All related (14)
Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki, Cisco | Formerly Tellme Networks, Microsoft, Box, Vera, Scout RFP, and Sisu Data, to name a few.August 16

I love these big questions. What strikes me is there seems to be an underlying tension in several of the questions about industry vs. product marketing. Just like any two teams in marketing, there are superpowers of each that when combined together make a much stronger team. 

Paging Indy Sen - I think there's an Avengers or IMF reference buried in here somewhere.

But seriously - when industry and "core" PMM work together with a common purpose, there's very little you can't accomplish. By pairing a deep understanding of products and market, rich insights into industry challenges and opportunities, a shared need for persona empathy, and a knack for messaging and wordplay? That's magic.

A basic recipe for this is to divide by persona or audience; it's going to be different based on your product, your customer, and your overall GTM needs, but it's the cleanest way to identify ownership and overlap. When I was at Box, we had a core platform and product team focused on the horizontal CIO and CISO solutions (our economic buyer) and a industry team who knew the line of business (LOB) leader inside and out.

"Core" PMM owned the messaging and positioning, core product collateral, competitive, and horizontal use case definition. A lot of the sales enablement content for the broad sales team, as well.

Industry PMM owned the vertical messaging, story, specialized use cases, and enablement for the overlay sales teams. 

It worked pretty well. Conversely at Tellme Networks (post-acquisition) Vertical Marketing took the lead because we had a very services-oriented business. There, core PMM played a more supporting role, driving messaging around the credibility of the solution after we landed the vision.

Jon Rooney
Group Vice President, Industry Marketing, OracleApril 10

In my experience - product marketers should continue to own all core PMM elements like product/solution-level messaging & positioning, enablement, AR, launch management and competitive intelligence. Industry marketing needs to deliver a great customer-focused message that sits above product/solution-level messaging (like a " for " first call deck any account team can use) anchored in the language and dynamics of a given industry. Talk about what matters to your customer as a commercial bank or online retailer or wireless provider and how, with your company's help, they win over customers and outperform their competitors. How your company can help in a given industry eventually clicks down into the specificity of product/solution-level messaging but it's a coherent customer journey rather than a jarring feature pitch. Beyond the message, industry marketing needs to design and execute campaings that resonate in a given industry, reinforcing that your company "gets it" especially if you're a large, multifaceted player competing against smaller, niche firms who are 100% rooted in the industry. This could mean joining industry associations, platforming internal thought leaders in the space and publically providing POVs on broader topics, not just amplifying product press releases.

Jeff Otto
Vice President, Product Marketing, MarqetaJuly 13

Every company is a bit different, so the structure of roles and responsibilities are specific to the situation (size of the marketing org, product portfolio mix, selling team structure, target markets), but here are a few areas of responsibility that I feel should be in on the charter of every industry marketing team.  

First, an industry marketing team should know their target industry buyers better than anyone. They should lead the development and evolution of the internal buyer personas, the internal positioning documents informed by those buyers’ urgent and pervasive needs, and the messaging hierarchies that are informed by the positioning and competitive landscape. They should be the subject matter experts that test that messaging to continuously improve its impact, and they should be the orchestrators and teachers of the professional community within a company (sales, product, marketing, customer success) that is serving their focus industry.  


Depending on the scale of your company and whether or not a center of excellence exists for a specific function, you'll want to grow coverage for 1.) buyer-relevant content marketing, 2.) primary research into an industry’s end consumers, 3.) internal and external influencer marketing programs, 4.) point of view thought leadership which is used to influence vertical analysts, media, and the industry’s professional community. There should also be 5.) industry-specific demand generation programs that invest in media buys, and 3rd party events with relevant industry trade associations and publications, and 6.) an industry-relevant customer marketing program that demonstrates the success (business outcomes) your solutions deliver to influence a successful customer’s peer group. 7.) a industry-focused PR team that you can partner with to amplify innovation announcements / launches.

Julie Vasquez
Product Marketing Leader, Procore TechnologiesJune 23

The most critical intersection of Industry Product Marketers and their Solution Marketing counterparts happens with product launches, re-launches, and major feature releases. This helps ensure that relevant use cases, positioning statements, and sales collateral are in place and that the teams coordinate sales enablement and campaign activities to get messaging to the right people. Solution Marketing teams own the messaging frameworks for each product and work closely with product teams as early as product discovery. Industry Product Marketers draw from a portfolio of products to build messaging and execute campaigns for the audiences they serve.

Zachary Reiss-Davis
Head of Industry/Audience Marketing; Director of Product Marketing, Procore TechnologiesJuly 14

When industry marketing is working successfully, this question becames harder to answer because it is a core component of the product marketing organization, and so it's harder to tease apart.

In general, pricing & packaging, win-loss analysis, competitive research, release marketing, product launches, and core assets such as pitch decks or demo videos tend to be the most industry (or audience) agnostic, while positioning and messaging needs to be divided out by industry, as does much of the partnership with demand generation organizations. 

The best industry marketers could change desks with the best centralized product marketers without major disruption, and the reverse is also true -- speaking as someone who has worn both hats; at Procore, I lead a team of industry marketers, but at Salesforce, I was very product focused. 

Sina Falaki
Head of Industry Marketing, Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) | Formerly ProcoreJune 16

Product Marketing and Industry Marketing should both own:

  • Deep category knowledge: ICPs, personas, and competitive
  • Pitch deck, demo script, demo video, customer stories/heros, campaign messaging
  • Voice of the market
    • Competitive insights
    • Win/loss
    • Inputs on Pricing & Packaging

Where it differentiates with Product Marketing is:

  • Category & Product Positioning & Messaging
  • Value story, strategy, training on message, pitch decks
  • Launches
  • Demos
  • Category advocacy

Industry Marketing should then own:

  • Segment & Solution Positioning & Messaging
  • Pitch deck, demo story, campaign messaging, training on messages.
  • Audience-specific & product launches tied to solutions
  • Audience advocacy
  • New segment and industry entry