If developers use your product, you probably spend a lot of your time wondering how to do dev marketing.
If you want to succeed in marketing to developers, you first have to put your own motives aside for a second.
You have to forget about the leads you need to generate, meetings you need to book or the quarterly targets you need to hit.
Everyone on this green Earth agrees that honesty and accuracy are good traits.
Developers are different - they demand honesty and accuracy.
Maybe it's because the consequences of inaccuracy are so costly to developers. A data breach hitting the front page of the New York Times is always a genuine possibility.
Sometimes, Marketing & Development cultures clash
Let's get the difficult part out the way. The cultural norms of development and marketing are incompatible.
Sometimes honesty and accuracy are at odds with our objectives in marketing and sales.
In my experience, seizing every opportunity for promotion, glossing over weaknesses and making vague claims are accepted practices in many marketing and sales teams.
Is it surprising that developers are "allergic to anything that remotely feels, tastes, or smells like marketing"?
But this allergy doesn't mean developers dislike the profession of marketing or the professionals. According to Stephanie Morillo they "dislike gimmicks, irrelevant messaging, and things that don't address their problems or needs."
Dev Marketing that works
Don't be vague
Developers probably don't care about your new feature.
Developers probably don't care if you're 'revolutionising' APIs or web hosting.
Developers do care about the problem staring them in the face right now.
So dig into the problems they've got right now!
Adam DuVander gave some concrete examples during a recent interview.
Here's a poor title for an article: "How to send a text message with our API."
Don't do this. It's too vague to be a use case and inward-focused.
Instead, here's a better title: "How to automate appointment reminders for your customers."
It's specific and is a use case.
Know your audience. Developers is a broad group. So set your focus on their problems and dig in.
Education, education, education!
In 2001, British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed his government's top priority "was, is and always will be education, education, education".
Tony Blair is a polarising figure in British politics, but you could do worse than borrowing this slogan to set your developer marketing priorities.
Once again, referencing Adam Duvander, reaching more developers "requires more education and less promotion. Your 'marketing' should not feel like marketing."
Try before they buy
I bought a racing bike recently. The bike shop was generous enough and trusting enough to let me ride it around the block before pulling out a credit card.
If I had to make a massive decision before even getting a feel for the bike, I'm not sure I would have bought it.
As Glenn Stovall explains, Developers "want to know what they are getting themselves into and want to find out with as little friction as possible".
Make it easy for developers to try as soon as possible, and you'll have a large head up on the competition.
- Adam DuVander, Developer Marketing Does Not Exist (Podcast) and book, The Developer Content Mind Trick for Signature Content, Editorial Strategy for Technical SaaS
- Stephanie Morillo, Do software developers hate marketing?
- Anna Heim, Why generic marketing don't work on software developers
- Glenn Stovall, Marketing To Developers
- Jeff Nikoloff, RE: Engineering Culture
- Ashley Smith, Marketing to Developers: Core Values and Tactical Tips from GitLab's Former CMO
- Chelsea Bosworth, How to capture a developers attention
- Sam Richard, I Asked 50+ Developers How They Buy Software. Here's What I Learned.
- Michael Brito The best practices for Marketing to Software Developers
- Nick Ciubotariu, Hacking corporate jargon: the "engineering culture" and what that really means
- The build or buy debate in software engineering
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