Marketing has become essential for companies to promote their products or services. No matter the sector, the target, what you sell or what service you offer, you need to have a well marketing thought-out strategy.
For several years, we have seen the emergence of many types of marketing:
Search engine marketing
Social media marketing
But, marketing is foremost about finding a strategy to get known and sell your products/services. As I see it, to do this, you must know your offer, determine your target and be passionate or expert in the sector you are.
So here i am, in charge of marketing and communication in a Parisian start-up in the technologic sector. Offering a tool for developers who want to create API integrations.
A new adventure has begun and has allowed me to take on new challenges, including how to adapt our marketing strategy where our focus are developers.
Is the tech sector and marketing compatible?
Some sectors or some objective are more conducive for marketing.
Let me explain: if you are in charge of promoting an organic shampoo, your audience is large. It can be for men, women or children. You have a tangible product. It is easy to promote: pretty pictures in a natural environment, textures and scents, show result, a combination hard to resist.
But in the tech world, products are often (even very often) less sexy to sell. First of all, if you don't have an object to sell but instead a service or a tool, getting noticed is really not easy!
You need to know your product, which sometimes seems complex. As a marketing and communication manager in the APIs sector, when i arrived, i was a novice on the subject. It became imperative for me to learn about the topic through articles and videos. But the best thing to do is to find a kind-hearted person within your company who will take the time to explain you the sector. And also the product, what it is used for.
For those concerned, i'm still learning the basics of coding with the help of the online courses at Codecademy.com (no, this is not a product placement), which are very well done.
I'll still answer the question in that first paragraph: does marketing have a place in technology?
Obviously, yes! As we have been saying for decades, everything is for sale! But not just any old how!
First, you need to know your market very well. Is there any evident demand for such a product?
For example, the Meta API platform offers to simplify the integration of applications between them. Okay, but this kind of tool already exists on the market, so what else does it have? Which technology does it have that others don't?
It's the same principle as selling your organic shampoo made in France and whose components are 100% natural. It is not because you are in a specific sector, or in a Start Up, or you sell a product for only one person that you cannot have a marketing that works.
You have to adapt it, it's not easy, but it's worth it.
Marketing for developers: which strategy to adopt?
After explaining that marketing has its place in the technology world, a specific and sometimes closed sector, you understand that its target is different too.
Some audiences are more open to marketing campaigns, which is easier to sell your product or service. Some brands even manage to sell products you don't need (yes, I've already bought a useless object, I know you have too!).
In tech, there are many objectives. Here we talk about the developers, our main target at Meta API.
There are more and more developers in the world as Evans Data says there will be 26.9 million male and female developers in the world in 2020, and according to Stack Overflow, the majority will be under 35 years old.
Clearly, traditional marketing methods do not work with developers. Sending emails galore, receiving calls, advertising on sites irritates developers considerably.
Also, they don't always use social networks, don't always watch TV, and are on Twitter rather than Instagram.
Each developer has a different profile, I could see this when i interviewed each one in Meta API for our "in a developer skin" content. They all have a common goal → find revolutionary tools that will help them in their daily work. They are curious, creative and constantly developing (that's a mouthful 😜). For your marketing strategy for developers to be successful. First of all, they need to be able to use the tool or service in an easy and quick way, to understand directly what they can do and how.
Then you need to focus your marketing on educational content (you are an expert in that field). By providing sources of informations (you are the go-to blog, the go-to library for your domain) and offering tutorials (you are addressing a problem, creating a community) instead of selling or commercializing directly.
Then, it could be interesting to create a community of developers who would exchange around your sector and your product. Having the opinion and feedback of other developers will convince and reassure them.
Finally, work on your message differently, less talk and more use cases, facts and demonstrations. Exemple, don't do "Come and buy our Meta API platform" better "Facilitate your API integrations with Meta API".
And what THE developers think about it? Here are Some testimonies
Ferdinand Cuisin, a former Growth Specialist and currently working for Meta API as a developer, gives us his vision on the subject, now having a background in marketing and development:
"The developer is resistant to marketing in general. They want to make up their own mind by testing the tool, without being pressured to buy. That's what I felt when working as a Growth, they like to test, to experiment. Adopting a solution or a product is something essential for a tech.
When I was working in Growth, I was not doing pure marketing, it was B to B and I was rather leading long term actions for large accounts. So I never implemented traditional marketing actions. I still think that marketing and developers can work together, the approach must be light, more in the information and expertise than in direct marketing. The best strategy is to highlight your expertise and then offer the product as a solution. Trust is important, knowing what you are talking about and being able to answer a real problem is one of the pillars of successful marketing. If there is no marketing, there are no customers."
Mathieu Rasse, Founder and CEO of Meta API, in charge of the evolution of the platform at the technical level but also at the marketing level where he brings his vision and support. He gives us his perception of marketing in the tech world and with developers:
"I have a dual view of marketing. As a developer, I saw marketing as a capitalist thing, where you are convinced to buy something you don't necessarily need and you are forced to buy it. Developers are sensitive to marketing crap, that is, they promise you this or that, but without any demonstration or concrete use case.
On a technical level, I don't appreciate what it has brought in terms of surveillance and data recovery. On the other hand, when we build the Meta API project, i realize that you can develop the best application in the world, if you don't have marketing, nobody will know about it. If nobody uses it and if you don't market it, nobody will buy it. You can have an adapted marketing strategy: launch a project without going into data exploitation.
For example a company can write interesting articles about its sector. Unconsciously, the reader will assimilate this quality content to the company.
Today, the hardest thing is to highlight the added value and the functionalities of what we offer. To be able to put forward the usefulness of our product, its added value without necessarily talking about its functionalities.
So yes, marketing has its place in the tech world and we need it to promote our company. It must be applied in a different way than traditional marketing. Indeed you can't sell a pair of sneakers or a software in the same way. You can't market software for developers the same way you would market a mobile application, the target is different. You can't use the same techniques or the same media depending on your product, for example we will never see ads in the subway for Discord or Slack (B to B strategy)."