Marketing Strategies Employed by McDonalds and KFC – Term Paper

Anyone can win someone’s heart, the challenge comes in keeping it. It takes very little efforts if any, to impress someone and that is why they say first impressions go a long way. However, to keep someone interested in the long run takes patience, consistency and clarity of purpose. Yes, because if you used fake gestures and impressions to win someone’s heart or even attention in the first place, then it will not be long before your true colors show up and end up losing the person. This is based on the fact that even the best pretenders cannot pretend forever and eventually time catches up with their lie and their true nature exposed. 

Taking this mentality and alluding it in the market setting, the most successful organizations have loyal customers; customers who would choose them over their competitors any day. Meanwhile, these organizations know too well that every customer counts and therefore, do whatever it takes to keep them. The more you interact with customers, the more it becomes easy and simple to determine what should be done to give the best. It is believed that the client is always right. Customer needs should always be given priority. Customers are social beings and thus experience a change of emotions and not mere creatures of logical ability. Thus, with this in mind, it becomes easy to understand and appreciate them (Hooley, Saunders and Piercy).

 With simple observations, it is enough to predict the satisfaction of a customer. For instance, one can achieve this by asking customers to rate your products on a scale of 10, above 6-10 is considered satisfactory. Below 6 is something to be noted and improved. People needs and wants are insatiable as different people crave for various things at different times and thus providing quality products is considered a full-time job. But all the same, meeting the customer expectations is enough to keep them happy and loyal. Every customer counts, regardless of social status, disabilities or even beliefs; this is because treating customers positively have substantial benefits. 

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Customers will always come back if they are satisfied with the quality of a product and most likely become advocates. It is always said that word of mouth is the best channel of all and thus the best form of advertisement. Apart from retaining customers, same clients became evangelists of a company and promoted metric growth and success of business. Every customer expects the best quality products, and if a company provides active labor, it is appropriate to keep consistent services and always keep improving on standards. Under the circumstances, the customers will build trust on a company service and it’s always said,” If you do well that people see you do it, they will evangelize to others to come and witness how well you do it.” (Hooley and Saunders, Competitive positioning: the key to marketing strategy)

 This is a comparative research essay that is going to evaluate the marketing strategies of two main fast-food organizations, McDonalds and KFC, based on the following parameters:

1. Price

2. Product

3. Place

4. Promotion (Grimm, Lee and Smith)

1. Price

In terms of pricing, both fast food organizations offer competitive prices. Whereas, McDonald’s has a wide variety of products, KFC has a sort of limited menu. Therefore, their prices are fixed and do not offer the customers a wide variety. Taking a dish that is in the menu of both organizations, let’s say fries; you find that in McDonald’s there is small, medium and large options with their respective prices on each. This means that the needs of every customer are taken into consideration. It does not follow a one-size-fits-all kind of criteria and this is a definite win giving it an upper hand on KFC. KFC, on the other hand, tries to adjust and fit it in. However, its options are not quite flexible. For fries, they have only regular and large, this means that a customer seeking to have the small-sized fries will have to settle for the regular or go without fries in the first place. Pricing comes to play in the sense that such a customer will have to spend more to get what he/she wants as opposed to McDonald’s where dishes and prices are tailor made to accommodate all customers (Tracy). 

The second item on both menus is chicken. Chicken is a favorite delicacy of many people and its price differs in the two fast food organizations. Just like fries, McDonald’s offers a wide range of options of this favorite meal; there is the individual price, medium meal price and large meal price. Depending on the customers’ preferences, this meal is affordable and available in all quantities. How does this compare to KFC? In KFC, the same dish is offered but the variance is limited. It is offered in the following parameters: large popcorn chicken meal, boneless dips meal, 2 pieces, 3 pieces and mighty bucket. The prices are relatively higher for those wishing to have a smaller package and thus, less pocket friendly. This might have the customer end up foregoing the initial wish to purchase the chicken for other less costly dishes. 

In pricing, although both organizations offer competitive prices as a market strategy, McDonald’s stands a better chance of winning new customers as well as retaining the old ones (Noe). 

