The lines between developer relations and developer marketing are blurrier than ever. Increasing investment in developer programs means both disciplines continue to evolve alongside each other, so from a developer marketing perspective, it’s crucial to understand the growing influence of the DevRel community.
With Hoopy’s DevRelCon returning to an in-person format for the first time since the pandemic, we took the opportunity to gather our team in London to attend the 2023 edition of the longstanding industry showcase.
After two days of sessions, informal conversations, and one very late night out on the town, here’s what we took away from our time at DevRelCon London.
The DevRel community is growing
The community-driven event put learning and inclusivity at the heart of everything and was well attended. Over 200 DevRel practitioners from around the world came together to share insights, perspectives, and best practices. For what has always been a tight-knit community, it was encouraging to see so many new faces and fresh ideas. DevRel has long been an essential but fringe part of technology ecosystems. As we turn the corner into 2024, the profession is starting to tip into the mainstream with increased attention from companies large and small.
Metrics and ROI are top of mind
Following similar trends across the developer landscape, several sessions at the conference focused on measuring the value and impact of developer relations. Industry veterans Kevin Lewis and John Booth ran a joint session on better understanding program ROI and how to apply it to DevRel. Catchy Managing Partner Gary Gonzalez followed that later in the day with a session exploring key metrics for both DevRel and developer marketing. It was clear throughout the event that these were hot topics that speak to the increased scrutiny that developer programs are seeing across the industry.
Developers influence purchasing
Jon Gottfried from Major League Hacking gave an insightful talk on developer influence, backed up by data pulled from tens of thousands of developer participants. Here’s what the data showed:
- Community events predict tech trends: Jon cited the decline of Angular vs. React, something they first noticed in community-led hacks, as evidence.
- Dev tools are sticky once they’re in the tool belt: Cloud providers were the evidence. If a developer starts using AWS (or Azure, Google, etc.) early, they will likely still use the same provider years later.
- Developers influence purchasing decisions: An easy win for the developer marketers in the room. 40% of developer participants have introduced a tool or product to their company that they first used at a Major League Hacking event.
- (Good) Swag works: Treat your brand like a ‘real’ brand. Produce great swag that developers want, and the views and impressions it will receive in the wild will mean it pays for itself just as well as any marketing campaign.
The return of in-person events
Matthew Revell and the DevRelCon team outdid themselves with a full-scale event reflective of the growing DevRel community. Here are a few of our highlights from the experience:
- In-person connections: Meeting DevRel practitioners and several of our clients face-to-face added a personal touch to the event and reinforced the importance of in-person interactions in a digital world.
- Conversations that count: Booth interactions across the event were nothing short of amazing. Between learning best practices, discussing new business opportunities, and meeting prospective job applicants, the event was a hub of meaningful conversations that opened doors to exciting possibilities.
- Swag that sparked conversation: Marketing swag is unique to in-person events and serves as an excellent icebreaker for new conversations. It’s a testament to the power that creative branding has in making memorable impressions.
For more information on DevRelCon, and to view sessions on demand, you can visit the website here.
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