Overcoming the challenges of product management in the international market

The core of a firm’s international operations is its products or services. Its success depends on the quality offered and the differentiation from its competitors. To the consumer, any product is a cluster of value satisfactions. The perception of value differs across cultures around the world. For example, in Latin America, a product produced by an American brand tends to hold greater value than something similar produced by a Latin American brand. This does not mean that the product produced by the Latin America brand is in any way inferior in quality or appearance, but that perception creates different values. Here, I explore the challenges facing product management and offer an example from Apple’s recent launch of the iPhone X.

International product management has rapidly gained in importance. The ever-expanding array of product offerings, rise in the global GDP per capita, technology advancements and changing consumer behavior has led to a re-evaluation of product management strategy. The international marketer must address the variables that may call for an adaptation in the product offering. There are internal and external adjustments that enable firms to compete in the constantly evolving international market. Culture, language, government regulations, domestic competition and consumer behavior are some of the external challenges to entering an international market. There are also internal challenges such as talent acquisition, communication, standardization and coordination that companies need to consider.

One company that has dealt successfully with these challenges is Apple. It has adapted the product offering to customer needs, overcome cultural and national barriers and established brand loyalty. Traditionally, product managers spend the bulk of their time crunching numbers and analyzing data to drive new products forward. But with increased pressure on companies to stay lean and at the same time decrease their time to market, a purely traditional approach to product management isn’t quite enough anymore. There is a new need to sell benefits, not just the product. In recent time, Apple has used this technique to market its latest products. At a time when Apple was criticized for not including significant value-add features compared to previous models, the new iPhone X went above and beyond the market expectations. Apple used differentiation based on the advantages of cutting-edge technology and sophisticated design in the manufacturing of the new iPhone X. With facial recognition, wireless charging and edge-to-edge screen display, the phone continues a league of its own.

Ultimately, the specific strategy adopted by marketers in dealing with the challenges of product management will differ from country-to-country but will be in accordance with the region’s cultural norms, affordability of the target market, government regulations and inherent preferences. Addressing each of the challenges, Apple has successfully penetrated the global market. Their success is also testament to the fact that trusting a committed workforce and empowering them with decision-making will yield positive results for an international company launching a product or service in foreign markets.


The US and Europe demonstrating unity on energy security

Bart Marcois

ukraine_flagCalmly in July, a party leader from the Czech Republic visited Washington to hold discussions with the White House and Republican members in Congress on the basis of shared values, including peace in Europe. At the recommendation of senior national security officials, he has reached out to his neighboring countries, to the east and the west. His aim: to link Europe and the U.S. in a pragmatic formula to secure energy independence in Ukraine and provide economic opportunities for the Czech Republic.

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Trump administration goes after China over intellectual property, advanced technology

Michael R. Czinkota

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) (L), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (3rd R), U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (2nd R) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (R), finishes signing a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative to complete a review of trade issues with China at the White House in Washington, U.S. August 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Trump signed a Presidential memorandum asking the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to investigate China’s laws, policies, practices, and actions and their effect on the U.S. economy. It will likely trigger an investigation into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property.

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Migration from less developed economies and its effect on corporate and individual international business performance

Our Special Initiative: Immigration and Immigrant Integration Through Trade

Migration from less developed economies and its effect on corporate and individual international business performance

Michael R. Czinkota

Gary Knight

Zaheer Khan


Project Abstract:

Professors Czinkota of Georgetown University, Knight of Williamette University and Khan of the University of Kent have initiated theories on entry strategies into international markets. Czinkota co-developed the ‘stage theory of internationalization’ where firms typically enter markets abroad over two years. Knight co-developed the ‘born global’ theory, where improved communication enhances access to international markets right from firm foundation. Khan specializes in trade from emerging economies towards wealthy nations. We intend to marry our theories with analyses of immigrants and immigration to clarify immigrant contribution to international trade.

Globalization has been associated with widespread migration of people moving from less developed to developed economies for political, economic, or social reasons. Business survival is a major factor that predicts the success of immigrant entrepreneurs and of immigrants generally, in the U.S. Recent statistics indicated that more than 12 percent of residents in the U.S. are immigrants. Remittances sent home by migrants are substantial, and often represent a significant proportion of home country gross national product. In general, migrants play important roles in their host countries. For example, migrants in the U.S. operate as entrepreneurs, investors in capital markets, tourists, volunteers, and advocates. They bring various assets, resources, international experience, social networks, a sense of patriotism and social cohesion, bridges to foreign investors, and entrepreneurial knowledge and experience. Many such migrants draw on resources from their home and host countries to economically adapt to the U.S., and launch new businesses by becoming entrepreneurs. These transnational entrepreneurs often launch businesses that involve trade and investment between the United States and the migrants’ home countries

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