2. Product

In evaluating the two organizations on the basis of product, one should consider the variety and number of items on the menu as well as the quality that each produces. Right from the name, KFC limits the products it offers. KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken and therefore, most of their products revolve around fried chicken. This is a major limitation in the sense that it is not a suitable fast food joint for round the clock needs. A customer cannot visit KFC in the morning when they want to have breakfast or a grabbing a four-o’clock snack.

 This has a lot to do with the products offered. On the other side, McDonald’s has diversified its menu to suit its customers. What’s even more is that it offers dishes depending on the location and the preferences of the people residing there. McDonald’s does a pretty good job on its international menus. It adjusts their traditional American items just so they can accommodate local dinners and local flavors. For instance, pizza may be the favorite dish among the American population but not recognized among the Chinese. McDonald’s knows this too well and does their best to have their customers’ interest at heart (Hill). 

Meat burgers may be suitable for meat lovers but what about the vegetarians who have a thing for burgers? Such people are accommodate by the McDonald’s menu because it offers Mashed Potato Burgers. I mean, how creative is this? Even the name itself sounds like a thing you would try, just to see how they are able to pull it off. McDonald’s goes beyond the normal dishes and its menu is full of surprises. Japanese are known to have a thing for sea food. McDonald’s satisfies their preferences by coming up with an Ebi Filet-O Shrimp Burger. Who says all burgers must be made of beef? McDonald’s dares their customers to dream.

3. Promotion

In this sector, it is a tie from both organizations. They all offer promotions and offers on selected items every now and then. Offers such as buy two burgers get one free exist in both. There are price cut on selected items in both. On holidays, they come up with market strategies aimed at attracting more customers. For instance on Valentine’s Day there are delicacies meant for couples at a discounted price. On Christmas, there are various treats for families such as the chicken buckets that will be enough for everyone at a discounted price. 

Another aspect of promotion employed by these fast food organizations is the Corporate Social Responsibility. A company may be making millions of dollars and have the best quality products but will never be popular among a community if it never shows any responsibility and duty to the same. Think of it in these terms, a company that offers employment to the community members and observes simple environmental rules is more likely to be popular than one that makes millions and is in the front row of polluting the environment. Corporations have large detrimental effects on the environment par se and it is imperative that they check on such factors by treating earth as the home of man rather than seeing it as an economic resource that should be manipulated for financial benefits (Pride and Ferell).

Finally, promotions can come in the name of corporate branding as a marketing tool. Tee shirts, key holders, stationery and even cutlery. The more a company advertises itself through these promotion items, the more the customers it brings on board. Safe to say, both organizations have invested greatly in this sector, none more than the other.

4. Place

When it comes to locations around the world, it is a very competitive ground between McDonald and KFC. McDonald’s is established in 119 countries and serves approximately 68 million customer on a daily basis. It has around 36,538 outlets strategically placed around the world. KFC, on the other hand, has around 20,000 locations globally distributed in 123 countries standing as the second largest restaurant chain in the world after McDonald’s. Both organizations had humble beginnings and they worked their way to the top. McDonald’s started as a hamburger joint whereas KFC was a chicken joint. Over the years, McDonald’s has evolved quite rapidly as compared to KFC and it is for this reason that it has established more outlets in many locations.

McDonald’s has an upper hand in place because it is not reluctant to bend and change its menu when need be so as to accommodate new customers in new locations. It takes its time to understand the needs and preferences of customers and works on giving them whatever they want even if some items on their menu are purely experimental. 


Using the 4Ps evaluation of marketing strategy, it is safe to say that KFC has a lot to learn from McDonald’s.

Works Cited

Grimm, Curtis M, Hun Lee and Ken G Smith. Strategy as action: competitive dynamics and competitive advantage. New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.

Hill, Charles W L. International business: competing in the global marketplace. New York : McGraw Hill Education, 2014.

Hooley, Graham J and John A Saunders. Competitive positioning: the key to marketing strategy. New York: Prentice Hall, 1993.

Hooley, Graham J, John A Saunders and Nigel Piercy. Marketing strategy and competitive positioning . New York: Prentice Hall Financial Times, 2004.

Noe, Raymond A. Human resource management: gaining a competitive advantage. New York: McGraw Hill, 2013.

Pride, William M and O C Ferell. Foundations of marketing . Australia: South-Western, 2014.

Tracy, Brian. Marketing . New York: American Management Association, 2014.