A technical marketing guide for developer marketing
Technical marketing is designed to appeal to people with an understanding of how a product works. Rather than focusing on the benefits of your product and how it can improve return on investment, technical marketing focuses on the key specifications and features of a product.
This kind of marketing doesn’t use the same tactics as traditional marketing, as the audience differs. A technical audience doesn’t respond to traditional marketing tactics and sales techniques, such as cold calls and static demos.
You need to provide your technical audience with the educational product experience they need to learn about your product and see if it’s the right solution for the problems they’re trying to solve.
Below we’ll explain how you can build an educational program for your technical audience.
1. Assemble A Dedicated Technical Marketing Team
If you want to drive product awareness and adoption with a technical audience, we recommend moving away from sharing the responsibility across different departments or having the same person work with different audiences. Instead, you should assemble a dedicated team who will put in the necessary time and effort that it takes to gain the trust of technical audiences.
Technical marketing requires a long-term approach and you won’t achieve results overnight, let alone in a single quarter. If users are unaware of your product, it will take time to engage them and trial your product. You’ll also need to factor in the execution risk involved with developers not liking your product or the time/effort it takes for them to see your product’s benefits. Consider the multi-quarter time horizon it takes for you to improve your product’s awareness, for your targeted technical audience to discover your product, and for them to decide and evaluate that your product solves their problems.
Since the timeline for a successful build-out is long, it is critical that you get executive buy-in before you even start your technical marketing initiative. Executive buy-in is critical to shield your technical marketing initiative from the short-term demands and fluctuations of your organization.
2. Set Up a Dedicated Zone for Your Technical Audience
Instead of creating a marketing-focused area on your website full of jargon and vague benefits, you need to build a dedicated zone that speaks the language of your technical audience and includes content that will be useful for them. This type of content may clash with your company’s main marketing website, which is why you need to build a space that speaks directly to a more technical persona and addresses their specific needs.
To bring your technical zone to life and educate your audience, you need to provide interactive documentation that users can access at all times. Offer users the type of educational information that will help them feel fully educated on your product’s capabilities, potential, and limitations. To make sure your documentation is engaging, you should provide learning content that includes interactivity features like:
- Quizzes, polls, and surveys
- Discussion forums
- Hands-on sandbox environments (sometimes referred to as virtual labs)
3. Build a Community
A key part of any technical marketing campaign involves creating, developing, and nurturing a product-focused community. If your company takes part in technical conversations (wherever your product’s developers are having them) and adds value as product experts and thought-leaders, you can gain the trust of developers and build a reputation for prioritizing your users’ needs.
To build this community, you need to:
- Run and promote product events and meetups aimed at technical audiences
- Represent the company and speak at external, technically-oriented events
- Set up a dedicated community portal to promote community discussions
- Create message boards for developers to share ideas
4. Provide Hands-on, Immersive Experiences
Technical users won’t make their purchasing decision just from reading about your product’s benefits. Instead, your users want a hands-on product experience — and they want it launched easily and quickly. Providing frictionless access to a hands-on sandbox of your product is worth significantly more than any marketing materials.
By providing hands-on product sandboxes (sometimes referred to as virtual labs), you can ensure that users get a learn-by-doing environment that lets them analyze your product to determine if it solves the problem they’re working on, or delights them enough to justify purchasing a license. Giving technical users easy access to your product allows them to test it out before they commit to full implementation across the company. The aim is to show technical users how valuable and indispensable your product is without pushing them directly into attending a sales call.
Make sure you provide a sandbox environment that comes pre-populated and pre-configured to ensure that developers can quickly experience the power of your products without having to do too much heavy lifting on their end. If you display an empty sandbox to technical users, they will encounter the “Blank Slate Problem,” and will not immediately experience your product’s full value.
5. Offer Self-Paced Courses
Your educational approach needs to continue long after a user has first started using your product. Instead of immediately selling and calling users after they’ve signed up to learn more about your product, offer a self-paced product training course to deepen their understanding of your product.
Self-paced training will also convert your documentation into an immersive and educational experience and help you to provide users with the resources to enlighten them on other use cases for your products.
6. Find the Right Tools
If you want to succeed at technical marketing, you’ll need certain tools and technologies to enable you to create the strategies and deliver the experience that your users are looking for. Here are some tools we recommend to help get your technical marketing program off the ground.
A virtual IT lab — such as Appsembler Virtual Labs — provides an environment for learners to have hands-on experience with the same software they will eventually use on the job. Using these labs, you can create a personalized, cloud-based learning environment with the click of a button. You can make these learning environments more personalized and tailored to the kind of training each learner needs.
A developer marketing platform
A developer marketing platform enables you to create a hands-on, educational experience that will drive product awareness and product adoption. Appsembler for Developer Marketing lets you build frictionless developer experiences easily and uses a learn-by-doing approach that includes hands-on sandboxes with self-paced courses. This combination gives developers the educational learning experience they need to decide whether to adopt your product or not.