A firm’s marketing strategy is defined by the overall goals of the business. It defines the business, describes the products or services, gives a profile of target customers, and defines the role of the company in relationship to competition. It is essentially a manuscript used to judge the suitability and usefulness of a firm’s marketing plans. A marketing strategy should be an integral part of corporate strategy. It must define how the company will handle customers, competitors and prospects in the market for success. It is therefore partly derived from the broader corporate mission, strategy, and goals. The marketing strategy should come from the organizations mission statement, (Davies, 1998).
Recent Demographic and Socio-Cultural Trends and Changes
Today, the fast-food industry has seen two threats from the broad environment; social-cultural and demographic changes. Social-cultural changes are related to health and social responsibility, while demographic changes are associated with the issues of obesity, bad corporate practices and Trans-fat labels, (Baker, 2000).
With demographic changes, McDonalds has taken its already popular brand image around the world. It has now grown and today it has become for the most part, the most popular food fast food chain in the world. It has continuously increased the exposure of its brand name in new markets, including Asia and Europe. With changes in demographic and social cultural trends, McDonalds has devised a strategy plan encompassing four key perspectives. These are: Financial; Learning, Customer; and Internal Process. Over the years, the company had upheld a competitive advantage in the industry by maintaining low prices for its products. However, due to social cultural changes, McDonalds has now changed its strategy from low cost products to becoming customer oriented. McDonalds is now keenly observing the trends and changes in the population and consequently evolving its strategy to suit the market changes. For success, it has turned to providing good quality, low priced products that are easily available. The adoption of societal marketing by the firm has seen it become market friendly. McDonalds has done away with their innovative Styrofoam packaging, replacing it with an environmentally friendly paper packaging. They also stress on the fact that McDonalds is environmentally aware, by being reminiscent to customers not to trash around through their packaging.
Corporate social responsibility is a strategy that McDonald’s has been using to be in tune with the current trend, by giving back to the society it gets more support from the people through constant consumption of its products. In addition, the use of relationship marketing has seen McDonald’s guard its customer base. This involves viewing a customer as an asset hence making it a goal to attract, retain and improve customer relations, (Keller, K 1998).
Wendy’s International, Inc is among the world’s largest fast foods restaurant. It has more than 9,900 restaurants and quality brands. These include Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. The Company has invested in three other quality brands namely; Tim Hortons, Cafe Express and Pasta Pomodoro. Wendy’s has however lagged behind McDonalds over the years but it is quickly adjusting its marketing strategies to suit the recent demographic and social cultural changes. It has boosted its marketing budget and invested in internet advertising. Wendy’s is now bringing new, better quality products and carrying out more advertising as part of their competitive strategy.
The marketing department has been expanded and assigned new roles of Operations Innovation, Research and Development as well as Strategic Insights and Innovation. This is in attempt to produce environment friendly products and be customer oriented all the way from the menu, through to the packaging and customer handling. The restaurant has reengineered its menu and now has healthy, exiting offers. It is now carrying out customer research and analysis as well as process upgrading.
McDonalds is better positioned in the market than Wendy’s. It has served millions of people and has dispelled the percepted risk related to service products. It has a unique capacity to adapt to market changes and engage in ground-breaking. Above all, this firm has capitalized on healthy foods considering the rising rates of obesity in America’s population. The firm is also involved in corporate social responsibility.
The strategies of McDonalds and Wendy’s are not affected by the amount of advertising on the internet and television. As a matter of fact, advertising only enhances and reinforces the marketing strategies, (Kotler et.al. 2001).
With Changes in demographic and social cultural trends, I would recommend my company as part of its marketing strategy to take advantage of new market segments and opportunities. Today, women have become a critical part of the work force. As a result, dual income families are now a more common phenomenon. I would also recommend novel ideas such as adult foods, breakfast menus, and healthier choices.
Baker, M. (2000): Marketing Management and Strategy, 3rd edition, Macmillan Business
Davies, M. (1998): Understanding Marketing, 1st edition. Prentice Hall
Keller, K (1998): Strategic Brand Management, Building, measuring and managing brand equity, Kogan Page, London
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (2001): Principles of Marketing, 2nd Edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall
McDonald, M. (2001): Marketing Plans. 4th edition, Butterworth Heinenamm