Problem solving Essay Example

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The marketing problem

McDonald’s Australia is facing a problem with one of its products, McDonald’s Amore Meals, which is performing poorly in the Australian market. In its quarterly sales report, the performance of this product is seen to be far much below average performance since it is performing way below other products. There are two key reasons behind the poor sales performance of this product as well as other food products of the company, intensive market competition and low spending levels due to high unemployment rate (Greenblat 2013). There is a need to address this issue in the bid to increase the sale of McDonald’s Amore Meals in Australia in order to improve the company’s performance.

The target market for this product includes youths. This is a major weakness by the company because the target market for this product is generalised such that it becomes difficult to streamline marketing efforts to improve the sale of this product. As much as the target market includes youths, there is a need to specify a key target market so that the company can direct its marketing efforts to this target market. This paper redefines the key target market for McDonald’s Amore Meals to include college and University students. These people have high spending behavior owing to free money they get from their parents. Members of this target market are also highly likely to be victims of peer pressures, which will be an advantage for McDonald’s Australia. However, the company should not ignore other youths but focusing more on college and University students will help the company to increase sales so that other youths will only top up the high sales realised from the key target market. Marketing efforts should be aligned with specific consumer behaviors (Greenblat 2013). As such, this paper analyses the key target market to identify their consumer behaviours particularly factors that determine the purchasing behavior of the key target market.

Consumer behavior issues and analysis

Although low performance of McDonald’s Amore Meals is attributed to intensified competition and high unemployment rate, this problem is highly related to perception (internal factor) and social influences (external factor), which are crucial in determining purchasing decision-making. Accordingly, this paper analyses these two issues with respect to college and University students.


Consumer perceptions play an important role when consumers are making purchasing decisions. According to Pizam and Mansfeld (1999), marketing is more about battling with perceptions to create positive consumer perceptions than selling the company’s products. When it comes to a company’s products, consumer perceptions that usually take effect include perception about the company (Koufaris 2005), perception about the product, which include value perception, quality perception, and image perception (Kim 2008). In the case of McDonald’s Amore Meals, company perception that determine the purchasing behavior of college students include their perception of whether McDonald is a good company. It is worth noting that the key target market is characterised by access to information and as such, information about unethical business behavior, such as legal battles involving sale of substandard food products, may create a negative perception about the company.

Perception about the product involves how the students see the product and what they think about it (Kim 2008). Do they see it as part of healthy food (quality perception)? Does the product packaging create positive perception about the product (image perception)? These are key questions to consider when thinking about product perception. Again, the key target market has access to information especially in the modern world where campaign for healthy eating is on the rise. This has a great contribution to students’ perception of the product because they might see it as being part of junk food that should be avoided. Accordingly, the company’s task is to convince the target market that the product is healthy. This could entail communicating information about ingredients and how it is produced in the bid to develop positive perception about the product.

Value perception is about the value of the product in comparison to the money charged for the product (Kim 2008). On this issue, students will evaluate the product and its price to see if the product gives value for their money. Here, students may consider the value they will get from the product including public image (how their colleagues will take them when they find them eating McDonald’s Amore Meals). Students will also consider whether McDonald’s Amore Meals will satisfy the need (the need may be mere filling an empty stomach). They may also wonder how much of the product they will require to satisfy the need in relation to the price f the product (is the product price fair?). This then calls for a message that makes students see the product as a high-end value product worth its price. This could involve communicating the benefits of consuming the product, such as the energy and nutrients the body will gain after consuming the product.

Social influences

The impact of social influences rests on the theme that students are part of a larger social network and that they are not barred from direct or indirect influences from other members of the network (Wanke 2009 & Batra and Kazmi, 2008). Mullen and Johnson (1990) identify two primary sources of social influence, family members and opinion leaders. Students may adopt the consumption behavior of their parents or other family members and this may have a profound impact on their decision to buy or not to buy the product. Opinion leaders could include fellow students, health professionals and lecturers whose opinion on the consumption of the product or product family (fast foods) will take a major impact on student purchasing behavior. Opinion leaders could include fellow students whom others perceive as knowledgeable and would readily adopt their behaviors and lifestyles. According to Foxall (2002), social approval by the society, in general may have a great impact on students decisions to purchase the product. Some students may not have information about the consumption of the product and will largely rely on the take of others. For example, if other students disregard fast food products as unhealthy food, this move may have a profound impact on other students who may as well disregard fast food products. This is particularly s because students live and operate in an enclosed system whereby they can easily observe what others are doing or hear what others are saying.


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