9 Tips for Influencing Application Development

Oct 08, 2015

Business-to-developer (B2D) marketing is emerging as a priority for many B2B marketers. Developers are a vital audience, because they are the practical builders who design, develop, and maintain business-critical applications and services. And, the mobile enterprise business application market is expected to reach $61 billion by 2018.

How can marketers reach developers, and engage, support and speak to them in a way that doesn't drive them running in the other direction?

Developers tend to disregard anything that looks like marketing and distrust corporations; so overt marketing may hurt the developer relationship. Developers can be your loudest critic or your strongest advocate. They are:

  • Influential in shaping, and often making significant budget decisions
  • Always learning, exploring, and creating
  • Ambitious about their skill development and proud of their knowledge

The Metia Developer Study 2015 surveyed 100 developers in a variety of roles and businesses. This report explores the developer profile, developer program must-haves, and best practices in developer relations.

Don't have time to read the full-report? That's okay, here are 9 tips for brands wishing to engage with developers:

  1. Developers are an extremely practical, straightforward, and analytical group. They want to know how and why something works.
  2. A vendor's tools--and supporting services--must be made easily available online, and via a self-service model. Invest in technical services and infrastructure, and focus resources on the aspects of your service that a developer values.
  3. Limit marketing chatter so the technology can speak for itself. Demonstrate your commitment to developers with a developer focused website on a developer sub-domain  like http://developer.brandname.com.
  4. Provide quality technical documentation that is actionable, useful, and contextually correct. Offer free access and support, and host forums/Q&A/knowledgebase on OpenStack, Disqus, or a similar platform. White papers, code breakdowns, and user/install guides should be available online and search-optimized.
  5. The largest group of developers is in their thirties and forties, though demographics are indeed shifting. Only 12% of those surveyed were women. This may present an opportunity to brands that want to target women developers, as they are often overlooked.
  6. Developers prefer self-help and self-solve, and to discuss technology in open forums. YouTube and Stack Overflow are used daily or weekly because they facilitate learning and are easy to search.
  7. Developer communities and programs must be accessible outside of corporate firewalls and memberships. Services must be available outside of business hours and accessible on personal devices via private connections.
  8. More than two-thirds of the surveyed developers said that they proactively research tools and technologies when starting a new project. Be searchable and accessible at this vital moment.
  9. Word-of-mouth is the top influencer with 81 percent saying that a recommendation was the main reason for researching a technology, and ‘peers using it' came in second with 64%. Notably, 61 percent research new technologies because a vendor has opened up access to its technology, igniting their curiosity.

Spread the word. Developers aren't just building, they are also buying and customizing applications. Companies in multiple sectors have realized the tremendous revenue value to be gained by engaging developers to create innovative applications.