Posts by: Jeremy Hurley

Effective Web Developer Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Effective Web Developer Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Web Developers are a notoriously difficult group to market to (some call it “B2D” or Business-to-Developer). Whether they identify as coders, programmers, “brogrammers”, devs, app builders, etc., as a group they are:

      • very skeptical,
      • obviously *extremely* web savvy
      • i.e. they don’t like to give up their personal info on lead generation forms,
      • part of the 1% that actually knows and cares what marketers are doing to cookie them, target them, remarket to them, etc.
      • likely a higher % use ad blockers
      • generally have a disdain for sales and marketing (instead they have a strong belief that the product is all that should matter).
      • not afraid to be very vocal if they feel an advertiser/marketer has been deceptive or crossed a line

So are there any web developer marketing strategies that actually work? Well, it is actually possible to build effective developer marketing programs. Developers do still want to learn about new and interesting companies, software and tools that help them do their jobs better. Here are a few successful developer marketing strategies and tactics:

  1. Banner ads – haha, ok just kidding, mostly. Banner ads have notoriously low click through rates (CTR) industry wide, and they are even lower with a developer audience. However it *can* sometimes work with the right targeting . And worse case the thing that banners are effective at is good old fashioned branding – a four letter word to some but still proven to be effective if you have the budget and awareness/recall are the goals vs. direct response. Familiarity with a brand can have a powerful subconscious effect when it comes time to download a free trial or create a vendor short list.
  2. Free T-shirts – you can’t walk around San Francisco without bumping into some sort of developer tools or technology t-shirt. Check out this New Relic partner offers page – free trials, discounts, and t-shirts (6 out of 28 vendors) are the top offers. Just make sure you splurge for the high thread count. Programmers don’t like the cheap Hanes tees.
  3. Free Beer and Pizza, i.e. sponsor a meet up, hackathon, etc.

    Two more ways that I personally have found effective for companies like Atlassian, New Relic, etc.:

  4. Humor is always a good way to break through the clutter and deliver a marketing message. Vooza is a video comic strip about a fictional startup that is a big hit with web developers, designers, etc. They do some of their episodes as branded episodes or native ads – find out more on how this can work here.
  5. Educational content on trusted sites like Codetuts+Tuts+. Developers of course have an arsenal of apps, tools, platforms, and technologies to help them do their jobs. Educational content that can show your product in action solving a problem or building an app can be very effective to drive education/demand/adoption. Here are some examples of sponsored content programs on Tuts+:

And yes I represent both of those companies if you’d like to talk about developer marketing programs on Tuts+ and Vooza for your company.

To wrap up, some other good perspectives on developer marketing are Tom Tunguz, a VC at Redpoint on how B2D go-to-market strategy (and marketing) differs from enterprise, and some musings on the challenge from a marketer, Hilary Cook at Mindscape how to market to programmers and how not to.

What have you seen work (or not work) with marketing to developers?

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Funny and effective Native Ads? Yes it’s possible

Funny and effective Native Ads?  Yes it’s possible

Recently I started representing Vooza, an app that steals your personal data and sends it to Eastern European spammers. Ok just kidding, they are a video comic strip that makes fun of the startup world. Similar in tone and material to HBO’s Silicon Valley although they’ve been doing it in online video form for 3 years. Vooza has a big and loyal audience among web developers, designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. TechCrunch and others are big fans too.

(And yes that spammer joke was stolen from Matt Ruby, the standup comic/1st employee at 37Signals/Steve Jobs impersonator and fictional CEO and real life brains behind Vooza.)

The cool marketing angle around Vooza is that they do some of their shows as “Branded Episodes”, where the sponsors product is woven into the fabric of the show. The key is it’s still funny and relevant which is what the audience is there for. It also works as a way to break through the clutter and deliver a message to a scattered audience that is also skeptical of being marketed to. Like this episode for email marketing company MailChimp – a Glengarry Glen Ross spoof where instead of “Always Be Closing” it’s “Always Be Clicking”. It works for other great brands like Atlassian (Flow State), New Relic (What is “DevOps”), and Name.com. You can see all the Vooza videos here.

The team can also produce funny custom videos with non-Vooza characters if the web development/design/startup crowd is not the target. This Insightly CRM video likely hits close to home for any sales rep or manager going over a pipeline update. Vooza can even can even liven up conferences with in character speaking engagements (Matt in the CEO character starts at the 3:30 mark at the Next Web Conference here).

Contact me if you want to talk about how we can do a branded Vooza episode or funny, native ad custom video.

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Is Outbound Marketing for B2B Lead Generation Dead?

