In order to stay competitive in today's fast-paced business environment, companies must leverage technology to drive growth and innovation.
Building strong relationships with the developer community is an essential component of this strategy, as developers play a crucial role in both creating and implementing the right technological solutions that can give companies a distinct advantage in the marketplace.
This is where developer marketing, developer advocates, and developer relations come in. While each of these teams has its own unique role, they all share the common goal of supporting the needs of developers and the broader developer community.
By leveraging the expertise of these teams, companies can create a thriving developer ecosystem that benefits both developers and the company itself.
In this post, we will explore the role of each of these teams and how they can work together to achieve their goals.
The Role of Developer Relations
Developer Relations, also known as DevRel, is the process of cultivating mutually beneficial relationships between companies and software developers.
As Matthew Revell, the founder of DevRelCon puts it, developer relations can be understood as, "a collection of strategies and tactics that help companies to work better together with software engineers."
Developer Relations can also be understood as an umbrella term that comprises both developer marketing and developer advocates, which is why it is helpful to understand it as a more holistic overview of several pillars that help to build trust between companies and developers.
While most DevRel initiatives are geared toward the adoption of a particular product offered by a company (for example, an API), there are several other factors to consider behind adopting a developer relations program.
A developer relations program is not only responsible for developers adopting a company's product (though that's certainly one of the major objectives); it also helps find and hire the right developers to build the company's technology, understand developer's needs and problems to find the right product-market fit, provides the documentation, education and resources needed to allow developers ease of access to the product, and influence developer perception with respect to a company's brand reputation.
In other words, the role of developer relations is to maintain a positive and productive relationship with the developer community.
This means working closely with other teams within the company to ensure that the needs of developers are being met and that the company is providing the best possible experience for developers. This might involve working with product teams to improve the developer experience, providing support and guidance to developers who are using the company's products and services, and organising events and meetups for the developer community.
By maintaining a positive relationship with the developer community, developer relations can help drive adoption of your company's products and services and foster a sense of loyalty and trust among developers.
The Role of Developer Advocates
Developer advocates are basically the public face of the technology offered by a company. Their primary role, as such, is to build relationships with developers and the broader developer community. This means engaging with developers on social media, attending conferences and meetups, and providing support and guidance to developers who are using the company's products and services.
Developer advocates are intimately aware of developers' frustrations and desires as a result of their engagement with the larger developer community.
They can provide valuable feedback on how your product can improve developer experience, as well as increase your company's brand awareness and conversions by encouraging developers to use your solution.
If you wish to know more detail about what being a developer advocate entails in terms of day-to-day tasks, here's an interesting interview of three developer advocates conducted by The New Stack to get a rundown of what their roles really mean.
One of the interviewees, Angie Jones, explained her role as, "someone who is credible within the community, speaking with the devs, feeling their pain points, [and then] bringing that pain in-house, building better products for them, helping them to be successful."
The goal of a developer advocate, then, is to be a trusted resource for developers, providing them with the information and support they need to be successful.
Developer advocates too, then, can help drive adoption of your company's products and services by focusing on improving the overall developer experience.
The Role of Developer Marketing
The role of developer marketing is to align marketing efforts with the needs of developers and the broader developer community.
This means understanding the specific challenges that developers face and creating marketing campaigns that address those challenges in a way that resonates with developers.
For example, a developer marketing campaign might focus on highlighting the features of a new product that will help developers save time and be more productive.
This can be done through written educational content, YouTube videos, podcasts, reaching out to influencers, sponsoring content on popular tech newsletters and publications, engaging developers on platforms such as Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter - along with other avenues.
But what is crucial to understand here is that developer marketing requires a thorough understanding of specific problems related to developer experience, without which your marketing campaign may not resonate with developers.
Developer marketing is often unlike usual marketing campaigns due to the uniqueness of developers as an audience. As Kuba of developer markepear puts it, "Devs hate being sold to."
Your approach, rather, should be educational, focusing on enabling developers to choose your solution based on a specific problem related to developer experience.
We have discussed the uniqueness of developers as an audience at length before. You can read about it here.
Once you've understood the actual desires and frustrations of developers, you can then create successful marketing campaigns that speak to those needs. Developer marketing can then help drive the adoption of a company's products and services among the developer community.
How Each of These Teams Can Work Together
While each of these teams has its own unique role, they can all benefit from working together.
As explained before, "developer relations" is an umbrella term that consists of both developer advocates and developer marketers. The overall common goal, of course, is to improve the relationship between a company and the developer community, thus driving adoption of the company's products and services, and nurturing trust between the company and the wider developer community. Each team, as such, has a crucial role to play here.
For example, we mentioned that successfully marketing to developers requires a thorough understanding of specific problems related to developer experience.
This is where developer advocates who interact with the wider developer community can help since they have a direct pulse on the needs and frustrations of developers.
By acting as a feedback loop between developers and the marketing team, they can help the marketing effort be more precisely catered to developers' needs.
Another example: a developer marketing campaign might be coordinated with a series of developer advocate events, or a developer relations program might be supported by developer marketing materials.
By collaborating and communicating with each other, these teams can ensure that their efforts are aligned and that they are working towards a common goal. This would also help provide a more comprehensive and cohesive experience in building long-lasting relationships between the developer community and your company.
Of course, there may be challenges along the way.
Coordinating the efforts of multiple teams can be difficult, and there may be disagreements about the best approach to take. However, the good far outweighs the bad in this case; and by fostering a culture of collaboration and communication, these challenges can definitely be overcome, allowing teams to work together effectively to support the needs of developers and the broader developer community.
Developer marketing, developer advocates, and developer relations play a vital role in supporting the needs of developers and the broader developer community.
It is helpful to understand the unique roles played by each of these teams as essential in piecing together a larger puzzle: precisely how or in what ways your product or solution may help speak to the frustrations, pain points, needs, or desires of developers in a way that is firmly rooted in developer experience.
While each of these teams has a distinct role to play, it is only through their collaboration that you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation or the whole picture.
This understanding is crucial to building a mutually beneficial long-lasting relationship between your company and the developer community.
Gaining the trust of developers and building a long-lasting relationship with them is not easy, but it's absolutely a worthwhile investment, especially in the long run.
By understanding the unique roles of each of these teams and having them work together to achieve their goals, companies can not only provide a better experience for developers and drive adoption of their products and services, but also build a distinctive and long-lasting bond of trust, ensuring that developers continue to return to their solutions.
Finally, cultivating strong relationships with the developer community can not only help drive a product's adoption rates but also benefit developers by addressing their genuine needs and pain points.
To sum up, by collaborating and working together, developer marketing, developer advocates, and developer relations teams can provide better developer experiences, enrich the developer community, and drive growth for their companies.
At Circuit, the majority of our team consists of developers themselves who are aware of the difficulties experienced at different stages of the development cycle. But more importantly, the team behind Circuit has years of experience curating technical content for some of the world's most recognisable tech publications under the In Plain English brand.
With over 30,000 articles and 3 million monthly readers across our publications, we are uniquely positioned to understand the pain points felt across a wide spectrum of the developer community.
If you want to increase developer awareness, adoption, and conversions for your product, schedule a discovery call today so we can help you create a developer-first content strategy for your company that converts.