Biz Tips: Marketing Lessons for Developers

Biz Tips: Marketing Lessons for Developers

GROWTH:

Marketing Lessons for Developers

I identify as a developer. I am comfortable with its ebbs and flows but I have come to accept a representative heuristic — earning a living of any kind is 80% marketing, 20% actual work.

The Anti-Pareto Importance of Marketing (courtesy Pexels)

I identify as a developer. I am comfortable with its ebbs and flows but what I like most about it is that I get near instant gratification for each line of code I add, subtract, or modify. No marshmallow test for this guy!

Now that I have struck out on my own with Second Look where I give feedback on web copy, I have come face to face with a representative heuristic — earning a living of any kind is 80% marketing, 20% actual work. Not only does this fly in the face of the Pareto Principle — 80% of the work you do is responsible for 100% of your income — it also feels extremely uninspiring to put my shoulder to the marketing wheel today with uncertain outcomes well in the future.

But, since it is a necessary beast to tame, I started to look around for examples of people whose marketing styles I can take lessons from.

I have collected these in the hope that it gives clarity to other developers on what it takes to get a movement off the ground.

The Re-re-re-re-Tweeter

Meet Sukhada who tweets as @appadappajappa. I covered Chaos Theory, her co-working space in Nagpur on TT2C — my Medium publication about stories from smaller, Tier-2 Indian cities.

Since then, I have watched her engage with her followers on Twitter talking about social issues like sexism in Indian men, promote events at Chaos Theory, and single handedly raise funds for a cancer stricken farmer who created India’s first strains of high yield rice.

About that last effort — she raised 5x the initial goal with help from the Chief Minister of the state of Maharasthra (of the Mumbai fame) who personally contributed ₹250,000 to the cause. The current leader of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi, also tweeted in support of the farmer. For a dying man whom everyone had ignored for much of the last few decades, this attention and financial help was a welcome final “thank you”.

If I had to summarize her strategy, it would be retweeting. She is a regular retweeter of her own tweets. I know this works because I have watched her idea gain momentum with each retweet.

Lesson #1 in marketing for developers — don’t be embarrassed about repeating your message again and again and again…and again.

The Good Morning Guy

My second teacher in the field of marketing is someone I actively ignore, mute, shun, loathe. Yet, between you and me,

I know his tactic is working because I can feel my resolve weakening. Aaaargh!

Meet The Good Morning Guy.

He’s a friend of friend and sells life insurance. We met a couple of times to discuss work and briefly, my insurance needs.

Since then, every day, without fail, I get a WhatsApp message from him. It is usually some sort of exhortation to seize the day and ends with a very happy “Good Morning!”. The first time I got his message, I was annoyed. Now, he languishes in my WhatsApp list, muted.

I could have blocked him but it felt wrong to block someone who wants you to have a good day.

Now, as my life situation is evolving — I’m getting married later this year — I am starting to think about insurance and financial security. Against my will, I find myself considering giving my business to Mr. Good Morning. I still hate how happy he sounds at 7AM and hate whatever service he uses to source “Good Morning!” content.

Lesson #2 — having a thick skin and multiple cold calls/emails/messages can convert a lead into a customer.

The Smiler

This is a much more subtle marketing tactic. It migth not even qualify as a tactic as much as a life lesson.

(I live in India so take the following anecdote in that context…)

The domestic help at my parent’s house is, quite literally, their favorite daughter. When I asked my mother why, her response was that Shivani — her name — smiles regardless of whatever stresses she is facing in her personal life and her work is first class.

Shivani isn’t perfect. For example, she’s good at her work…when she shows up. She’s been known to take days off without giving notice.

Despite all this, my mother will happily recommend her to neighbors because she likes the way Shivani carries herself — with dignity, with cheerfulness — and when she works, her work warrants no complaints.

Lesson #3 — you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to check all the boxes. You simply have to connect with your customer as a fellow human being.

Like I said, this lesson is very abstract. How does a website connect with a client? No one knows the answer to this. We can just hope to recognize it when we see it.

The Upshot

I have long held that I can imbibe life lessons from the unlikeliest of sources. These tactics probably scratch the surface of what it takes to build a market for your product. I’m sure a more experienced marketer can suggest a hundred other things we could do every day to attract an audience.

What tactics do you developers use to get the word out? Where do you find your teachers? Let me know in the comments.

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Marketing Lessons for Developers was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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