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Developer Relations Developer Marketing Campaigns – CTAs for the DevOps Audience

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Chris Riley

September 6, 2022

When it comes to calls-to-action (CTAs) for developer marketing campaigns, teams normally focus on the call to the DevOps audience instead of the action they want those DevOps practitioners to take. That’s not terribly surprising, because the call is where the budget is spent. It’s also the reason why marketing is infamous for getting people in the door with attractive CTAs, but not convincing them to stay. The solution is to provide content that truly calls your target audience to action. That should be your developer marketing team’s primary focus. As we’ll explain, technical content that creates good developer relations is what really calls practitioners to action.

The Problem with Traditional Developer Marketing Campaigns:

Demand generation teams sometimes rely on ads and CTAs, without much consideration for what happens after someone clicks on them. However, what people do – or don’t do – after that initial click is the most important part of the whole campaign. Once a prospective client clicks on your ad, you have their interest. That click is not just an opportunity to capture their information. It’s also a chance to gain credibility and teach them about the solutions you provide. 

Whether it’s a white paper or an email, content that’s created in a rush just isn’t as effective as well-planned content. You end up sacrificing quality, and you also diminish the value of the piece. No matter how fantastic your ad, CTA and graphics are, the end result won’t be great if your content is lacking.

That’s why companies should have their practitioner content ready well before their campaigns begin. The best developer marketing campaigns are created for the sake of the content rather than the other way around. This approach benefits your organization in many ways, including:

  1. The quality of your content will be much higher.
  2. You’ll eliminate the stress of 11th-hour content creation. This will reduce tension between demand gen and product marketing teams, since the former won’t be pressuring the latter to produce content on cue.
  3. When the leads generated by the CTA come in and the review begins, everyone will look like a winner. Product marketing won’t have to deal with questions about poor-quality content. Demand gen won’t have to deal with questions about CTA getting lots of clicks but few qualified leads. The sales team will smile instead of pointing fingers.
  4. Planning puts your reputation in your control. When content draws developers in, only to disappoint them, you’ll lose credibility with them. On the other hand, well-planned content will boost your developer relations and your reputation.

The Role of Developer Relations

Developer relations refers to a category of activities that are designed to inspire and connect to external developers. The objective is to teach them about your products and even show them how to use them. This will help you build trust with the wider practitioner community and gain third-party credibility. Developer relations is absolutely central to all developer marketing campaigns.

When it comes to content, practitioners are essentially looking for technical materials that will help them perform their jobs better. In many organizations, developer relations teams are charged with acquiring this kind of content. This is where a practitioner content marketing agency like Fixate can be a big ally. We help our customers – tech vendors – plan their content, then our practitioners create the content for them.  

In this light, your content is much more than a marketing tool – it can actually add value to the market. When your marketing content provides value to end users, they will view your marketing differently. Your content will cultivate strong developer relations, since practitioners will see you as a source of helpful information. It’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate your developer empathy.

Putting Content First 

We believe that content is what really drives marketing when domain expertise matters. To gauge the success of your developer marketing campaigns, you need to measure more than clicks and leads. You also need to know what people are saying about your product and your organization – and something we call your  “Share of Conversation.” When you prioritize quality content, you’ll lead every campaign with a strong point of view that inspires positive conversations. To maximize this value, make sure your ads, email drips, press releases, etc. funnel from your calls-to-action to your content.

The way in which traditional marketing teams are set up makes it more difficult to prioritize content. There is a logistical barrier between demand generation folks and product marketing folks. Demand generation teams are supposed to focus on optimizing budget spend for the CTA, so they concentrate on the call, rather than the action. Meanwhile, product marketing teams are naturally focused on the product, and the actions related to using it. So they concentrate on generating the theme and viewpoint as well as building tools to enable sales.

You can’t overhaul the structure of your marketing teams overnight, of course. But there are a few things that will help to prioritize content:

  1. Establish your key themes for the year.
  2. Tell the demand gen team what the company’s point of view is (down to tactics), so they know what action to call for.
  3. Create an inventory of the strong digital marketing assets you already have available. The nice thing about assets like white papers is that their shelf-life is generally longer than pieces like blog posts.
  4. Focus on the quality of your leads instead of just the number.

The Takeaway: Improving Your Developer Marketing Campaigns

When you prioritize content instead of CTA clicks in your developer marketing campaigns, you’ll get much more return on your investment. You’ll increase your Share of Conversation, boost your reputation, and gain more customers. By providing value to practitioners, your content will improve your developer relations and help you cultivate a loyal user base. All in all, you’ll see much more action in response to your calls.

This post was originally published in May 2017 and updated in November 2022.