PMMs and Industry PMMs are very similar in terms of the core skill sets needed to be successful in their roles. The biggest difference is that they need to intimately understand the industry or set of industries that they are responsible for and the unique needs of the personas that they’re targeting in those industries. With this lens, there are 3 foundational areas an Industry PMM needs to be exceptional at (all of which are powered by deep knowledge of their industry, customers and competitors):
Generally, I'd say two things: 1) having enough familiarity and understanding of an industry to know how to craft a message that lands with a given audience and avoid missing the mark by either being vaguely horizontal or not speaking an industry's language. Every industry has their own tone, lexicon and tribal knowledge that need to be understood to connect with that audience. A great PMM can have the use cases, feature set, benefits and competitive landscape down cold and still not sould like they "get" a given industry, lessening the effect your story has on customers. 2) Unlike PMM, industry marketing (in my experience) is a broader marketing function that includes campaign strategy, digital execution and field marketing coordinated to deliver demand generation in the form of delivering net new pipe or helping move opportunities along to close. The hand-off from PMM to industry marketing is super important but, if done right, it's complementary not overlapping.
With my industry product marketers, I nurture the development of a set of skills that I feel differentiate them. These are the skills I feel an industry product marketer should be exceptional at: 1.) Know your industry buyer personas. 2.) An industry product marketer should be able to speak in the native language of that industry. They should know the industry jargon, abbreviations, and the way their business functions. 3.) They should hold themselves accountable to ensuring their messaging is relevant to the industry’s specific situation and challenges, and they should always strive to position solutions in a way that shows a deep understanding of that industry’s mission-critical business processes. 4.) They should be exceptional at live demoing their product 1:1 with customers, internally in enablement programs, or publicly via event keynotes, sessions, webinars.
Industry product marketers need to have a solid knowledge of the pain points and needs for the audience they serve and be able to translate product benefits into customer outcomes. They partner with product-focused solution marketers and campaign teams on go-to-market plans. However, their quarterly and annual plans are not as tightly coupled with product release cycles, but rather with industry events and outreaches targeting user personas and buying segments.
All product marketers, no matter their focus area, need to understand both their product and their buyer -- but industry marketers tend to overindex on understanding the industry market, ICP, and Personas and the key messages that will resonate with them. In contract, more product-focused product marketers may need to be deeper into the product roadmap and release cadance, and how it impacts the overall go-to-market.
Storytelling, bringing the customer vision to life, and having a wide variety of skillsets (I always love ex-entrepreneurs) is vital for an industry marketer to be exceptional.
The industry marketers job is to bring the buyers vision front and center. A key difference here is that product marketers are more focused on ensuring the product is the centerpiece; Its features and benefits are all around the product, not the customer. Solution marketing, which ties into industry product marketing, brings value driven messaging to life and the product is the support for the message. Messaging is around moreso what the buyer needs and wants. A good industry marketer will be able to wrap around multiple products and at times, partners, in order to package them together to effectively communicate and ellicit the needs of the buyer. Often times this leads to higher ASP per deal due to "packaging" different products around a single message.