with this claim, McDonald’s believes that it risks losing its competitive advantage if it does not build good customer relationships.

From the paradigm of the 21st century approach to marketing, recognition of the extent to which an organisation satisfies its customers is critical in aiding to channel employee efforts to meet the anticipated needs and perceptions of the provided services. In this extent, marketing scholars such as Farris and Neil perceive customer satisfaction as entangling the dominant business strategy that may influence the profitability of an organisation positively if it is cutely developed (19). Given this merit, it is significant for an organisation to be capable of developing metrics of measuring customer satisfaction whilst determining the marketing factors that induce it (Farris and Neil 19). Many metrics have been established to measure customer satisfaction. However, the applicability or appropriateness of any metric depends on the industry of an organisation’s operation. Some of the metrics include the number and frequency of the complaints that clients raise (Farris and Neil 23). McDonald’s deploys customer surveys through responses to questionnaires as resourceful ways of measuring their satisfaction.

The goal of developing strategies for managing customer relationships in the fast-food industry is to ensure that potential customers are attracted and retained in an organisation. Indeed, scholars have been interested in the “allocation of resources between customer acquisitions and retention” (Keller 31). At McDonald’s, management of customer relationships requires the deployment of information concerning potential customers to aid in their segmentation in the effort to channel marketing efforts to the strategies that can yield optimal results to the specific segments. Among the many methods of maintaining positive relationships with customers is keeping the potential clients up to date. McDonald’s updates its customers on new product lines through new and traditional media. Since the company endeavours to reduce operational costs, it focuses on investing in new media positioning strategies. As opposed to traditional media, new media permits customers who have a first time experience with McDonald’s products to share any promotional material over social media amongst themselves.

Conclusion

In the 21st century, organisations focus on marketing products and services to build competitive advantage to enhance customer satisfaction. McDonald’s not only makes follow-ups on customer experiences with its products in terms of quality and speed in service delivery, but also develops new products to meet the emerging tastes and preferences. Thus, its marketing strategies comply with the 21st century marketing approaches, which focus on building a competitive advantage by boosting customer contentment. Without repeated sales, McDonald’s understands that it will lose such an advantage. Therefore, it avoids such a situation in its effort to establish long-term success in its current and new markets.

Works Cited

Farris, Peterson, and Pfeifer Neil. Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc, 2010. Print.

Keller, Leonard. Strategy Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998. Print.

Wilhelm, Reynolds. McDonald’s Formal Business Structure, 2011. Web.

Yelkur, Richard. “Customer Satisfaction and Service Marketing Mix.” Journal of Professional Services Marketing 21.1(2007):105-115. Print.