The road towards creating a good marketing plan is not always smooth for ordinary business people as well as for marketing professionals. For the new McDonald’s Franchise to make a good marketing plan, the company must be prepared to make moral decisions that require forethought and intelligence (Muncy, 2004). The fact that the marketing section of an organization does not get much attention does not indicate that marketers have no ethical responsibilities. Since ethical problems in marketing normally result into legal problems, it is important that every marketer identifies and addresses any ethical problems that a marketing plan might have (Muncy, 2004).
The first ethical dilemma that the new McDonald’s Franchise can experience is predicting how far it can go in stealth marketing. The company might choose a marketing strategy that will make customers praise its products. However, can this really take the company far? With the increasing client diversity, the company must learn that today’s marketplace is ruled by transparency. Therefore, the only choice is to remain forthright and honest. The new McDonald’s Franchise can still make its customers to sample its products in a more natural setting. The most important thing is to let customers understand the company and the main reasons for interacting with them. The company must be sure that all that it is saying against products offered by its competitors is actually true (Muncy, 2004).
The second ethical problem concerns confidentiality of customer information. The new McDonald’s Franchise is likely to offer its products online considering the current technological advancements in the market. When customers purchase items online, they normally leave their personal information as well as the types of products that they like on the company’s website. Ethical concerns arise when a partner company wants to purchase this information. Will the new McDonald’s Franchise sell customer information to a partner company? In such a case, the new McDonald’s Franchise needs to review the company’s code of ethics in order to identify the type of information that is meant for external and internal use. The company must also consider the national privacy laws when determining the best course of action. One of the simplest ways to address this ethical problem is to putting oneself in the client’s shoes. Ethically, selling customer information to a partner company is morally wrong (Muncy, 2004).
The third ethical issue that the company’s marketing plan might have is deciding how to deal with flawed products that have gotten into the hands of customers. This comes about when the company has just discovered a flaw in one of its products. In such a case, telling the public about this will automatically affect sales. Many companies always focus on the positive sides of the product when doing marketing. The new McDonald’s Franchise must remember that consumers are the main determinants of profit maximization, and that the company can earn satisfactory profits if it does the right thing. Therefore, the best thing that the company can do is to ask customers for forgiveness after identifying that its products may cause harm. The company should then pull the product from the store right away and begin the process of correcting the flaw with an immediate effect (Muncy, 2004).
In order to have a good marketing plan, the new McDonald’s Franchise must remember to show its customers a visual representation of its new product. The product is known as McRib sandwich, a pork sandwich that is barbecue-flavored, and liked by many customers. The figure below is a prototype for the product.
Muncy, J. A. (2004). Ethical issues in multi-level marketing: Is it a legitimate business or just another pyramid scheme? Marketing Education Review, 14 (3): 47-53.
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