What's the marketing planning process for McDonald's ?

Mc Donald’s remains the largest fast food chain in the world – how do they do it? Primarily by doing what every company should do – working diligently to delight their customers with new products, continuous improvements of existing products, and motivating promotions.

The criteria for success for any company is achieving the right mix of quality, price and service. Even in a marketplace with many other competitors offering similar food products, McDonald’s is larger than their next three competitors combined, and favored by more families; and especially children than all the others. Obviously, they have developed the formula for the best mix of quality, price and service in their industry.

The Golden Arch’s is one of the most recognized brands in the world and supported by everybody’s favorite guy – Ronald McDonald. Ronald McDonald houses for parents of ill children are world famous.

A burger is a burger

Yes, but there is something unique about the Big Mac and all the varieties of burgers that McD’s offers. Even the dollar menu double cheeseburger is a favorite. And, how about the fries?

McD’s is constantly adding new varieties of burger’s, and now even has a new steak-burger. How about the much sought after McRib sandwich that is carefully promoted, and only available periodically to increase the popularity?

Chicken in a burger joint?

McNuggets have become a real favorite of kids, and even a large number of adults, too. To keep kids excited about McDonald’s, they have their changing children’s promotional strategies offering toy characters of the current most popular animated movies. And, for older children the monopoly game promotions.

Another very popular promotion is the “kids meals” that includes a surprise toy in each box. Adults are also getting more and more kid’s meals, too.

Sweet treats and fruit

Where else can you get a great vanilla ice cream cone, or cup, for $1.29 or less? Add to that all the other new combinations of ice cream with other sweet ingredients.

For those calorie conscious customers McD’s offers fruit’s, and a published calorie count for everything they sell. One of their recently successful strategies is to promote their efforts to offer healthier food products and reduce the content of “unhealthy ingredients” in everything they sell.


It has been estimated that 18% of the U.S. population stops at a McDonald’s for breakfast every morning. Their latest promotion is $1.00 for any size coffee. Combine that with two breakfast sandwiches for $3.00 and they have an unbeatable combination. How about a “hash brown”, too? WOW – what a deal!

All the way from the “big breakfast” to McGriddle’s they have breakfast covered.

What’s McD’s Plan?

All of the above represents a great example for any company of what needs to be done to be Number One, and delight the customer!

You are in the customer business, not the product business. Customers are constantly looking for something new – faster, better, and/or cheaper. McDonald’s perpetual pursuit of new ways to package and offer fast food products, improve upon their existing products, redesign their stores, and aggressively promote the brand is a model for any company to follow.


Robert M. Donnelly is the author of: Guidebook to Planning - A Common Sense Approach, an educator: Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Saint Peter's University, and a brand builder and marketing expert. His new book: Personal Brand Planning for life is a guide for anyone w...

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