Love: Marketing and International Marketing Review Essay

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International Marketing Review 13,3 56

Implementing global marketing strategy
An interview with Whirlpool Corporation
Ilkka A. Ronkainen
School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, and

Ivan Menezes
Whirlpool Corporation
To gauge the challenges of global marketing implementation in practice, guest editor Ilkka A. Ronkainen (IMR) talked to Ivan Menezes, vice president, group marketing, Whirlpool Europe. IMR:The vision at Whirlpool is to integrate geographical businesses wherever possible and leverage capabilities in all operations. How has this worked in European marketing? It has worked on two levels as far as Whirlpool is concerned. One is the global integration and the impact on European marketing, and the second is within Europe, especially how we manage and how we drive our pan-European marketing. In Europe, as you look at our position in the market and our strategy, we have three key pillars that form the foundation of our strategy in terms of competitive advantage. One is the building of a pan-European multi-brand portfolio. We have three core brands across Europe that are positioned on a panregional basis. The second is what we call pan-European operating scale, which is the way we manage our business in Europe. And the third is the global leverage scale we bring to the European marketplace. Those are the three key elements that make us different from our competitors and really the areas in which we believe we can create competitive advantage in this marketplace. Our marketing activities in Europe focus on positioning these three brands on a pan-European basis, targeted at distinct consumers that cut across borders. We have the Bauknecht brand which is a German high-end brand, positioned at what may be classified as the status and securities segment. We have Whirlpool which is the mass-market brand in the middle, targeted at what we call a style and function segment, and then Ignis which is a value brand. Our products, communication, pricing and competitive moves are based on this pan-European positioning for our brand portfolio. In the appliance business, distribution is the crucial element of the marketing mix, especially how you manage distribution and build your partnerships with

International Marketing Review, Vol. 13 No. 3, 1996, pp. 56-63. © MCB University Press, 0265-1335

the trade. The influence of the sales person in the store at the point of sale is key Implementing because this is a low-incidence purchase and low-involvement product category. global marketing Consumers coming back into the market do need help and the role of the strategy salesperson and the dealer is very important. As we deploy this multi-brand strategy in every market in Europe, we have to link it very much to the distribution realities, the types of retail formats and distribution places across 57 Europe and tailor the mix eventually to the realities of the individual market or country. This particularly relates to the elements of below-the-line of promotional spending, point-of-sale marketing and the channel selection and channel management side of the marketing mix. IMR: What does it take to be a successful global marketer in a national market; i.e. how do you keep roots in local markets while pursuing global strategies? The pure consumer marketing side in our business can be managed very well and effectively across borders. In the last five years we have switched from the Philips brand to the Whirlpool brand, through a brand-transfer process where we dual-branded for a period Phillips-Whirlpool, eventually dropped the Philips name, and now have a single brand, Whirlpool. The whole marketing effort was very consistent across Europe. In fact, we were the first in this business and in a lot of businesses in Europe to move to pan-European advertising, where we had a common campaign developed across Europe. The basic marketing mix targeted at the consumer was, again, very similar across borders. However,