When you develop & design your product—Who are you optimizing it for?
What value are you positioning it for?
How do you define success?
These big-rock questions, that determine our entire company's core objectives and priority MVP roadmap, that dictate how we balance our budget and resource trade-offs, they are critical to get right.
Begin at the end. And work your strategy backward from there.
When we start developing our product strategy in the prototyping concept-proof phase, most start at the beginning, focusing on top of funnel, on our product/brand discoverability and acquisition. Instead, a more powerful strategy is to begin at the end: focus our vision on downstream impact, on our product/brand loyalty and retention.
How will we get our customer segments to renew subscription and be our brand evangelists for the long-haul? This vision will shape how we dev/design our product from the get-go: who will we optimize it for, what value proposition and problem solving will we prioritize.
And if growth is our holy grail, its success should be measured not by how many people join , but by how many of those who've joined, stayed.
The success metric for Growth is not signup rate, not even "quality high-intent engaged sign-ups." The ultimate success metric for Growth is Retention.
If we build products and services that are intended for global customers, then we need a global-ready strategy in Product, in Platform and in People.
In one word, global-readiness is about "Agility"
Agility in global-ready Product means being able to reiterate and adapt the product experience to adopt new markets fast enough, before our local competitors do. It means investing in truly understanding our customers within the context of their cultural and regional environment so that we can reposition the value proposition to respond fast enough to the right-fit problem solving and to the right-fit local user expected behavior.
Agility in global-ready Platform means a modular platform infrastructure architecture that enables us to instantly, dynamically generate the relevant front-end experience by user geolocation, and other user segmentation signals, without having to refactor the code. It means peacefully divorcing from a global-standard backend and shifting to microservices & virtualized cloud-native networks that enable us instant deploys on the go.
Agility in global-ready People means a mind-shift from the traditional vertical organizational structure to a more flexibly horizontal org structure, so that we can effectively drive horizontal cross-functional efforts.
Not all functional efforts are horizontal.
It cuts across all functional teams. The Head of International leading a Globalization team needs to have a "bird's view" big-picture-connect-the-dots vision that's tied to the corporate core objectives in order to effectively drive a holistic cross-functional international strategy. To do that successfully, they need to align their OKRs with everyone else's OKRs, with all stakeholder leads across all product teams, marketing, data-science, user research, ux design, operations, customer support, business development, legal, etc.
Many companies struggle with global growth adoption because they cannot adapt well enough, fast enough to new markets. They cannot do that because of an agility gap in their Product, Platform and People strategy. And also because of a skills gap. It's rare to find and hire a Head of International who has the skillset expertise and background in both Product/Growth management & in Localization disciplines with an International orientation.
Universities don't teach "International Product/Global-Ready Growth" and industry conferences don't address this topic deeply enough.
This is why I took a sharp turn from my 20-year industry highway (at Google, Linkedin, SurveyMonkey) into the Education pathway, and developed the practical industry-applied curriculum, teaching it in higher-ed to help empower the next generation of skilled Global-Ready oriented Product & Growth leaders, with user-empathy for all users around the globe.
And this is why we're now launching The GlobalSaké 2020 conference. Checkout the program. The conference is designed as an intensive full-day corporate education applied program for cross-functional leads, helping companies effectively scale global growth. It’s about shifting your product strategy from a vertical codebase ownership to a horizontal full-cycle user journey, understanding our customers within the context of their cultural & regional environment. It’s about building the right-fit lifetime-value positioning to maximize adoption in new markets. And it’s about building it global-ready from the get-go.
Expect practical cross-functional applied learnings from experts around the globe at Google, Linkedin, Airbnb, Netflix, Apple, Pinterest, Wix, Zendesk, Udacity, AliPay, Stripe, OpenTable, GoPro, Square, Salesforce, Bird, Kayak, NetApp, Lang.ai, Mother Tongue, Lilt and many more.
Some topics we’ll cover:
Neuromarketing: brand to consumer communication across cultures and borders
Psychographic Classification: personalizing ads placement and content by user intent category signals
AI & Applied Machine Learning: storytelling through data and neural networks
Data-driven Go-To-Market Strategy: measuring market sizing/TAM analysis, market-readiness/company-readiness, competitive landscape
Global-Ready Strategy in Product, Platform and People
User Research for geo-specific user segments
Global & local UI/UX Design with case studies optimizing user experience-fit for emerging markets
International SEO/SEM—optimizing high-intent attribution channels in organic and paid
Global Payments & Mobile-first FinTech solutions for mature core markets and for the un/under-banked mobile-first emerging markets
Product optimization for Japan new market entry & adoption
Cross-cultural marketing campaigns
Local Content relevancy: the spectrum between content translation, localization, transcreation and origination