Marketing Research at McDonald’s


Marketing research is the process whereby an organization derives the relationship between the public (customers or consumers) and the organization with the use of relevant information. This information is used to spot the opportunities and issues that affect the market. The information is also useful in monitoring the performance of the organization compared to the expectations of the current market. It also helps in the evaluation of the marketing options. It is through marketing research that the relevant information needed to address the issues are selected (Derdak & Pederson, 2004).

The methodology required in the collection of the information (data) is designed and the data analyzed to produce results. The results, together with its implications, are later communicated to the relevant stakeholders. The major objective of every research in an organization is to identify the changes that occur in the marketing mix that are likely to affect customers (Nigel, 2007). Marketing research may be divided in to two categories, qualitative and quantitative marketing research and an organization may perform any or both of them depending on what the issues they are facing.

Uses of research by McDonald’s

McDonald’s is one of the well-known organizations in the world and it has continued to ensure that it continues to build its reputation and brand through marketing research (Nigel, 2007). This had been done using information received from the customers. The organization also identifies the stages in the process of marketing. Branding is important for every organization and McDonald’s understands this all too well since it works on developing its personality, through providing quality products and services.

McDonald’s ensures that branding works for the organization by behaving in an ethical and consistent way. It does this by putting up advertisements and promotions. The colors and images used in the promotions are designed in such a way as to portray the brand in a recognizable way (Derdak & Pederson, 2004).

In marketing, McDonald’s strives to identify the needs of the clients and ensures that every need is addressed accordingly to ensure customer satisfaction. In order to face off the steep competition from other businesses, McDonald’s ensures that the goods and services it offers to their customers surpass the ones of their competitors in terms of quality. One great strategy that the organization uses is the identification of its likely customers. This is what they refer to as the key audiences. After the likely customers are identified, McDonald’s ensures that a marketing mix is developed for them.

McDonald’s uses research to identify the need of the customers and this is done through the collection of detailed information from them. Some of the information collected includes the products that are well received by the customers, the prices that the customers are comfortable in paying for the goods and services available, which restaurants they normally visit and what materials in the newspapers or advertisements that the customers normally read.

McDonald’s values the accuracy of the research since it would be important in the creation of the correct marketing mix. With the correct marketing mix, customer loyalty would be won and the company would be able to increase its sales. McDonald’s also uses research to identify whether it is increasing its customer base or reducing it. Their buying habits are also monitored for any changes.

The organization also uses research to identify all aspects that influence the buying process. McDonald’s understands that the buying process is not only influenced by the product itself but also by other factors. Of importance are the psychological factors behind every product. These include the image portrayed by the product being offered and the level of customer satisfaction associated with the product. Through research, McDonald’s is in a position to understand such things and be in a position to influence the customers in the required manner.

McDonald’s strategy is not based upon getting more customers but in the retention of the existing ones. To ensure this is done, the organization uses research to identify the needs of the different groups of people who form its company base. These groups include the children, the businesspersons and the teenagers, among others. The organization finds out why these different groups of people come to McDonald’s and uses this information to determine the goods and services it offers to its customers. With this information, the company can also know which types of advertisements and promotions to air and which possible locations to locate the future restaurants.

Through research, the company may also know its weaknesses and analyzes them. One of the areas that need analysis is in the area of McDonald’s products and the likelihood that they would be sustained in the future. They also assess the quality of their employees to determine whether the customers are satisfied with their services. The marketing databases and other aspects in the system are assessed to determine their effectiveness in providing satisfactory customer services. McDonald’s also uses research to determine the availability of funds for marketing.

McDonald’s uses research to determine the stage reached by a particular product in order to know which areas to invest. For example, a newly introduced product would require a lot of advertising in the television and other avenues such as the newspapers or magazines. This is done to ensure that the product is well known among its customers.

McDonald’s, however, need to do more research and invest in some of the nutritional consequences of their foodstuffs. Some customers who claim that the company’s hamburgers tend to make people grow fat have sued the company several times. This may be linked to the fat content or some other reasons that might best be explained through research (Derdak & Pederson, 2004). In 2002, a group of vegetarian sued the company for defining its French fries as vegetarian while they were not. The fries were later confirmed to have contained beef broth and therefore, the vegetarians won the case. McDonald’s also require to research more on other areas it could venture into in the market since it has succeeded in fast food production and in the distribution of toys.


Marketing research is an important phase in the marketing process of any organization. It is mainly done to garner information from its customers about the organization’s services and products. Once the research is done, the results are used to make important business decisions. A variety of marketing research strategies may be employed depending on the type of data being collected.

The importance of marketing research may be seen in the customers’ response to the products offered by the organization or the customer services provided by the staff. Their responses usually correspond to their intentions to purchase their products. The company would therefore, be in a better position to understand the weaknesses and threats associated with it.


  1. Derdak, T., & Pederson, J. (2004). McDonald’s. International directory of company histories, 67(3), 108-109.
  2. Nigel, B. (2007). Marketing Research: Tools and techniques. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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