B2D marketing behaves totally different than any other form of marketing …
If everybody talks about PLG, Open source, devtools, devrel, dev marketing, or devops lately, that’s because we are living in the “shift everything left” era.
Modern, cloud-native organizations are NOT following the same practices as legacy enterprises. They evolved differently from the inside to push velocity to its highest possible standard. Siloed teams made room for more collaborative practices and a lot of the practices that were owned by the CISO or IT organizations, moved to live under the engineering organization.
Marketing has also shifted to focus on developers.
What makes devops marketing so different?
Developers have evolved, over the years, to trust communication channels and jargon that are much different than the “regular” B2B style:
Lead-gen many times behaves differently. For instance, you can think of open source or just a PLG product as the opposite of traditional lead capture – developers don’t convert to leads by consuming gated content as other segments do. They will first want you to let them experience and use your product for ‘free’. This is also relevant when you plan on selling DevOps solutions “the old way” by using SDR and sales.
Channels such as LinkedIn will not necessarily be the main channel here or at least will have a smaller weight in the overall social media mix. They are completing work in dev communities which are usually supported or managed by technical community managers (Dev advocacy).
Marketing must learn how to provide (and prove) its ROI in a world with broken attribution. In dev tools companies, you are many times unable to close the loop between the initial user acquisition and an active user of an OSs or even a cloud app. It’s a major obstacle that dev marketers must know how to win over.
Marketers for dev tools companies should know how to get along and collaborate with DevRel or dev advocacy and how to leverage their strengths, while keeping a data driven strategy on.
Dev communities such as Discord, Slack or Reddit are amazing, but they can be brutal.. Dev marketers follow different rules when they operate in such communities and leverage internal technical stakeholders.
The balance between different marketing activities is different. Marketers should set a different blend for B2D audiences. For instance, SEO is many times very important, but there’s no point in focusing on creating whitepapers and other forms of gated content.
Content behaves differently as well. The ‘docs’ area in the website is one of the most important assets to work on, blog content should be a mix of thought leadership and a lot of technical “how to” articles, and content should be distributed in dev channels such as dev.to, Dzone, Thenewstack, Reddit or alike, sometimes with the help of DevRel stakeholder.
In a DevOps and a PLG world, the product itself, be it an OSS or cloud, should convert users to become interested in purchasing a license or convert active users to become paying ones. Marketing must acknowledge this, and know how to work with the product (using sendbox or playground environments for instance)
PPC and paid campaigns? Yes, of course. but different here as well, there’s a need to identify and focus on technical queries, replace “old school” landing pages with dev-optimized ones, and more
In short, B2D marketing is different and therefore it requires specific experience.
KEY COMPONENTS IN OUR DEV TOOLS / DEVOPS MARKETING MIX
Strategy and planning
We start by fully understanding the KPIs and different stakeholders. We also set expectations around the ROI that we would generate, how and what we would measure, R&R between us, the devRel, and the product, and we also setup the collaborative processes. The strategy includes CMO-level consulting, planning of launches, and building impact marketing architectures.
We complete the technical content by producing thought leadership content that is tailored to dev. We ensure that all the written content is updated on the website, and is promoted across relevant channels. We also collaborate with devRel to ensure that the content we create is promoted in dev communities.
We own the company pages in multiple channels as well as the personal pages of the key company stakeholders (for thought leadership). We post in multiple channels, we increase connections and followers, we analyze the quantitative impact and we build reports to show the progress
We run multiple SEO activities including extensive keyword researches, onsite optimization, backlinks operation, and more.
Paid media campaigns
We run smart campaigns on Reddit, Facebook, Google ads, LinkedIn ads, and additional channels to support our KPIs and direct developers to the website, measuring their journey to the open-source, free forever cloud versions or alike.
Additional marketing activities include
Website creation and maintenance, events management, PR, sponsorships, product marketing, marketing automation, and more.