Bridging the gap between corporate marketing and product marketing


B2B companies experience an ongoing tension between corporate marketing and product marketing - because their goals aren’t completely aligned.

For corporate marketing, the brand is built upon a big idea that aims to capture the promise of the organization at a macro level. In technology and tech-enabled markets, this big idea can be pretty grand (think IBM’s Smarter Planet). For the organization as a whole, this big idea helps to bring different pieces of the company together behind a common purpose and perspective. 

At the same time, product marketing groups are predominantly focused on more immediate concerns: generating leads and creating sales opportunities for specific pieces of the business. They need tangible go-to-market communications that leverage the big idea but do so in a manner that addresses the needs and concerns of their target audiences - and this simply may not exist within the current vocabulary of the corporate brand. 

Hey Corporate Marketing: It’s up to you keep the Brand relevant and real on the front lines.

The solution is a brand messaging framework, a tool that gives distributed marketing teams the flexibility to translate the corporate brand to the needs in their corners of the market - while enabling them to maintain voice and tone that remains consistent with peer divisions across the organization. 

Steps to creating a messaging framework:

  • Build a map, product group by product group.

  • Identify the target audiences for each, highlighting needs, expectations, etc.

  • Establish a core set of themes that fit with the corporate brand while also highlighting key differentiators for each product group.

  • Build consensus in a collaborative work session between corporate marketing and each product team.

  • Draft a set of sample messages and message guidelines to address specific go to market needs (for brochure/email headlines, banner ads, thought leadership themes, etc.)

  • Review/revisit as market needs and/or corporate messaging evolves.

  • Voila!

At the end of the day, the corporate brand needs to be a true catalyst for sales, marketing and product teams - otherwise it’s just getting in the way. When corporate brands get in the way, short-term sales/marketing needs will win out every time. A messaging framework has the power to transform your corporate brand from albatross into an asset.

(photo: Suad Kamardeen, Unsplash)

Jonathan Paisner