McDonald's is a corporation of the world's largest or longest chain of hamburger fast-food restaurants. The company serves up to approximately seventy million customers each day. The corporation owns over 34,000 restaurants in about 119 nations across the globe. The company traces its foundation back in 1940 within the United States by two brothers-Richard and Maurice McDonald. It began as a barbecue restaurant, and in 1948, Richard and Maurice McDonald recognized their business as a hamburger through the production line principles (Mark, 2009, pp. 37). Later in 1955, a businessman-Ray Kroc joined the business and begun franchising restaurants, as well as improving the company's return on capital. Subsequently, he purchased the food chain from McDonald brothers, thereby, overseeing its worldwide progression. Currently, the McDonald's is run either through an affiliate, a franchisee or by the corporation itself. The corporation accrues it revenues through royalties, rents, and/or fees from the franchisees, alongside sales generated from the company's operated restaurants (Mark, 2009, pp. 44). For instance, in the year 2012, the company accrued grand annual revenues of $27.4 billion, and a profit of about $5.5 billion. Primarily, McDonald's sells cheeseburgers, hamburgers, French fries, chicken, milkshakes, breakfast items, desserts and soft drinks. In response to the world's changing competition and consumer tastes, the corporation undertakes various marketing strategies, including both online (e-marketing) and offline marketing. Moreover, in order to cover a wide market and a wide range of customers' tastes, McDonalds extended its menu to comprise fish, salads, smoothies, wraps, and more fruits (Mark, 2009, pp. 39). This paper will capitalize on the company's e-marketing strategies, and take a narrow dimension and scrutiny on its marketing successes.
McDonalds brand promise begins even before their customers enter their restaurants, through advertisements and marketing, which are worthy, truthful and tasteful as one of the globally well-known brands for retail. McDonalds' golden arches code (policies and standards) contains useful information on the chain's commitment to their mode of communication. This is through marketing and advertisements, as well as trademark standards and legal policies. According to Mark (2009, pp. 43), the corporation earns its revenues as a franchiser of restaurants, an operator of restaurants, as well as an investor in properties. Approximately 16% of McDonald's restaurants are under the direct ownership and operation by the McDonalds Corporation. The remaining 84% are run by other operators through an assortment of joint ventures and franchise agreements. The business model of McDonald's Corporation slightly differs from a number of related fast food chains across the globe (Schmitt, 2013, pp. 11). Besides the ordinary franchise and marketing fees (calculated as a percentage of sales), the McDonald's Corporation may similarly collect rent, which is also calculated on the basis of the company's total sales. As a condition for several franchise agreements, varying from location, country, contract, and age, the Corporation may lease or own the business properties upon which McDonalds' franchises are located. In most case, if not all, the franchisees do not own the restaurants' location.
McDonald's business model is portrayed by a "three-legged stool" comprising the company's employees, suppliers, and operators/owners as its principle foundation (Schmitt, 2013, pp. 18). The corporation balances its interests among these three groups, essentially for its success. Currently, the company encompasses over 1.85 million employees, and approximately 5000 franchisees. The company's strength and alignment, with regards to its employees, suppliers, and franchisees has been the only key to its success. This is because its business model enables it to be consistent in locally delivering the relevant restaurant experiences for customers. This action makes it emerge as an integral part of the enclosed communities through its services (Schmitt, 2013, pp. 15). Furthermore, it facilitates its capability in identifying, implementing, and scaling the innovative ideas, which can meet the changing preferences and needs of the customers.
The Ireland and United Kingdom business models differ from that found in the United States. Fewer than 30% of the restaurants are under franchise, majority being under the company's ownership (Schmitt, 2013, pp. 20). Commendably, McDonalds offers training to its franchisees, as well as other interested parties at Hamburger University in Oak Brook- Illinois. In the remaining 116 countries, the operations of McDonald's restaurants are undertaken via joint ventures of the corporation, local entities, as well as governments. Regarding the corporation's policies, McDonald's do not undertake direct sales food and/or materials to the franchisees. Instead, it organizes the supply of food and related materials to the restaurants via logistics of the third party operators. Media and statistical reports reveal that McDonald's company is the largest private operator of playgrounds within the United States. Moreover, the company is the single largest purchaser of pork, potatoes, apples, and beef. In the selection of meat varieties, McDonald's restaurants take into consideration, the cultures found within the hosting nation.
