Developers don’t hate marketing

A few weeks ago I attended Evans Data Developer Marketing Summit. During a panel one person said:

“Developers hate marketing”

I don’t agree with that.

I think developers don’t like bad marketing.

People in general don’t like bad marketing so I don’t think developers are any special here.

When someone says “developers hate marketing”, I always associate this with an old car salesperson:

old-car-salesmen
Source: https://carsalesprofessional.com/why-are-car-salesmen-so-annoying/

No one would disagree that this is bad marketing (or sales), most of us probably experienced that. These folks usually use shady tactics and push features, not solutions.

Most will agree that (most) organizations today don’t do this.

At Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in March 2019, Willie Tejada, IBM Chief Developer Advocate said this:

On marketing to developers:

It’s not true that developers don’t want to be marketed to, they are simply very very educated “consumers”.

Here is an example of buying an espresso machine (such as Nespresso)
People will spend a disproportional amount of time learning about the machine and how it works. When they go to the store to buy it, if the sales person knows less than the buyer the buyer will be frustrated. We don’t like when we go to buy something and we know more about the product than the person selling it to us.

There are many great books on marketing out there. A great book I recently read is This is Marketing by Seth Godin. Here is how the book defines marketing:

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.

and this one:

Marketers offer solutions, opportunities for humans to solve their problems and move forward.

There is nothing inherently bad about marketing to developers. Companies simply need to be helping solve developer’s problems. If we do this, then we won’t need to say that developers hate marketing (hopefully).

Our goal should always be to share outcomes and results, not features. My all time favorite resource is Adam DuVander’s Share Knowledge, Not Features.

I think here is one good example of that (there are thousands more of course):

webflow-devmarketing1
Source: http://webflow.com

Webflow is a No Code platform to build websites. Above is their home page. Webflow is not telling people that they have a visual HTML editor – that’s a feature. They are telling people what problems they can solve, what is the outcome – build a better website, faster, without coding.

Whether you call it developer marketing or something else – let’s help developers solve their problems, show them solutions, outcomes and share knowledge 🙌

Future Developer Summit in 10 pictures

On September 24-25 I attended the Future Developer Summit in Menlo Park, CA. It’s an event where about 60+ leaders discuss the future of developer marketing and developer relations. Here are pictures from the event. I created collages so you will see more than 10 pictures 😉

futuredevsummit-willie
Willie Tejada from IBM shared that top-bottom approach is being replaced with bottom-up approach where management grants permission and developers make decisions

Continue reading “Future Developer Summit in 10 pictures”

Developer Marketing Summit in 10 pictures

This week I attended Data Evans Developer Marketing Summit. I was there for just half a day but still attended very interesting sessions and snapped some pictures that I want to share. I will share notes from the summit probably next week.

devmarketingsummit-keynote
Janel Garvin opening keynote – showing the latest developer trends from Evans Data surveys

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Developer Relations: content series

Content (articles, tutorials, videos) is one of the best ways to scale your Developer Relations program. Once content is published it can be consumed by developers any time, anywhere in the world. You are no longer limited to just the local developers coming to a hands-on workshop (of course hands-on workshops have other benefits, but that’s for another blog post). Here are some of the recent blog posts I published that cover content creating and publishing.

Applying the Fogg Behavior Model to Developer Relations

I found about the Fogg Behavior Model from #saashacker newsletter. I found this model super interesting and right away thought if it can be applied to Developer Relations.

Fogg Behavior Model Graphic 2019

First, what is the Fogg Behavior Model? You can find a detailed explanation on https://www.behaviormodel.org/. The model has three main components: Motivation, Ability and Prompts.

The model says that to influence someone to do something, you have just two levers:

  • Motivation – how much someone wants to do something
  • Ability – how easy it is to do the thing

The third component

  • Prompts – is a call to action, trigger or cue for a behavior to happen

So, could this model be applied to developers? Let’s look at each component and see how it can be applied to Developer Relations.

Motivation

So what can motivate developers? Here is a list of motivations:

  • Solving a (challenging) problem (at work or a personal project)
  • Giving back to community. For example, contributing to an open source project
  • Career growth, personal growth, learning

Ability

Ability is how easy it is to do something. I think ability has a strong connection to Developer Relations. We (Developer Advocates) always strive to make things easier for developers. A big part of this is making our documentation, tutorials, videos, guides and everything else easy to follow and complete.

In June at DevRelCon in San Francisco, Steve Pousty gave an excellent talk called The Kick Ass Curve for developer relations. I recommend you watch the talk, one of the themes from Steve’s talk was that we need to make things easier for developers so they can become successful, and fast.

