So…You Are Planning A Developer Challenge

Developers LOVE a challenge. New problems, new ideas, a chance for recognition, rewards, and to build something new and interesting. Giving developers a challenge that helps them learn to use your API, service, or tool is one of the most effective ways to build your brand, create buzz around a product, and foster developer community engagement.

Partnership is More Than a Platform

Once you’ve decided to run an online contest, the next step (and arguably one of the most important decisions you will make) is choosing the right contest platform vendor to partner with. A successful developer contest relies on detailed planning, targeted promotions, and engaging the right audience—all of which require more than a well-run platform. They require a platform vendor with expertise and who can act as your partner. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best contest platform vendor:

  • Alignment: You and your potential partner should be in sync about your goals, what you need from the platform, and what you hope to achieve with the contest. They should not only have a good understanding of your business, but they should also be able to help you make informed choices that will deliver the best ROI for your contest. Having a truly collaborative, consultative, and supportive partner is critical to delivering a successful contest.
  • Reliability: Pick a trusted name in the business, preferably one with experience with developers and developer contests. Apart from having the capability to design, host, and manage the contest, they should have an in-depth understanding of how the target audience behaves and how to engage and influence their behavior. This includes a sound understanding of the types of content and resources your target audience finds valuable, the promotions they are most likely to engage with, and the rewards that appeal to them the most.

While an online contest may be less expensive and infrastructure intensive than an in-person one, it requires further legwork in terms of getting the word out and keeping developers excited and engaged. Therefore, it helps if your vendor already has an established community of developers that it actively engages with to help publicize your contest through a variety of channels.

  • Capability: Much like an in-person event, an online contest is an involved and time-consuming affair with several moving parts. Your partner should have adequate resources to ensure that these moving parts work together efficiently, cohesively, and cost-effectively. Beyond the contest platform itself, they should also be willing and able to assume the legal liabilities and manage the security issues that come with running a global contest.

When it comes to engaging the audience, bear in mind that most developers participate in contests not only to learn about a new technology or tool, but also for entertainment. Apart from developing stellar technical content that will help participants learn new skills, your partner should also have the ability to design the contest in a way that’s fun, entertaining, and will keep participants coming back for more.

  • Service: Once you select a vendor, ask yourself a few questions. Do they prioritize your business? Do they keep their commitments? Are they willing to go above and beyond? Are they open and honest in their communications? A good vendor will function as an extension of you and your business, consider your goals their goals, and strive to provide you with a truly hassle-free experience.

Crushing It

There is a lot to consider when planning and running a developer contest. Even with a vendor handling the contest delivery, it requires a sustained and focused marketing effort on your part. While it can be overwhelming to successfully execute this marketing effort, with the right partner a contest can be one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your brand and your products. Make sure you take the time to carefully consider the alignment, reliability, capability, and service of prospective partners when choosing a developer contest platform.