Regarding its environmental records, McDonald's restaurants in Europe have been recycling vegetable grease through converting it into fuel for its operations, such as using the fuel for the business diesel trucks (Environmental Defense Fund and McDonald's Corporation, 1991, pp. 170). In addition, McDonald's has been exhausting a corn-based bio-plastic for production of containers useful in packaging of other products. The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States recently recognized the continuous effort by McDonald's to reduce solid and non-biodegradable wastes. MC Donalds has promoted the use of re-usable material contents through designing of efficient packaging methods (Environmental Defense Fund and McDonald's Corporation, 1991, 167). In its annual environmental report of 2012, McDonald's affirmed its commitment to environmental leadership via effective management of electric energy, conserving the scarce natural resources. This was possible through reusing and/or recycling of materials, as well as addressing the general issues of water management within the restaurants' environments.
Marketing methods have been changing and improving, thereby, becoming more efficient at telling definite stories of a specific business, and easily accessing its marketing message or information than the old-fashioned forms of marketing. Therefore, the most advanced product of the interactions between the old-age marketing principles and the contemporary communication technologies utilized by humans is the e-marketing. In simple terms, e-marketing or electronic-marketing refers to the application of techniques and principles of marketing through the electronic media, to be precise- through the internet (Chaffy, 2013, pp. 22). The terms internet marketing, online marketing (Larry, 2013, pp. 26), and e-marketing are frequently and interchangeably used within the modern marketing strategies. More often, these words are commonly considered being synonymous.
Elaborately, e-marketing is the process of marketing a given company's brands or products using the internet (Chaffy, 2013, pp. 31), including both direct and indirect elements of marketing through an assortment of modern/digital technologies in order to help businesses connect to their customers within the competitive markets. By this definition, e-marketing thereby encloses all the activities a business, company, or an organization conducts via the worldwide web, with a primary aim of attracting new and innovative businesses, retaining the existing business positions and/or strategies as well as developing the business' brand identity within the competitive market. The digital technologies serve as valuable additions to the traditional marketing strategies regardless of the type and size of business. With a conventional marketing, e-marketing creates a strategy that aids businesses in the delivery of veracious messages, products and services to the intended audience. According to Chaffy (2013, pp. 29), e-marketing joins technical and creative facets of the internet including the use of the website in accordance with online promotional methods such as the use of search-engine marketing, interactive online ads, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, online directories, viral marketing, as well as affiliate marketing.
McDonald's, through its location-based mobile campaigns (Frankie, 2012, pp. 34), won several awards for advertising its extended restaurant hours by promotion of the new late night opening hours. About a third of McDonald's outlets extended their hours of operation hence there was a need to raise an awareness and drive footfall. Being that the majority of McDonald's late night customers were travellers and shift workers, it targeted them pictorial ads both at the petrol stations and cash points, encouraging them to download a new online Restaurant Finder application (Larry, 2013, pp. 25). In addition, McDonalds also purchased a number of mobile banner ads in order to promote the new app on websites that were well-known to be frequented by customers at night (Frankie, 2012, pp. 38). Consequently, there were over 0.6 million visits on their sites, and an ROI of above 100% hence success. With an increasing number of the public concern about the traceability and quality of their food, McDonald's restaurants in Canada attained much interest in ensuring the customers' confirmation. In order to address this issue of concern, they created an alternative site for answering questions by the public on their food. Successfully, over 25,000 questions were asked and each one answered by the company's concerned persons. Moreover, they set up a YouTube channel that could aim them show case-video responses to particular questions, as well as demonstrating various restaurant operations.