Why marketing to developers is important for product adoption

Why marketing to developers is important for product adoption

02 May 2024

Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

News & updates from Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

View Profile

This informal CPD article ‘Why marketing to developers is important for product adoption’ was provided by Product Marketing Alliance, a company founded in 2019 with a mission of uniting product marketers across the globe.

“The solution to problems of adoption is not a better product, but a focus on barriers to adoption.”Stephen O'Grady, Author

Developer marketing is crucial for product adoption, mainly in industries where tech plays a key role. However, marketing to this crowd requires a different approach than traditional marketing. Marketing to developers isn’t just about selling a product, but also about engaging with a community that can champion and boost your products to a wider audience.

But why market to developers in the first place? It’s clear that developers hold a unique position as both creators and users of technology, so here’s how they can impact the adoption of your product.

A different type of audience

Developer marketing came to be because traditional marketing tactics don’t resonate with technical audiences, including developers. This isn’t to say that developers hate marketing—they like or dislike it just as much as everyone else. But the difference is that developers tend to be more detail-oriented, tech-savvy, and skeptical of marketing tactics.

So, relying on the usual marketing strategies doesn’t cut it. It’s crucial that you provide clear and direct information, often supported by documentation and tutorials. Maintaining an active community is also important, since developer communities are a place where developers gather to discuss ideas, get tool recommendations, collaborate on projects, and more.

And, considering it’s predicted there’ll be approximately 29 million developers by the end of 2024 (1), you don’t want to miss out on this huge audience.

Developers influence decision-making

Nowadays, developers have an increasing influence on the adoption of new technologies within orgs. Back in 2020, Stack Overflow found out that 57% of developers say they have some sort of influence over the tech purchasing process (2).

While they may not be the ones purchasing a piece of software, they’re often the ones who evaluate it, test it, and recommend it to stakeholders in their company. If developers advocate for your product, you’ll find it more easily adopted organization-wide.

They help build trust

Developers tend to be highly knowledgeable and skeptical so, marketing to them often involves proving the technical merits and reliability of your product. If you’re successful, you can build strong loyalty towards your product, as well as credibility within the developer community—especially as developers tend to listen to their peers’ opinions and seek their recommendations.

You can more easily get feedback

“No matter how embedded your brand is in customers’ lives today, if you stop meeting their expectations, it’s easy for them to switch to a competitor tomorrow.”Forrester’s Best Practice Report (“Optimize Your Digital Experience to Compete for Customers”)

If developers are your product’s end-user, you’ll want them to have the best possible experience. Engaging with developers, whether in forums or in dedicated communities, for instance, can help you get valuable feedback you can then use to improve the product (before and after it goes live).

Developers can identify bugs, suggest features, offer insights that non-techies may not notice, and more. This feedback loop can significantly improve the functionality and user experience of your product.

Developers can become advocates

Product advocacy is the ultimate goal, as you want to convert users into product evangelists. After all, if developers believe in your product, they can help promote it in their networks and communities, whether through word-of-mouth, social media, hackathons, meetups, etc.

As established above, developers listen to their peers, which means that, with advocates, you’re increasing the chances of getting your product adopted by more developers.

Understand user needs

Marketing to developers means having a deep understanding of what makes this technical audience tick. It helps you figure out the real-world challenges that developers face. This understanding can guide your product development so that it aligns more closely with the needs of your end users—and makes your product more appealing (and relevant) to your target market.

Getting that long-term adoption

This usually means having a product that meets developers’ needs and earns their trust. If you can manage this, then you’ll see longer-term adoption and lower churn rates. Developers like tools that evolve with their growing needs; for example, products that scale and which can be integrated into other products.

Leveraging Developer Tools

For many tech products, especially in areas like software development, cloud computing and infrastructure, and data management, developers are the primary users. Capturing the attention of this tough market can lead to wider adoption of your products.

Gaining competitive advantage

If you can successfully market to developers, you can get a competitive edge. In a crowded market, having a product that developers love can make all the difference, as it can help you to differentiate it from the competition—and make it a standard choice within certain tech markets.

In short

Choosing to market to developers is more than just a strategic business move; it’s essential if you want more users for your product, since developers can help embed it into the tech community. And, when developers believe in your product and add it to their tech stack, they can also advocate for it, which boosts its adoption and success in the market.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Product Marketing Alliance, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.


(1)   https://www.statista.com/statistics/627312/worldwide-developer-population/

(2)   https://survey.stackoverflow.co/2020

Related Articles

Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

For more information from Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Want to learn more?

View Profile

Get industry-related content straight to your inbox

By signing up to our site you are agreeing to our privacy policy