There’s a lot more to developer marketing than meets the eye. Learn what it is, why it matters, and how to build a winning developer program for your organization.
Here’s what we'll cover:
- What Developer Marketing Means
- Why Developer Marketing Matters
- How to Build a Developer Program
- The Benefits of Developer Marketing
- What Developer Marketing Services are Available
- How to Get Started
What Developer Marketing Means
Developer marketing is a set of aligned initiatives to attract, engage, and encourage developers to build using your product or service.
Developers are a large and influential audience working across different industries, geographic regions, and professional fields. Developer Nation estimated a global developer population of 31.1 million in their Q1 2022 Pulse Report, with projected growth to 45 million by 2030.
The developer marketing process is a long-term, multi-faceted, and multi-disciplinary undertaking. Engagement strategies focus entirely on the developer and how your product or service solves their problem, makes their life easier, and empowers them to achieve more successful outcomes. Lasting relationships are key, with strong support, excellent communication, and meaningful engagement providing the foundation to achieve your goals.
Developer is a broad term. A developer can be any individual or organization that builds with technology, including software, applications, devices, and more.
This definition leaves us with an enormous group of people with a wide variety of roles, skills, and responsibilities. It includes students, hobbyists, and professionals across different industries, geographic regions, and professional fields.
How can we effectively categorize developers to understand who makes up our audience?
Start thinking about who uses your product or service and for what purpose. You might categorize developers by profession, coding language, or through any number of other criteria.
Full stack developers: Handle front-end and back-end development tasks to create complete web applications.
Front end developers: Design and implement user interfaces and visual elements of websites and applications.
Back end developers: Design, build, and maintain server-side logic, databases, and infrastructure of software applications.
Web developers: Design and build applications, websites, or web-based systems..
Mobile developers: Design and build applications for mobile devices.
API developers: Design, build, and maintain APIs to enable communication and data exchange between software systems.
Data scientists: Analyze and interpret complex data sets using statistical, mathematical, and programming techniques.
Data architects: Design and manage organizational data infrastructure, ensuring data accuracy, availability, and accessibility.
Security architects: Design and implement comprehensive security solutions to safeguard organizational information systems and data.
Product managers: Oversee the development and lifecycle of a software product, ensuring it aligns with business goals and user needs.
By coding language:
Understanding Developer Experience
DX = UX where U = Developer
Good DX is just good UX for a technical audience.
Developer experience (DX) refers to the overall experience that developers have when engaging with your product or service. It encompasses what a developer interacts with, how they interact with it, and where they go for support to access, evaluate, and use it.
Key components of developer experience include:
Documentation: Providing instructions, examples, and troubleshooting information.
Ease of Use: Developers should be able to set up, configure, and start using products and services quickly without facing unnecessary complexities.
Community Support: Including forums, online communities, and resources where developers can seek help, share knowledge, and collaborate.
Performance: Ensuring that developers can build and test their applications efficiently without unnecessary delays.
Integration: Seamless integration with other tools and services.
Feedback and Debugging: Developers need effective feedback mechanisms and debugging tools to identify and resolve issues in their code.
Consistency: A consistent and predictable development environment helps developers focus on writing code rather than dealing with unexpected behaviors or changes.
Updates and Support: Developers should feel confident that the tools they’re using are actively maintained and supported.
Why Developer Marketing Matters
As a software developer, I want to access docs and tools so that I can build a working thing.
You can have the best product or service in the world, but none of that will matter if developers don’t know about it, can’t access it, or have trouble using it.
Effective developer marketing delivers your value proposition in a way that resonates with your audience and encourages them to continue down the path toward adoption.
Developers as an Audience
Developers are notoriously averse to traditional marketing approaches. As mentioned, they’re only interested in understanding how your product or service works, evaluating whether it will make their lives easier, and determining whether it will empower them to achieve more successful outcomes. They don’t care about sales jargon and don’t want to be “wowed” or “sold” on something they can’t form their own opinion on.
Developer marketing is an educational process. Your approach should reach developers with precisely what they’re looking for: information about tangible features and technical specifications, a frictionless pathway to try things out, and clear instructions that help them build.
Developer Influence on Purchasing
66% of developers have at least some influence over their organization’s purchase of new technologies.
The influence developers have within their organizations is growing as the integration of technology becomes more critical than it ever has been before. Developers are often viewed as internal subject matter experts capable of helping the organization make smarter and better-informed business decisions.
For marketing purposes, we also consider a developer to be anyone who helps make selection or purchasing decisions. Your product or service will likely be evaluated by a group of people within an organization for a purchase decision. Learning about your audience and the different people you’re speaking to can go a long way.
The types of developers involved in a purchase decision will vary from business to business and even from project to project. It’s important to remember your product or service will likely be evaluated by a group of people, often from different backgrounds and levels of technical understanding. Providing your developer audience with the ability to champion your brand and easily demonstrate your value proposition is an important consideration.
Very few tech stack buying decisions are made without developer input, and getting it wrong with the developer can shut you out of the decision-making process altogether.