Prompts

A prompt is a call to action, trigger or cue for a behavior to happen. In the context of Developer Relations, a call to action can be a hands-on workshop that a developer can attend, or an online event. It could also be a friend recommending the technology. It can also be an interesting and easy to follow step by step tutorial that you saw in an email newsletter, an interesting blog post, article or an interesting tweet. All these prompts can lead to: “hey, I want to try this”.

Summary

Looking at the Fogg Behavior Model, we want to stay above the green Action line. Staying above the line means a developer is motivated, and it is easy for her to complete something and the prompted has worked. I believe most developers are very motivated. Where we can make a bigger difference is in the Ability.  To make developers successful, we need to strive to make things easier such as produce high quality documentation.

There are probably other ways to apply this to Developer Relations (or I might be complete off, hey, who knows). Would love to know what you think, please leave any feedback in comments.

If you want to learn more about the Fogg Behavior Model, you can pre-order BJ’s forthcoming book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything. For the first time ever, BJ explains the Behavior Model in depth for a global audience. tinyhabits.com/book.

Share outcomes and results, not features

I recently subscribed to #saashackers daily newsletter. Every morning you get a short SaaS growth case study in your inbox. It’s a quick 3-4 minute read that I recommend you try.

Today’s email talked about Mailchimp and how they got to $400 million in revenue from just 550 employees.

What caught my eye was this image and the text that followed:

mailchimp-saashacker
Source: #saashacker newsletter

text after the picture:

They are selling an outcome, not features.

They are selling the thing people actually want, not their software.

Whether you are a direct to consumer brand with 50,000 customers or a mommy blogger with 1,000 subscribers, you want:

  • To build relationships with your customers
  • To increase sign up (by 250%)

You don’t (necessarily) want:

  • Email templates
  • CMS integrations

Source: https://saashacker.co

And this has a very close connection to Developer Relations (or Developer Marketing).

We should be sharing outcomes and results, not features. We should be showing people how to solve problems, not our software.

I’m sure most of you know this but I think it’s worth mentioning. I personally tend to forget about this (sometimes) and also it’s much easier to talk about features than benefits.

Most of you probably also said: “wait.. this is not new at all” 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♂️

You are absolutely correct 🤩

Adam DuVander has created and shared this wonderful page: Share Knowledge, Not Features: The Secret of Marketing to Developers is to Not Use Marketing. It’s Developer Relations classic and my favorite Developer Relations resource. I highly recommend you read and bookmark this page. Adam explains that we should be sharing knowledge, not features.

So, let’s try to share outcomes, results, problem solving and knowledge, not features✌️

SF DevRel meetup at MuleSoft – what I learned and notes

On July 29, 2019 I attended the SF DevRel meetup at MuleSoft. The meetup was held at the Salesforce Tower. Jordan Schuetz and Sabrina Marechal from MuleSoft gave an overview of MuleSoft’s Developer Relations program. The following are my notes and what I learned. Based on what I learned, MuleSoft has an excellent Developer Advocacy team and program 👏.

Note: I highlighted (bold) their best approaches, in my opinion.

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Interesting content ideas you may consider

Content is usually one of the core components of most Developer Relations programs. Technical content such as tutorials, how-to’s, articles is a great way to scale your program. Previously I shared how one piece of content can help you create more content and also where to publish content. In this blog post I will share interesting content ideas that you may consider beyond the standard tutorial or a how-to.

You will learn about the following content ideas:

  • Notes or summary from a conference, meetup
  • Event in 10 pictures
  • Links to series of articles
  • Links to previous month video recordings

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Code, Content and Community

IBM Developer’s philosophy to working with developers is: Code, Content and Community.

Earlier this year I did a short presentation on this topic and how we work with developers at SFHTML 5 meetup in San Francisco. You can watch the 5-minute video below.

 

Where to publish content?

There are plenty of web sites where you can publish content. But, what’s the best place? Well, I’m not a fan of “best” anything. Your “best” is up to you, what works for you, based on your requirements and will be different for everyone. In this blog post I will share my recommendations where to publish content and you can use them to decide (or not) where to publish.

I wanted to publish this article for some time and also because of recent controversy with Medium. You can read about it here and here.

There are many web sites where you can publish content. This is just a short list of web sites:

  • Medium (plus various Medium publications)
  • Devada (formerly Dzone)
  • Dev.to
  • LinkedIn (Publishing platform)
  • InfoQ
  • Personal blog
  • Work blog
  • and many others…

Continue reading “Where to publish content?”