Unit 19 Marketing Planning


This report provides an in-depth examination of McDonald’s, including its historical global expansion and growth trajectory. Although McDonald’s has achieved remarkable success, it encountered hurdles in the late 1990s that impacted its growth rate. The primary objective of this report is to identify potential barriers hindering McDonald’s marketing planning initiatives and offer viable solutions to surmount these challenges. Furthermore, it scrutinizes the ethical dilemmas influencing McDonald’s marketing activities and puts forth recommendations to enhance the company’s ethical standards.

In essence, this report scrutinizes McDonald’s journey from its inception to its global prominence, shedding light on the obstacles it faced and the strategies employed to overcome them. It focuses on barriers to marketing planning and ethical considerations, emphasizing the importance of adapting to changing circumstances and adhering to ethical principles for sustained success.

Task 1 (LO1)

1.1 Potential Barriers to McDonald’s Marketing Planning Activities

McDonald’s faces various potential barriers in its marketing planning activities:

Environmental Barriers: These encompass external factors such as social, legal, economic, political, and technological elements. Some countries have resisted McDonald’s entry due to concerns about cultural preservation and the impact on local youth.

Cultural Barriers: Cultural differences influence customer behavior and preferences. McDonald’s must adapt its menu and marketing strategies to align with each country’s culture. For instance, in India, McDonald’s offers a menu tailored to local tastes, avoiding beef to respect cultural values.

Behavioral Barriers: Employee traits and their willingness to take risks affect marketing planning. McDonald’s selects its marketing teams carefully, considering the need for individuals who are innovative and risk-takers, especially when entering diverse markets.

Cognitive Barriers: Employees’ knowledge and skills are crucial for marketing success. McDonald’s operates in various markets with different customer trends and preferences, requiring an experienced team capable of handling cultural diversity.

1.2 Proposed Solutions for Overcoming Barriers

To address these barriers, McDonald’s can consider the following solutions:

Environmental Barriers: Collaborate with local governments and organizations to address concerns about cultural preservation and youth impact. Develop corporate social responsibility initiatives to engage with the community positively.

Cultural Barriers: Continuously conduct cultural assessments and adapt menus and marketing strategies accordingly. Show respect for local cultures and values to foster acceptance.

Behavioral Barriers: Recruit a diverse marketing team with both local and international expertise to create effective market-specific strategies.

Cognitive Barriers: Invest in employee training and development to enhance skills and knowledge, ensuring a deep understanding of local markets.

Task 2 (LO2)

2.1 SMART Marketing Objectives for McDonald’s New Product: McPanner Royal in India

Specific: Introduce the McPanner Royal burger to the Indian market, focusing on creating awareness and achieving a market penetration rate of 10% within the first year.

Measurable: Monitor sales and customer feedback to track progress. Aim to sell 500,000 McPanner Royal burgers within the first six months.

Achievable: Develop a targeted marketing campaign and allocate resources effectively to support the launch.

Realistic: Ensure that the marketing budget and resources align with the objectives, considering market conditions and competition.

Timed: Launch the McPanner Royal within three months, and evaluate the campaign’s success quarterly.

2.2 Marketing Strategies for Achieving Objectives

To achieve the specified marketing objectives, McDonald’s can implement the following strategies:

Building Customer Awareness: Launch an extensive advertising campaign, leveraging social media, television, and outdoor advertising to create awareness of the new product.

Introducing Product Advantages: Emphasize the unique taste and healthy aspects of the McPanner Royal, focusing on the quality of ingredients and nutritional value.

Positioning Against Competition: Highlight McDonald’s strong brand value and reputation for quality to differentiate the McPanner Royal from competitors.

High Customer Satisfaction: Ensure product quality and consistency while offering promotions or discounts to encourage repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth.

2.3 Application of Marketing Mix Elements

Product: Develop the McPanner Royal burger with Indian taste preferences in mind, offering a vegetarian, healthy alternative.

Price: Set a competitive price point within the reach of the Indian middle-class population, ensuring affordability.

Place: Establish efficient distribution channels by leveraging McDonald’s existing outlets in India, ensuring easy access for customers.

Promotion: Execute a targeted promotional campaign that includes advertising, social media marketing, and collaborations with local influencers to generate buzz.

Task 3 (LO3)

3.1 Ethical Issues Impacting McDonald’s Marketing Activities

McDonald’s faces several ethical issues that affect its marketing activities:

Health Concerns: Critics argue that McDonald’s food contributes to health problems like obesity and heart disease, leading to negative public perception.

Environmental Impact: The company has been criticized for its environmental practices, including excessive packaging and the use of unsustainable resources.

Targeting Children: McDonald’s marketing strategies, such as Happy Meals with toys, have faced backlash for targeting children and promoting unhealthy eating habits.

3.2 Impact on Consumer Behaviors

These ethical issues can influence consumer behaviors significantly. Customers concerned about health and environmental sustainability may choose healthier alternatives or socially responsible brands over McDonald’s. Parents may become more critical of fast-food companies targeting children, affecting their dining choices.

3.3 Recommendations for Ethical Improvement

To address these ethical concerns and improve its practices, McDonald’s can consider the following recommendations:

Offer Healthier Options: Introduce and promote a wider range of nutritious menu items, emphasizing ingredients and nutritional information.

Promote Transparency: Provide clear nutritional information and ingredient sourcing details to empower customers to make informed choices.

Responsible Marketing to Children: Revise marketing strategies targeting children, promoting healthier menu items and less focus on toys.

Environmental Sustainability: Implement sustainable practices, such as reducing packaging waste and sourcing eco-friendly ingredients, to reduce the company’s environmental impact.


Effective marketing planning is crucial for the success of any business, and McDonald’s, being a prominent global brand, has faced its fair share of challenges. To ensure its continued prosperity in an evolving market environment and to meet both customer demands and societal obligations, McDonald’s must confront these challenges head-on. This entails not only recognizing and addressing potential barriers but also establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed) objectives to guide its marketing endeavors. Furthermore, McDonald’s should prioritize ethical practices to enhance its reputation and align its operations with social and environmental responsibilities.

In essence, McDonald’s ability to adapt, set clear objectives, and uphold ethical standards will determine its resilience and longevity in the competitive fast-food industry. Through strategic marketing planning that considers these factors, McDonald’s can maintain its global presence and continue to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of its customers while remaining ethically responsible.


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