Research Overview Quinn McMahon is the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant that has many customers who are senior citizens. She would like to develop a marketing strategy that addresses the needs of her senior citizen patrons. However, she is looking for additional recommendations to improve her marketing mix. It is imperative marketers do not neglect senior citizens as this group makes up 13 percent of the population and they have money to spend (Perrault, Cannon and McCarthy, 2009, p. 140).
However, younger consumers are heavy users of chain restaurants and should not be left out of the mix either. For those born after 1980, about 25 percent of restaurant visits are to burger franchises, followed by pizza restaurants at 12 percent (Negrete, 2008). If Quinn only focuses on the senior citizen market, she is seriously inhibiting future growth of the restaurant she manages. Potential Roadblocks with Only Targeting Seniors Quinn should consider putting the Bingo idea on hold indefinitely and encourage both younger and older customers to patronize her store.
Should she choose to only focus on seniors she may face some marketing problems. Many companies do not want any one audience (not just seniors) lingering around talking for hours unless they continue to purchase. Quinn should focus on keeping a continual flow of paying customers throughout the business day. It is important that Quinn clearly articulate a focus target audience for her store that fits the model of a McDonald’s ideal client. The needs, benefits sought, attitudes, motivation, and even how a consumer selects certain products all vary depending on the purchase situation.
So different purchase situations may require different marketing mixes – even when the same target market is involved (Perrault, Cannon and McCarthy, 2009, p. 164). Quinn needs to consider this when she ultimately decides which marketing activities she is going to employ. Enhancing the Customer Experience If Quinn integrates her younger and older target market she can enhance the customer experience for both groups and ultimately improve the image of the restaurant she manages. Below are some suggestions to integrate both target udiences into her marketing mix. Product – Since service issues are largely a concern by older customers, Quinn must strive to provide prompt, accurate, friendly service with a consistent product. To focus on younger consumers, Quinn should offer a late night menu since younger consumers tend to graze at all times of the day and night (Negrete, 2008). Place – Quinn should offer a comfortable ambiance that allows older customers to focus on the dining occasion and connects them with friends and family.
For younger consumers, offer a separate section with more of a living-room-like environment. A McDonald’s prototype in Saratoga Springs, Utah, features a sage-green color palette, upholstered booths, a stone fireplace and lounge chairs. Quinn should also consider changing the background music of the store when she wants to switch from an older to a younger clientele (Negrete, 2008). The change in decibels and tempo of the background music can be a small but significant signal to customers of the change in the tone of the restaurant’s clientele.
Price – Quinn should stick to a structured pricing model that provides both seniors and younger customers with a discounted rate for only a specific time during the day, i. e. in the a. m. hours for older customers and in the p. m. hours for younger customers. Promotion – Quinn should consider coupons, specials and other promotions to appeal to the cost-conscious older clientele. For the younger clients, Quinn should take advantage of the tech savvy younger generation and offer promotions via text messaging and emails (Negrete, 2008). Additional Recommendations According to an interview with M.
Lawrence Light, McDonald’s global chief marketing officer, their ad theme, “I’m lovin’ it” transcends all audiences. Light recollects, “If you go back 40 years, people wanted to be identified as normal. So they wanted the most popular car and the most popular color. From the consumer point of view, we’ve had a change from “I want to be normal” to “I want to be special. ” Quinn should continue to assist the community in ways that have been condoned by McDonald’s corporate headquarters and aligns with their image and brand. The McDonald’s corporate website indicates the company serves the community in many ways.
Quinn can participate by assisting with local scholarships for high school seniors, supporting Camp Mickey D’s which helps high school students transition into the workplace and hosting one of the series of All American High School Basketball games that help raise money for the Ronald McDonald Charities. Quinn should also consider enrolling for a mentoring program for franchise owners that the corporate headquarter offers in order to help her incorporate some of these initiatives. References BusinessWeek (July 12, 2004). Marketing in the “Age of I”. Retrieved on June 20, 2010 from: http://www. usinessweek. com/magazine/content/04_28/b3891011_mz001. htm. McDonald’s Corporation. Our Story section. Retrieved on June 14, 2010 from: http://www. mcdonalds. com/us/en/our_story/our_communities/inspiration. html. Nigrete, Rita. (January 9, 2008). Generational Marketing. Prepared Foods Network. Retrieved on June 14, 2010 from: http://www. preparedfoods. com/Articles/Feature_Article/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000234647. Perreault, William D. , Cannon, Joseph P. , McCarthy, E. Jerome. (2009). Basic marketing: a marketing strategy planning approach. Published by McGraw-Hill Irwin – 17th ed. (p. 140).