Building International Products by MasterCard Director PM

A business is always on the wheels of expansion and improvement. Product management and agility to attain product internationalization, forms one of the basic strategies of any business expansion. In this module, Gerlando Alletto takes us through his experience and wisdom gracefully, to educate us on the challenges and the extensive process of Product and PM internationalization.

Meet Gerlando Alletto

Profile picture Gerlando Alletto

A key product strategist, Gerlando Alletto is currently the MasterCard Director Product Manager. He has over 10 years experience of managing large cross-functional, multicultural & international teams in digital products and services. He is a specialist in Product Management, People Management & B2C and B2B2C Digital Products and Services.

Building International Products

Product managers are the interface between various functions and play a key role bridging technical, non-technical, internal and external teams.

What makes a Product Manager “International”?

It is not about the manager, it is all about the product here. Making the product go international, helps in transcending the PM to an international PM. Managing various products in multiple countries by default makes one an International Product Manager.

These days small businesses are equipped with tech and are informed about networking their business into a worldwide platform. Networking consists of interacting with regional Product Managers and market partners to spread the word of the product availability, locally in their regions.

Building a congenial relationship with the regional managers and partners helps in discussing the challenges and differences that surface locally in the area while marketing the product.

Adult in an airport

7 Factors that Contribute to Product Internationalization

Making a product international, is a tedious and challenging job. While there are many factors that contribute to internationalization, Gerlando goes into the most important factors.

1) Localization matters

Localization of the products in terms of user experience, relevance of content, language localization and branding is necessary to market a product. Without customizing the product for the region, the users won’t accept the utility and existence of it.

2) Pricing

Pricing the product considering the local economy and currency stands as an essential requirement. For instance, for a product in the UK, £999 might be considerable price, while it might weigh heavy in Italy. Hence, price positioning is important before finalizing on product marketing.

3) Competition

The local market provides the space for research before plunging into the market statistics. Some ‘unknown’ competitor might already be ruling a similar product in the market. Hence a pre-understanding and extensive research on the strengths and weakness of the self and opponent makes a mark. Considering and comparing the local and international market status, before expansion, is a must.

4) Market conditions

In order to network into the unknown countries, having a market partner from the local infrastructure is necessary. For example, the banking systems accepted and presented in a country might be entirely different from another. In wide cases, one bank that supports in a country will not be operating in another. Other operable variables like consumer behavior, internet availability, and speed, etc also count in.

5) Regulations

A PM should be mindful of the Governmental law, Regional law and International laws applying to the product marketing and management in a country. Some of the transactions and features of the product acceptable in a country, might be outright null & void in another, owing to the regional laws.

6) Distance & time zones

Time Zones play a very crucial role in Product Internationalization. Gerlando says that once, while launching a product in a region of Russia, there was immense confusion caused due to phenomenal 11 time zones variance. Technical challenges, remote interactions, and work coordination are majorly affected due to distance and time zones.

7) Culture

Before launching a product, having a fundamental acquaintance of the country culture is necessary. Understanding the language and culture provides remarkable edge over the unlikely.

Woman taking cultural photos

Building an MVP

After explaining the factors affecting the internationalization, Gerlando takes us through the process of building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). He says that product internationalization is agile management. It structurally follows Build- measure-learn feedback loop:

1) Build

While building the product, following factors are considered:

  • Key localization
  • Pricing
  • Benchmark on competition
  • Market conditions
    • Available partnership
    • Infrastructure
  • Regulations
  • Culture

2) Measure

Measure basically includes measuring the customer acceptance progress. Some key points considered in this step are:

  • Data
  • Customers
  • Progress
  • Performance

3) Learn

Learning is composed of two main concepts:

  • Persevere
  • Pivot

4) Feedback

This is the crucial step. The feedback and criticism from customer drives the product towards betterment.

Gerlando Alletto quote

Final Note:

The speaker ends the session with a valuable quote from the CEO: “As a PM, you will be the advocate of customer”.

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