Developer marketing can be quite challenging for a lot of B2B marketers. Not only do developers dislike being ‘marketed to’, but they can often be a tough audience to reach.
So how can you make a success of it?
Today I’m joined by Christie Fidura, a developer marketing expert and someone who’s been doing developer marketing for over a decade.
We talk all about developer marketing:
If you’re in developer marketing or want to become better at it, this isn’t an episode you want to miss.
Who they are: Christie Fidura – Director, Salesforce Developer Community
A bit of background: Christie has spent the last 5 years at Salesforce, where she’s progressed through regional developer marketing to heading up developer marketing globally. She is now responsible for creating and delivering the community experience. Christie calls herself the ‘Developer Community Designer’.
Where you can find Christie:
Developer marketing is a strategic approach to attracting, engaging and retaining developers through targeted marketing efforts. Unlike many other forms of B2B marketing, your aim isn’t to directly drive a sale. Instead, great developer marketing focuses on building awareness, adoption and advocacy with your audience through various strategies and tactics.
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
Developer marketing can be a challenging endeavour for many businesses, as it requires a deep understanding of developer audiences and the various tools and channels they use to communicate and share information. In order to effectively market your developer products or services, you must have a clear understanding of what motivates developers, what challenges they face and how you can help them succeed in their work.
“Traditionally and stereotypically, most people would say, “Oh, developers don’t like marketing, do they?” And I say, ‘Well, if it’s going to benefit them, they probably don’t mind.’ It’s just that they intrinsically are suspicious of marketing speak, and that’s not who they are.”
They can also be a harder audience to reach. Developers often prefer one or two channels and not the ones commonly used by B2B marketers such as LinkedIn.
“Once the developer finds a channel that works for them, they’re going to really embrace and utilise that. They like to dig deep, they like to get under the hood of everything and they like to trust who they’re listening to.”
Lastly, some B2B marketers find developer marketing a challenge because there isn’t a drive towards a financial transaction, which there is in almost every other area of B2B marketing.
Of course, in marketing, understanding your customer persona is important to the success you have. It’s especially true of the developer persona. In order to find out more about your audience, Christie suggests a three stage approach. By going through these three steps you’ll get a more rounded understanding of your target audience, where they hang out and what they’re interested in.
Jump into Google Analytics and start to look at the page views to see what content is working best and get an overall feel for the performance of the site. You can see stats like time on page, returning visits and, if they’ve been set up, conversions. This information can give you a really good idea about what’s working, or not, and what you need to focus on.
The next step is to understand more about the current state of the pipeline. Are developers becoming customers? How long are they remaining as customers? What do the win / loss interviews say about why people became customers or, more importantly, didn’t?
This step gives you a solid idea about whether the solution you’re marketing is resonating with developers. And from there you can dig further into whether or not it’s the product itself, the messaging, or a lack of awareness of your solution in the first place.
Start with your internal stakeholders because, as Christie describes, there could be a lacking of understanding internally:
“The sales team will have one view of that particular group of people. The customer success or customer service team will have another completely different view. Maybe the chief product officer or the chief information officer or your CTO, will have a completely different view as well.”
Christie suggests you ask these types of questions:
“What do you think our developers want? Why do you think they want that? What have they told you that they’re not interested in and yet we’re still doing that? What would you change if you had all the budget in the world? Ask really probing or even big sky questions to try and find out as much as you can about those particular people.”
Take all of that information and then start to speak to your target audience. That could be by starting with developers in your own company, but ideally those that are in your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Once you’ve understood more about your audience and where they hang out, one of the more challenging aspects of developer marketing is content creation. This isn’t just what it should be, but also who should produce it.
And Christie suggests using influencers:
“It depends on your audience, but typically developers do listen to influencers in their space. If you have an influencer relationship, fantastic. If not, as a person who is marketing to developers, you need to understand who those developers are listening to, because that person is setting the tone for that particular space.”
“So if you have somebody who is disrupting your industry and you know that a lot of your developers are listening to that particular audience or that particular influencer, what does that mean for your business? If you can build a stable of influencers, it’s one of my favourite things to do because I think that those individuals mean a lot to other people. They can bring you a lot of credence, a lot of weight to your brand, to your organisation, to your technology. But be sure not to use them in a very marketing way.”
Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter to hear about our latest podcasts, blogs, career advice & jobs.