Whirlpool is an appliance company headquartered in the United States. The company has a global presence and ranks as number two world wide. They are the market leader in the United States. The major goal of the company is to achieve global growth. Whirlpool's global marketing strategy is based on segmenting customers well and providing suitable products for each specific market. They have different strategies and market conditions for developed markets and developing markets.
The company segments its products in developed markets like United States and Europe. In United States there are three segments: high end products, medium priced products and low end products. In Europe there are only two: traditionalists and aspires. In those markets the competition is severe, the market is fragmented and growth rate of the industry is low; around 1 or 2 percent. So, the company tries to maintain its position by cutting costs down by decreasing the number of warehouses & the product development budget and increasing productivity.
In developing markets such as Brazil, China and India, Whirlpool tries to produce products that match the local needs and tastes of the majority (low-end customers). They have two major strategies for that. They use platform method and innovations. In the platform method, the company produces same platforms that are the technical core of the end product for each market. Later on market specific capabilities are added to the product.
The other method is innovation of a bran new product for a specific local market. Then the company uses this new product in other markets that have similar needs and tastes by using platform method (making minor adjustments for each market). Market research is used to gather information about the marketplace. By using this data, the company decides what the local needs and tastes are, how the segmentation should be made and which segment gives priority to what features.
According to the results the company launches new products or modifies their existing products for the given market. Developing products for low income consumers in emerging markets may be a good strategy. As the majority of people in developing countries are low income consumers, by reaching those consumers the company will have huge brand recognition in that country. As the economy of the developing country gets better, those people may have more economic power in the future and buy some other products of the company too. However, this strategy only works if the company is able to sell those low end products with enough margins. Moreover, the company may segment the customers in developing countries as well.
In addition to selling products to low income consumers, they can sell products to high end customers with higher margins.