Nowadays a company’s main aim is to provide a customer focus to the consumer, to keep a happy customer. Many organisations have relied on the ‘leaky bucket’ technique of customer retention, where customers often purchase and then ‘fall through the holes’ but new customers are then replacing the old and consistent basis and thus ‘the bucket was remaining full’. In an age of supreme quality and frenetic competition, companies can no longer focus on just the initial sale. Research has shown that a loyal customer is of more value to a company financially than a new customer due to spending patterns based on loyalty (Kotler et al., Marketing, 6th edition, 2004; 16).
A company’s mission statement, which becomes a ‘cultural viewpoint’ within the internal working environment, is created with such a customer or success focus as a prominent source of motivation. In order for all employees and departments to be working ‘hand in hand’, an organisations mission statement and cultural views on success and work ethic must be implemented, starting with inclusion in the marketing plan. A definitive example of a successful marketing plan can be reflected through McDonalds Family Restaurants.
Based on quarterly reports, McDonalds enjoyed a %16 increase in revenue when compared to that of the quarter ending 31 March 2003 (McDonalds Corp. , 2004). The company either places itself ideally within the marketplace in profitable markets all around the world or the reputation of the company itself is so high, that they merely have to stay in the publics eye to continue their mantle as market leader in the fast food chain. This high public regard built up over decades of success is impressive, especially when observing the fact that McDonalds operates within a fast food industry.
Various key performance indicators can further measure McDonalds’ success. It entered a niche market and since then its front line operational blueprints have altered little and been both simple, functional and market leading for many decades. Let us analise McDonalds from a consumer’s point of view. What does McDonalds provide, what services and standards do they seem to adhere to, what phrases or products come to mind when describing McDonalds, what represents McDonalds itself, what do we know we are going to be provided with?
Fast food, drive though service, golden arches, ‘would you like fries with that’, the Big Mac and Happy Meal are phrases, processes and products that come to mind most when an individual is asked such questions (Survey, cluster). Fast food and drive through service fall under the banner of convenience, service or innovation, identified as mainstay strengths in a SWAT analysis. The ‘golden arches’ refers to McDonalds logo, its trademark and this sign doesn’t have to contain words for it to be immediately recognised by consumers around the world.
This logo is a great example of successful promotion implementation in the marketing mix. ‘Would you like fries with that? , a famous phrase known in the western world by millions and part of McDonalds staff training and protocols, is a simple example of a cultural aspect created by McDonalds that has been enforced by management through marketing plans and In turn lead to immediate brand recognition. The Big Mac and happy meal being worldwide ‘staple points’ of McDonalds’ menu, indicate perfect product placement within the fast food industry.
McDonalds has obviously planned years in advance, reacting proactively to changing trends, such as healthier menus whilst also sticking to their key cultural values to build up high public regard. Marketing plans are integral for both small and large business operation. They create a sense of authority or cultural significance, look at both financial and visual opportunities and threats and take into account the ever-changing publics perceptions and spending patterns.
Without a marketing plan, the direction of not only the marketing department but also the company itself would be non-existent. A company can no longer afford to have a weak link in the chain. Marketing is expanding its influence as ‘pigeon holed’ perceptions of the department start to eradicate and is fast becoming a driving force and determining factor in the success of the individual business.