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Marketing Plan for Taco Bell in Saudi Arabia: Promotion Mix and Distribution

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In the Middle East, fast food culture has met a radical success in the last three decades, where the consumers are strongly driven towards famous Western brands (Lee, 2000, p.368). The core element of the promotional mix of Taco Bell is to be the Western outlook the brands brings with itself to the country and how it relates with the Saudis who are increasingly moving towards a modern lifestyle.  While Saudis are motivated to adopt the Western trends, the values they hold are deeply rooted in their religion, i.e. Islam (John, 1993, p.100). This creates a warning signal for the foreign fast food brands to give proper attention to Haram and Halal issues that are central to the Islamic values of the Saudis related with food consumption (Halal Focus, 2010). Traditional and modern promotional techniques can be used for the promotion, incorporating digital, in-door and outdoor mediums of advertising and sales promotion.


Advertising is the most common tool of marketing communications, which delivers the messages of the products directly to the customers in the most effective way possible (Ogilvy, 1987, p.11). The advertisements of Taco Bell will incorporate the same quality and content that it delivers to consumers in the global market. However, cultural adaptations in the form of using Saudi families in the advertisements will be used.


  • To inform the potential target market of Taco Bell in Saudi Arabia of its arrival in their country;
  • To attract a large portion of the target market to the Taco Bell outlets;
  • To position the brand next to the lifestyle-associated, foreign fast food brands in the market;
  • To generate a revenue percentage of 20% in the first year of operation.

Advertising Mix

Television, billboards, print, internet, mobile and radio mediums will be used to deliver the message of Taco Bell in Saudi Arabia. Billboards and television advertisements will dominate the mainstream communications, while print, internet, mobile and radio will be used as secondary mediums of communication.

Television. Family channels will be used for airing the advertisements of Taco Bell during prime times.

Print. Newspapers and magazines will be used to deliver the key messages that Taco Bell about its brand image, product quality and locations, where its services are available. Both National newspapers and targeted magazines will be used.

Billboards. Billboards have high retention rates in the minds of the audience as they pass by frequently from the whereabouts of the billboards and catch the message fairly quickly (Percy, 2008, p.342). Value deals and sales promotions messages can be tied to the use of billboards.

Internet. The impact of information provided on the internet upon consumer purchase decisions has been found to exist in Saudi Arabia as well. Thus, internet advertisements, presence in the special media networks, and a country based website will be created.

Radio and Mobile. Radio and mobile advertisements will be used to convey messages regarding the launch of the outlet and new offers.


Advertising costs will be highest during the first year of the launch. These are expected to be around $150,000. 50% will be spent on television advertisements and on billboards, where as the rest will be spent on internet, radio and mobile and print mediums.

Sales Promotions

The purpose of the sales promotion campaign is to boost sales of the brand through generating awareness and exposure that leads to an aggressive sales campaign followed by sales technique in the end in order to retain the customer.


            The objectives of the sales promotion will be:

  • To increase sales
  • To develop a sales lead in the market
  • To restrict competitors
  • To create publicity of the market entry of the brand

Tools and Techniques

            Consumer oriented sales promotions in the form of Free-standing Inset and loyalty reward programmes will be used (Burnett, 1993). Consumers will be issued 100 discount coupons in print advertisements, to allow the first set of consumers to benefit at its launch.  Loyalty reward program is a customer relationship management programme through which points, marks and etc. are awarded on purchasing the products continuously and repeatedly and rewards are given in return at different levels (Percy, 2008).


Sales promotional techniques are expected to add to the promotional costs in the form of the discounts offered (Percy, 1983, p.101). However, these are expected to be low as the discounts will be outweighed against the high profit margins set to obtain the 30 per cent targeted profitability in the first year.

E. Distribution


The service will be distributed through outlets. Riyadh and Jeddah will the first two cities to target in distribution. Taco Bell is to enter the market via franchising and licensing. Taco Bell’s team to be sent for setting up the layout of the outlets and training the management in the franchise outlets to execute the standard service philosophy of the brand in Saudi Arabia so that the company desired brand image is established in the country.

Licensing is where a foreign company under a long term agreement and over an annual fixed fees, agrees to let a Saudi company use its designs, ideas, logo and managerial expertise under the supervision of its own hired staff and team of people that are monitored on an annual basis by the licensing company to prolong the license (Hill, 2010, p.211). This is a very secure and popular form of market entry in Saudi Arabia and there are fewer barriers to entry this way. 

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