"Marketing to developers is like trying to sell a hammer to a carpenter. You don't need to convince them that they need the tool, you just need to show them how it will make their job easier."
I came from a traditional marketing background when working in developer relations for some of my client engagements. I worked in deep tech software companies' product marketing, demand generation, and field marketing, and I was accustomed to thinking about leads, conversion rates, and other traditional marketing metrics.
However, I quickly realized that marketing to developers is an entirely different animal. Developer marketing is more akin to brand marketing or influence marketing. The goal is not necessarily to generate leads but to build awareness. When marketing to developers, you must create a brand that resonates with their specific workflows and use cases.
Here are ten lessons I've learned about marketing to developers:
1. It's All About the Community
The first and most important lesson I've learned is that it's all about the community. To be successful in developer marketing, you need to understand the community and what motivates them. The community will be your biggest asset in marketing to developers, and they are the ones who will evangelize your product and build awareness. You will be successful if you can tap into their networks and get them talking about your product.
2. Content is King
Content is king when it comes to marketing to developers. You need to create content that is useful to them and answers their questions. Not some generic content but content that piques their ever-curious minds. Something that would not just enjoy reading but they'd happily recommend and share with their peers. The best way to achieve this is to collaborate with your community. Let them help you shape the content. This way, you can deliver the most relevant and valuable content. Listen intently to their qualms. Is there a common theme? Create something that addresses a real problem.
3. Focus on the Long Term
Marketing to developers is a long-term game. It's not about generating leads or getting conversions in the short term. It's about building awareness and relationships over time. The goal is to get developers talking about your product and using it in their workflows. These things take time, so you must be patient and focus on the long-term goal.
4. Be Helpful
Be helpful! Developers are always looking for solutions to their problems. If you can be the one to provide them with a practical solution, they will remember you and come to you when they have further questions. Offering helpful solutions doesn't always mean creating super in-depth and time-consuming technical whitepapers. Sometimes it's as simple as providing your expertise in a forum or on social media. Or writing a blog post that addresses a specific problem they are struggling with. Be helpful, and you will be successful.
5. Be Genuine
Be genuine in your interactions with developers. Developers are smart people. They can spot a phony from a mile away, so don't try to fake it. Be honest, be transparent, and be authentic. They will appreciate it and will be more likely to engage with you.
6. Build Relationships
Building relationships is key to success in developer marketing. You need to build relationships with developers and influencers in the community. These relationships will be the foundation of your success. You will succeed if you get the right people talking about your product.
7. Offer Value
Offer value to developers, and they will reciprocate. If you can provide them with value, they will be more likely to engage with you. Offer them something of value, such as a free trial, a discount, or access to exclusive content. Whatever you do, make sure it is something that they will appreciate.
8. Respect Their Time
Respect developers' time and they will respect yours.
Avoid spamming them with irrelevant content or messages. They are busy people, and their time is valuable.
If you want to build a relationship with them, show them that you respect their time.
9. Be Patient
Be patient. Marketing to developers is a long-term game; building relationships and generating awareness takes time. Don't expect results overnight. Be patient and focus on the long-term goal.
10. Have Fun!
Last but not least, have fun! Marketing to developers can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. You will be successful if you focus on building relationships and providing value.
Marketing to developers is an entirely different animal, and it requires a different mindset and a different set of skills. If you can master these skills, you will be successful in marketing to developers.