After 12 years in developer marketing, we’ve heard a few questions again and again from our clients. “We have a great product, but how do we engage with the developer community? And once we have a  go-to-market plan, how should we measure the results?”

Essentially, what is the roadmap to building a successful developer marketing program? We wanted to provide a wider audience with a framework for building their own roadmap, and last week’s Developer Marketing Summit in San Francisco was the perfect place to do it.

Before we begin, it’s important to acknowledge that building a roadmap isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every organization has a different set of circumstances, opportunities, constraints, and other factors that influence developer marketing program design. 

That being said, our 12 years’ experience has shown us that all successful programs follow a similar framework. This framework has been used to drive strategy, positioning, and product growth for the world’s leading tech companies across a variety of industries. Whether you’re launching a product, a platform, or opening up an entire ecosystem to developers, the core principles remain the same.

We’re excited to introduce the Developer Marketing Flywheel, which is the culmination of years of work building successful developer marketing programs.

What is the Developer Marketing Flywheel?

The Developer Marketing Flywheel is a guide to what needs to get done, when to do it, and how to measure the results. To be clear, this is not a developer journey. It’s a roadmap for developer marketing practitioners on how to build successful programs.

Our theory is that developer marketing breaks down into three main activities:

  • Discovery: This is where you build your strategy and figure out the core principles of product market fit.
  • Go-to-Market: This is the highly tactical phase where you’re focused on establishing a core of users, customers, and community members.
  • Growth: Once you’ve established yourself in the market, this phase is all about creating a best-in-class developer experience.

Of course, nothing good lasts forever. Market conditions change, and you’ll have to start back at the first phase. If done well, you’ll build momentum with each spin of the wheel and the process will become easier, and more effective, over time.

Now that you’ve taken a quick tour of the Developer Marketing Flywheel, it’s time to go deeper. Next we’ll explore each of the nine phases and explain how to measure success at each step.