Marketing to developers is tricky - you need to understand their language (jargon), preferences, and motivations. It's no easy feat!
So when I heard that Evan's Data was organizing the first ever Developer Marketing Summit, I was like, "Woohoo! A chance to learn about developer marketing practices and mingle with marketers who are facing the exact same challenges as me!"
The Developer Marketing Summit was September 19-20 at the Crowne Plaza in Burlingame, CA (just outside San Francisco).
The speaker line-up included: Catherine Solazzo at IBM, Gretchen O'Hara at Microsoft, Desiree Motamedi at Facebook, Gina Poole at Amazon, and many, many more. Sessions covered topics like 10 ways to do developer marketing right, marketing to game developers, how to evolve your developer ecosystem, and reaching developers through advertising.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the conference. (And sorry for the bad slide pictures!)
1. Go where the developers are
You know the phrase "If you build it, they will come"? Well, unfortunately for us, that does not apply to developers.
We need to actively seek developers out - on the channels they frequent most - to get them to notice our software, platforms, tools, company, etc.
Where do developers hang out? Events and... well, online.
Events: Conferences, Tradeshows, and Hackathons
Developers love events. In fact in Evan's Data's Developer Marketing 2017 research, just over 30% of developers said they attend 3-5 conferences or trade shows each year. And are also more inclined to adopt a technology they already know AND some they don't know just from attending.
During the Developer Marketing Best Practices Panel, all three panelists (Suzanne Nguyen from Samsung, Uzair Siddiqui from Verizon, Stephen Donnelly from Accenture) all said events were their favorite way to engage with developers.
They said interacting with developers face-to-face, whether that be at lunch 'n' learns, hackathons, conferences, or workshops, allows them to see how developers use their solutions.
Their favorite events? The Samsung Developer Conference, Geeks Who Speak (London), and small (30-40 people) workshops.
Online: Websites, Social Media, and Paid Advertising
Developers are digital creatures, spending a majority of their time online.
Where on the web do they hang out? Stack Overflow, Hackernews, DZone, and social media sites.
Evan’s Data’s research states that developers believe tech platforms (like DZone) and vendor websites are the most credible sources of information.
Their research also says that devs use social media sites to learn more about new technologies, research companies, and find jobs.
And that they visit these social channels pretty frequently, with almost 40% saying they visit several times a week.
Another way to be where the developer are: paid advertising.
And I don't mean on tech websites. I mean Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and social media ads.
Search engines are the first place developers go when they are looking for answers, so appearing at the top of the search results with paid ads can be an effective way to get noticed. Just about 40% of developers said they clicked on several sponsored posts several times a week when searching online.
This also means that SEO should absolutely be a part of your marketing plan. Developers are not going to scroll through dozens of pages to find the right solution.
Getting found on page one of the SERPs organically and with a highly targeted paid ad can really improve your online marketing success.
Takeaway: Put yourself directly in front of developers - in the places where they hang out the most!
2. Developers are people too!
It's really easy to forget that developers are just like you and me: consumers of products.
I feel we often think of them as programmers who sit in dark caves, hate all forms of advertising and marketing, and dislike interacting with people. But this is so far from the truth!
Developers enjoy talking to other people, using social media, and collaborating on projects.
And they also enjoy giving back!
For younger developers, money and security are not their primary motivating factors. They are more motivated by giving back to charity. And would be more willing to donate their time than older developers.
Takeaway: Know your audience! Understand their motivations, preferences, and likes so you can create compelling messaging.
3. Be creative! Have fun!
Marketing is supposed to be fun, right? Well, why is it when we start marketing to developers, our messaging and creatives get boring and generic.
While developers don't like traditional marketing tactics, they still appreciate fun and creativity.
Knowing your target audience (their likes, motivations, etc.) will help you create clever and compelling marketing copy.
IBM-er Catherine Solazzo shared this email sent to get developers interested in their Blockchain Platform. She pointed out that the email is not pushy, uses jargon that developers understand, and shares technical resources to help them get started.
Another example is this email DZone sent regarding Microservices.
The email shares resources to help developers learn and build microservice architectures, using a marathon theme to take them from beginner to expert.
Email isn't the only place to let your creativity run free. Inject some fun into your landing pages, banner ads, blogs, social media posts, and eBooks.
Takeaway: Let your creativity fly!
The Developer Marketing Summit was a great conference - lots of useful information and actionable tips for running marketing campaigns to developers. We're already looking forward to next year's event!
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