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Marketing to Developers How to Get in Developers’ Heads

Most marketing teams focus on the “call” portion of a call-to-action, instead of the action. This is not a huge surprise, because the call is where the budget is spent. It’s also why marketing is infamous for getting a flurry of people in the door, but very few constitute worthwhile prospects. A common action for developer marketing campaigns is content, and content should be the primary focus.

When demand gen teams work on an ad before considering what happens after someone clicks on it, they are shorting the most important part of the campaign. Once a would-be prospect clicks the ad, you know you already have interest—and you can not only capture their information, but also gain credibility, as well as awareness of the solution you are providing.

Often we run into customers who are scurrying to get some piece of content, usually an asset such as a whitepaper or email after a campaign has been created: “Hurry! We are launching a developer marketing campaign, and we have nothing to give them.” If this content is created in a rush, its quality is sacrificed; thus, it does not end up being the best choice for the person clicking the ad. Therefore, no matter how fantastic your ad copy and graphics are, the end result is not great.

That is why we push for companies to have their content ready before the campaign. The best campaigns are created for the sake of the content, versus the content being created for the sake of the ad campaign.

The impact of this approach has many benefits:

  1. No more 11th-hour content. Demand gen teams are not screaming at product marketing teams to get them content in a rush, and content is not created in a haphazard way.
  2. Everyone looks like a winner when the leads come in, and the review begins. The demand generation team doesn’t look silly for getting a large number of leads (but very few qualified). And product marketing isn’t questioned about poor-quality content. The short-sighted nature of content in a hurry leaves everyone looking bad to the sales team.
  3. Your reputation and credibility is in your control. When content is rushed, it’s obvious that it was just slapped together—especially to technical audiences. Techies have the best BS filters known to humans. And when they are drawn in by a piece of content, only to end up feeling disappointed over how it was constructed, they are actually embarrassed for you, and you will not garner much credibility in the topic area you are supposedly a thought leader in.

Content first

In markets where domain expertise matters, we believe all marketing is driven by content. And campaigns are not measured by clicks or leads. They’re measured by a KPI that encapsulates both numbers and values, called share of conversation. Being content-first means that every campaign is led with content that is based on a strong theme and point of view, and it can actually impart value to the prospective market, not just add to the noise. This is true for all campaigns, ads, email drip, press releases, landing pages, trade shows—Everything should funnel from the call to the action to content.

Organizations can neglect content simply because of the way traditional marketing teams are set up (there is logistical barrier between demand generation folks and product marketing folks). Demand generation is focused on optimum budget spend for the call, and action is an afterthought. Product marketing teams are more project-oriented, and already busy focusing on what they should be doing: generating the theme, the point of view, and building tools for sales enablement.

Unfortunately, marketing teams cannot modernize overnight. But they can do a few simple things to be more content-focused.

  1. Know what the key themes for the year are.
  2. Know what the company’s point of view is (down to tactics).
  3. Have an inventory of strong assets already available. The nice thing about assets like whitepapers is that their shelf-life is generally longer than pieces like blog posts.
  4. Be focused on the quality of leads, not just the number.

Campaigns where content is not the focus may seem to be successful, but the end result is a huge cost-per-lead spend, and it can easily damage a company’s reputation. Campaigns should be created for the sake of content, and not the other way around.