Build it and…they probably won’t come, at least not without developer focused marketing.
Last week at the Devtech Strategy summit I sat on a lively panel with specialists whose business it is to build and manage developer programs. The main topic was how to market and sell to developers. The conversation naturally went down the fairly well trodden path – ‘don’t try to sell to developers’; ‘developers hate marketing’; and all those other cliches.
My response in these situations is fairly consistent – ‘Do you know anyone that likes marketing, actually likes it?’ Outside of the annual ad fest around the Super Bowl most of us spend a lot of time actively trying to avoid marketing in all its forms. Developers are no different. I do believe that developers have a tendency toward being no-nonsense types who have a particularly well tuned ear for overt marketing so I acknowledge you do have to tune your developer marketing accordingly. But, in essence, the principles of marketing to developers are the same as marketing to other demographics. Don’t treat developers as nerds, they are no different from other users. They may be more sophisticated and more skeptical when you trying to sell something to them, but nowadays all buyers are sophisticated.
When we asked our developer panel what they wanted to see in marketing materials aimed at them the answer was very similar to other demographics – timely, relevant, informative content. So although ‘Buy One Get One Free’ probably won’t work other marketing tactics will.
If you’ve got a great piece of technology aimed at developers, you are not alone. The DevTech space is crowded, developers are falling over options for payments, connectivity, IoT platforms, cloud storage, databases and so on. Yours may be the latest and greatest but how will you cut through, how will developers even become aware your tech exists and recognize the benefits to them? Once they become your audience and your users, they will be your advocates and be part of your marketing voice but before that you’re going to need a solid marketing plan to raise awareness and prompt engagement.