The Challenges of Designing for Diverse Markets: How Dynamic Roadmaps Provide Solutions

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Illustration: Choose Product PathDeveloping products for global markets can be challenging and requires companies to navigate various demands, regulations, and market dynamics. Companies that want to maintain a cohesive brand while finding success in different regions must conduct extensive research to understand diverse consumer behaviors, preferences, and cultural nuances. Companies focused on success will research and test with new demographics before launching a new product model. Those same companies will thoroughly study and test their products in a new region to ensure there is a customer base with a demand for their products before launching.

Global companies must also navigate complex international regulations, ensuring products meet safety, environmental, and quality standards, which can be resource-intensive. This article explores the challenges companies encounter when launching products in different global markets and how dynamic roadmaps created using Gocious product roadmap software can help develop solutions.


Critical Cultural and Regional Challenges

Modern product design strives to be versatile and agile to make the development of different product lines as efficient and streamlined as possible while offering regional variance. To launch successful product designs in various markets, companies must encourage cross-collaboration and transparent communication between teams to ensure alignment continues in any region. 

Product success happens when product developers work with their sales and marketing teams to create effective marketing strategies that can then be adapted to different cultural contexts. A product design might be the best on the market, but the results will show in the sales if the messaging doesn't convey the benefits to the consumer. 

Here are some common cultural, political, and geographical challenges global companies face when introducing products in different markets. 


Health & Safety Regulations

Regional regulations can affect product design and development in multiple ways, including how the product is manufactured, marketed to the target audience, and distributed. One example is safety standards in the design specs and materials used. One case we can look at as an example of a specific regional health and safety standard is for European electronic products. 

All electronic products that are marketed within the European Union must have the CE marking that certifies they meet the health, safety, and environmental protection requirements as stated by the EU. The company must manufacture its product in a way that meets the standards to receive the certification. When certification is awarded, the product also requires the official label or mark to be added to the hardware.

Roadmap Solution: Product teams can assign a milestone on the roadmaps for their European product lines that signals a test to ensure the CE standards are met. Another helpful action product teams can take on the roadmap is to label the modules that meet CE standards so product teams can easily choose components for their products that will ensure their designs meet the regulations. 


Environmental Regulations 

Illustration: environment impactEnvironmental impact is another consideration companies need to account for in various markets. Some markets have regulations regarding the use of specific hazardous materials, especially in electrical components. Countries often implement these regulations to push brands to use more eco-friendly materials. Companies need to know these rules before designing products for those markets. 

Emissions standards are another common variation between regions that automotive vehicle manufacturers need to be aware of. In the United States, there are EPA standards that cars, trucks, and other vehicles must meet in order to be sold. In Europe, it's the Euro 6 standards. Knowing these differences during the design and development process improves a company's chances of growing its global reach with its product lines. 

Roadmap Solution: Product roadmaps can help product teams meet environmental regulations in each market by creating transparency between design, engineering, and product management teams. Adding KPIs to the roadmap that ensure the required standard is met alerts everyone working on the product to the minimum standard. 

If environmental goals are a priority, they can also be included in the scoring of new product ideas. That way, teams know what to prioritize when designing the scope of new product models for each market.


Privacy Laws

Tech companies and manufacturers of cyber-physical products need to be aware of privacy regulations that impact the software portion of their products. Different regions have different rules and limitations that are meant to protect the privacy and user information of their populations. One example of such measures is the data protection laws in Europe, known as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). If companies want their software to be used in European countries, they must abide by the GDPR guidelines regarding how user data is collected, stored, and used. 

Roadmap Solution: Similar to the environmental regulations standard, product teams can add the GDPR as a requirement for all software designs headed toward a particular market. Product teams can set a GDPR review as a milestone requirement for each product destined for European markets. If this review is not complete or the modules fail the test, the product managers will be alerted to plan solutions.


Diverse Customer Needs

Illustration: customer reviewsConducting market research and collecting customer feedback is essential for every market, especially global markets, due to the diversity of lifestyles, cultures, and ethical standards between different regions. To fully understand the customers in these markets, product teams need to research the target users, solicit feedback, and ensure their stakeholders break down any assumptions they may have. 

The results of the research can then serve multiple purposes. In one example, these results can inform the engineers and product developers on which features, modules, and other details are in demand for certain markets. When product teams understand the cultural norms and preferences in the market, they can better align product design to match those users and their needs. 

In addition to lifestyle differences and cultural sensitivities, product teams also need to consider the ethical standards in different markets. One country may have different regulations mandating ethical sourcing of materials, fair labor practices, or other considerations that will influence product development

Roadmap Solution: User research can also inform the regional sales teams. Knowing what metrics they want to focus on to launch successful products to their market helps them spot opportunities on the broader portfolio. With convenient labels and a customizable sales dashboard, Gocious roadmap software helps regional sales teams filter product roadmaps to identify the best product lines for their customers. 


Maintaining Oversight of the Portfolio

Illustration: budget allocationIn any market, having clear oversight of the product roadmap is essential for success. The roadmap is the key tool that keeps stakeholders informed, communicates the goals, and alerts relevant teams to issues that need attention. Maintaining oversight of the product roadmap requires dynamic product roadmapping tools that give users access to the right information wherever they need it. Everyone from executive decision-makers to the product leadership team needs to see a different set of data for their interests. Here's how we're making this possible at Gocious. 


High-Level Oversight for Executives

Executive decision-makers are concerned with company goals and standards and whether the products their company makes are upholding those. They don't need to see alerts that a date is missing or the KPIs the product managers are tracking for their team. Executives want to know what products are launching soon, which ones are being removed from the market, and whether any issues need their attention. With Gocious product roadmap software, CEOs and other executives can see a quick overview of the entire portfolio with a single click, delivering the essential data without the extra noise. 


Detailed Product Dashboards for Product Leaders

Product leaders need to know what is happening with the products in their responsibility. They want to know everything from timelines to budget alerts to dependencies and KPI results. With Gocious roadmapping software, product leaders can filter and sort their dashboards to show the information they want to review in any given scenario. Whether they're presenting a business case to the executive team or reviewing delays with the lead engineer, customizable views make the job of the product leaders far more manageable than before. 


Focused Roadmaps for Marketing and Sales

With large portfolios, a company's marketing and sales teams need the ability to find the information relevant to their campaign planning. These teams can also customize their views so they can reference the top features of a product and translate those into user benefits for a solid marketing campaign in any given region. 


Gocious Product Roadmap Software:

Creating One Source of Truth for Global Operations 

Illustration: communicate globallyBy adhering to regional regulations and diverse market needs, companies ensure their products are legally compliant, safe, and suitable for their target markets. Failure to comply can result in legal penalties, product recalls, and damage to a company's reputation. Gocious dynamic product roadmap software is just one key component that helps manufacturers maintain transparency and keep multiple global teams on the same page with one source of truth.


See Gocious product roadmap software in action on a global scale in our newest customer case study: Gocious aids AGCO in its mission to help farmers feed the world through product roadmap innovation.

Topics: Product Development, Product Roadmap

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