Why do Developer Programs matter?
The need to prioritize Developer Programs in your marketing plan.
Developers are a highly valuable audience. The rapid proliferation of technology in modern society means their skills have never been more in demand. As set out by Slash Data in their State of the Developer Nation survey, “Software skills are generally scarce and good developers are highly coveted”. Accelerating competition, targeting a limited developer population, means that building engagement and advocacy is critical to the adoption of tools and platforms. Put simply, if your competitors are building or operating a developer program and you aren’t, then your business faces a significant, potentially critical, adoption challenge.
No area of commerce is unaffected by the influence of software and technology and there are significant rewards to be secured across the industry. But the disruptive power of technology means that for every platform or technology that gains traction, there are many that fail. While your own engineers build leading-edge solutions, technical marketers need to build engagement strategies that ensure this limited audience of developers rush to your platform rather than your competitors’. As we’ll see, addressing the diverse needs that influence key decision makers is no easy task.
We firmly believe that winning the hearts and minds of developers is a journey. A long and loyal developer relationship is far more rewarding than a quick transaction. But maintaining that relationship takes insight, ideas and continued energy – be prepared to have to convince your advocates over and over again. You don’t have to have the best technology – strong support, great communications and first-class engagement can be a winning formula.
What is a Developer?
Trust us, this is not a rhetorical question.
Before we dive deeper into the world of developer programs, we should ask a fundamental question: what is a developer? You possibly have an image in your mind already, but we think about “developers” in quite broad terms. A developer can be a programmer or technical engineer of any kind, but we think of a developer as anyone involved in the selection of tools and products used to create software or devices. Indeed, we speak of developers as both individuals and organizations.
Think, for a moment, about the range of people who could influence the selection of technology within a business – large or small. Obviously, a coder or designer has a say – whether they’re working in a huge corporation or a student starting out in their mom’s garage. What about sysadmins, finance managers or the sales force?
Because the organizations, individuals and decision-making processes involved in creating software and devices are diverse, our definition of “a developer” must also be diverse. When thinking about your developer relations strategy – or any strategy, for that matter – you’ll need to identify your audience. They’ll vary by business and even by product or project, but here are a few people to consider: