What Do We Mean By Dev Roles?

The roles that developers play in a developer decision-making unit (DDMU) are key to influencing how a DDMU (or team) decides to acquire and apply your brand’s product. And developers may have specific roles and expertise within a technical team that influence their points of view, priorities, and motivations. When creating technical content that your audience will find most useful in understanding your brand and your brand’s offering, it’s important to keep these elements in mind.

Role Discovery

It’s useful to begin role discovery by defining the DDMU you are supporting with your brand’s technical content. (This is all individuals and groups that take part in the decision-making process relating to the negotiation and acquisition of products/services that are developer-focused.) They include:

  • Users — those who will work with the purchased goods or services — and therefore, will exert influence on the specifications. Both customers and employees may take on this role.
  • Influencers — those who influence the purchasing process by setting preconditions. They can be found at all levels of the organization.
  • Initiators — those who recognize a problem and try to find a solution for the problem. The individuals in this role are the most important in the decision-making unit (or DMU).
  • Technical Decision-Maker —those who choose the supplier by the technical specifications, such as the programming language, compatibility with existing resources, etc.
  • Gatekeepers — those who provide the information within the decision-making unit.

Once you’ve defined the DDMU, you can then focus on the relevant technical role, the technical responsibilities within a development team, and the expertise that your DDMU members have.

Roles: Get Informed

Information may be more anecdotal and nuanced than just “data.” However, there are data sources that can begin to answer your questions. Be deeply curious, and explore from the inside out.

  • In-house. Begin with what you know. Look at data from current customers and past sales, and marketing campaigns within your company. Take a look at customer support data. This data combination gives you a good idea of the role in decision-making, the role in implementation, and the expertise either encountered or required (these two may not be the same).
  • Paid Third-Party Data and Analysis. Whether survey data based on a technology segment (like that offered by SlashData and Evans Data Corporation), or a custom survey you commission, it’s worthwhile to work with survey professionals to ask the questions you need answers to. Survey data sources offer analysis that can include demographic, psychographic, and technographic information and segmentation.
  • Developer Communities. Search developer communities for conversations about the problem that your brand solves to learn more about the developers interested in solving the problem. Doing this gives you some insight into how developers are actually using your product. Maybe this points to reaching out to an expertise you never considered.
  • Social Media. Many developers are curating their technical content through social media. Monitor engagement (and specifically, questions and comments) about technical topics relevant to your brand and audience. Look for themes such as use cases, expertise (strengths and gaps), and other relevant information.

Memorialize Your Insight

You don’t want to lose track of the information and analysis from your discovery process across multiple platforms. Consolidate it. Create a strategy that includes the assumptions, methodology, and results of your discovery process.

Apply What You Learned

Perhaps your discovery process uncovered an unexpected way that developers find, decide on, and then use your product. This might point to some unexpected dev roles and corresponding expertise. If this is an important segment, make sure that you take the time to rewrite your technical content strategy to address the dev roles you uncovered.

A Virtuous Cycle

Once you start grounding your technical content marketing strategy firmly in a framework that is data-driven, developer-focused, and supports decision-making units, the process becomes second nature. You can iterate on this framework with confidence across multiple offerings and campaigns.