There are admittedly lot of problems and inefficiencies with outbound lead generation. Inbound Marketing is great to a point but it’s not a silver bullet. Producing memorable contention on a consistent basis and driving traffic to your corporate website is easier said than done. There’s a great Slideshare a bit back on the The Content Marketing Deluge from Velocity Partners.

To get your piece of content actually found and read you are competing with media publishers with paid editorial staff, user generated content through blogs, social media, etc., plus all of the competitors in your space (and bigger vendors that have now basically hired their own editorial staff).

Even if you do get your content found, it’s very risky to rely on solely on the inbound marketing lead engine. This is especially true for companies with higher purchase prices and longer, more complex sales cycles. The CMOSite had a great recent Article on the problems with”“Inbounditis”.

Larger, more complex deals are not frequently the result of reactive inbound marketing. In fact, inbound leads drive smaller deals with decision makers who tend to be at a lower level than those involved with outbound leads. That is not just my opinion. It is a fact.
Waiting until a buyer is 70 percent of the way through a buying process is more likely to ensure that you will be evaluated as column fodder against an already selected vendor or partner than to result in a solid deal.

Outbound marketing still has a place as part of the marketing mix. Technology decision makers consume content from a lot of different sources and do use web publishers as one research outlet. Prospects are researching and consuming content from Tier 1 publishers all the way down to the long tail of very niche, targeted blogs and user groups/forums. The trick becomes managing the top of the funnel efficiently, efficient and informed lead follow up, and having proper expectations on program outcomes.

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Marketo Acquires Insightera

Update to my earlier post on Real Time Inbound Personalization for B2B Websites

In today’s news, Marketo acquires Insightera to fill a hole in their portfolio around real time personalization. Congrats to Mickey and Mike and the Insightera team – pretty impressive to come over from Israel and in less then 6 months time land a $5M round of funding and then get acquired by the leader in the space. According to GigaOm it’s for $20M. Get ready to hear a lot more about this technology now that it is plugged into the Marketo marketing and sales machine.

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Go Native or Die

Go Native or Die

Hat tip to the best of all US state mottos, my former home New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die”. Publishers face a similar choice right now to those Revolutionaries – embrace Native Advertising or face a long, slow and painful death (lower and lower CPMs instead of higher and higher taxes and rule, but still).

Strategic, Direct Approach Needed to avoid pitfalls

Native Ads represent a great way to increase CPMs and develop long term partnerships with key advertisers instead of relying purely on indirect channels like Google Adwords, networks and other programmatic and real time bidding platforms.  This overreliance has proven to be (more…)

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Target web, mobile, app developers and designers: Tuts+

Target web, mobile, app developers and designers:  Tuts+

TechCrowds is happy to be representing Envato and the Tuts+ network.

Envato is an Australian-based company that has been growing very rapidly by tapping into the online learning and freelance trends of the last few years. Envato helps people “Earn and Learn Online”. They operate a marketplace for digital goods (like Themeforest for WordPress themes) where some developers and designers have made over $1M (Earn).

Feeding into the marketplace is the Tuts+ network of 13 educational websites (Learn). Tuts+ is an incredible tutorial and informational resource and a key outlet for advertisers targeting web, mobile, game, and app developers, designers, photographers, and computer graphics freelancers and professionals. The sites in total generate over 26 Million page views a month and millions of unique visitors with purchase authority and immediate needs for web development tools, hosting, video/audio equipment, computer hardware, and various development, CRM, and back office software and cloud services. Learn more about the Tuts+ network of sites or drop TechCrowds a line Advertising options include dvertising options include display banner ads and sponsorships, social media, newsletter, and custom content including sponsored tutorials and video courses.

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Welcome to TechCrowds

Welcome to TechCrowds

Welcome to TechCrowds, an outsourced integrated advertising sales firm for publishers and service provider for B2B tech marketers.

The world of online advertising continues to change rapidly with new ad technologies and shifting media consumption habits and behaviors.

Small to mid-size, growing publishers in particular need help with two things:

1. Direct Ad Sales representation for premium, integrated, successful programs (through email, phone, face to face meetings with clients and agencies; audience/site value proposition development)

2. Indirect Ad Sales optimization – the know-how to select and manage the right solutions and partners to generate meaningful revenue (through Supply Side Platform and other ad tech selection and hands on management to optimize programmatic, ad exchanges and real time bidding)

TechCrowds was conceived as “Ad Sales as a Service” to partner with select publishers on an outsourced basis with a no/low risk arrangement based on revenue growth.

B2B Tech Marketers have an increasingly complex array of marketing technology solutions and services to navigate to get the most from their marketing dollars.  TechCrowds is partnering with a select group of software and service providers with point solutions specifically tailored to the needs of B2B tech marketers.

Drop us a line to see how TechCrowds may be able to help.

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