There are plenty of stereotypes about software engineers and developers that cast them as a quiet, introverted, geeky, and pedantic bunch. But based on my own experiences working with many in the industry I’d say that these are largely hackneyed and outdated notions to keep.
That said, there is one stereotype that seems to hold true: some devs have BIG egos.
In fact, according to the results of an informal poll that we conducted with over 1,600 CodeProject.com members, 1 in 4 developers think they are the best member of their team.
Even if an individual developer doesn’t think they are personally ‘the best’ in their team, chances are they still think they’re pretty great. A 2014 survey commissioned by Chef interviewed 1,000 developers in the USA and found that 91 percent of developers feel they are the most valued employees at their company.
A quick Google search of “developers and ego” will return a spattering of articles and blog posts lamenting rockstar egos in the industry, but after reading a recent blog post by digital marketing advisors Convince & Convert I realized that “ego” doesn’t have to be a dirty word, and it certainly doesn’t have to be the dark side of software development that no one talks about. A little flattery and ego stroking can go a long way and as marketers we just need to learn how to use this information to our advantage.As Convince & Convert says: “to reach your audience’s ego, create content that helps them positively define themselves to the world.”
Here are a few ways you can apply this approach to your own developer audience:
- Share news about technical developments and innovation
The fact is, developers seek “shiny objects,” but it’s not only because they love new gadgets and cool technology. The organizations devs work and build software for rely on them to drive innovation and solve problems with elegant solutions, so by necessity, developers need to pay attention to new technical developments and advances in their fields.Developers like to look smart to their peers, so make sure your developer community is among the first to know about technical developments and innovation happening at your organization. Just make sure you explain the benefits without marketing hyperbole and hype. If done right, your developer fans can become your “spokespeople” and they will share interesting discoveries with their office colleagues or in technical communities like CodeProject.
- Turn your own rockstars into your Developer Evangelist
Sometimes developers just plain don’t like to hear from PR and marketing people. They catch a sniff of something too ‘fluffy’ and they’ll run the other way. Developers do like to hear from other developers that they respect and trust though. If you’ve got a rockstar on your own developer or technical team, consider turning their ego into your marketing boon – a Developer Evangelist.For the uninitiated: “A developer evangelist is a spokesperson, mediator and translator between a company and both its technical staff and outside developers,” as defined by The Developer Evangelist Handbook. By empowering someone who is enthusiastic about what your company does (and already knows the technology inside and out) to speak, write and do community outreach around your products you can connect with your target audience much more effectively.
- Encourage competition
In case you didn’t know: developers love competition. It’s in their blood. They are naturally curious, love the challenge of conquering a problem, and often seek to prove to themselves that they have mastered a technology. (Again) they also like to look good in front of their peers.Design a fun contest or challenge around your products, award some interesting prizes, boost some egos along the way and you’ve got a win-win for developers and marketers alike.
We here at Developer Media can help you build an effective marketing campaign around any and all of the approaches above. We have a large network of developer/authors that can help you write articles and share news about your latest technical innovations, we can conduct and promote an interview or Q&A with your Developer Evangelist to help get their message out to our audience, or we can help you design and execute a fun and interesting developer competition that will get your technology used by devs across the globe.