Developer Marketing in the Era of Community Data

Gary Gonzalez

Managing Partner

Driven by the big data boom of the 2010s, we’re completing what has been a decade-long paradigm shift as the technology market moves from a find me, sell me model to a know me, help me model. With audience intelligence now more accessible than ever before, this “customer-centric, data-driven” approach has become the de facto template for product led growth across the industry. 

For segments like consumer electronics or entertainment (where the market size is in the billions) this data is relatively easy to come by. The developer segment however, poses several challenges that make it difficult for organizations to truly start from an audience-first perspective:

  • This is a relatively niche market segment, with the total estimated number of global developers to be somewhere around 25 - 30 million. 
  • Developer is an incredibly broad term that doesn’t account for the dramatic differences between roles. For instance, there is a dramatic difference between a community of full-stack developers and one consisting of DevOps engineers. 
  • Developers are notoriously hard to track and gather data on, as they are more conscious of their online footprint. Their usage of AdBlock and VPNs is among the highest rates of any online users. 
  • Conducting primary research with developers is cost-prohibitive. For reference, most general consumer studies require compensation between $5-15 dollars per respondent for their time. For developers, you’re talking about a segment where the average freelance rate is between $80-130 per hour. 

All this adds up to make the advent of community data platforms like Orbit incredibly exciting to anyone working on product, marketing, or community in the developer space. For the first time, we have the ability to collect data at scale that is specifically focused on our unique community of customers. We’re no longer limited to trying to extrapolate insights from general developer panels or broad reports like the Stack Overflow developer survey. 

For us at Catchy, working with the Orbit platform has opened up several new ways to let data inform the core pillars of our strategy work with clients:

1. Messaging and Positioning:

By using the Activity Explorer tool, we’ve been able to get a deeper level of insight into the behavior, preferences, and interests of our client’s developer population. For a given client community, we can dig into which channels of the forum are most popular, which events have the most RSVPs, which GitHub repos are seeing the most activity, and more. This information is then used to inform the messaging and positioning, helping to create more effective campaigns that resonate with their developer population.

2. Influencer Identification and Engagement:

Influencer identification in the past has been a deeply intensive process involving the manual scrapping of hundreds (or thousands) of social profiles to vet content and follower counts. The Love Score that Orbit provides is an easy way to identify potential influencers across platforms within a developer community to start building relationships with them. This is a data-driven way to find the developers that are most active within the community and have a significant following, as well as those who are the most knowledgeable about your products and services.

3. Content Strategy:

By using the keyword monitoring tool to stay on top of trends within your developer community (such as new technologies or features that are gaining popularity), you can start mapping our editorial calendars and content accordingly. For example, what are developers saying about “Kubernetes” across Twitter and Reddit, and how might we tweak our messaging accordingly? Basing these decisions on what the community is talking about and actually wants to hear, helps increase the efficiency and effectiveness of content that goes out the door. 

As with most good platforms, the options for how you can use Orbit are limitless. For the Catchy team, we have more visibility than ever before into what our client’s customers care about and how we can best meet them in the market. Better data informs better decision-making.

For more on community-led growth, check out our partners over at Orbit.

Need help collecting actionable audience intelligence? Get in touch with us!