Trust in Advertising
One of the fundamental truths in any civilization is that trust is hard to build and easy to destroy. If you research the elements of trust, you will find sources covering a range of elements (approximately 3–9) that are mostly focused on building trust between individuals. But what about commercial trust—say between a solution provider and a developer? For this relationship, we propose the elements of reputation and longevity for consideration.
The first element, reputation, means that products or people are inherently trusted because they have a reputation which reduces our anxiety and mitigates our fear. The second element is longevity, or trust that is built over time. The longer products or people build a positive reputation, the more likely we are to trust them.
It seems counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to build a reputation and promote longevity is still through advertising. Advertising is a medium that developers typically view with distrust and skepticism. The challenge when trying to communicate to developers is: “How can we use tools like advertising and product trials to reduce developer fear and anxiety over our products?”
How to Build Trust in Your Brand
People don’t buy what they cannot see. Your value proposition, your sales pitch, and the aura of your brand must work together, and they need to be abundantly visible for brand recognition and trust. As a marketer, your goal is to use every tool and opportunity to promote your brand in such a way that no one needs to explain what your brand represents. A trusted brand has a positive image. And even when mistakes occur, your ability to recover in a positive manner can build trust.
Using Trust to Gain Acceptance
There are a few keys to developing trust with your developer audience:
- Play the long game: Trust is built over time, so look at each sale as a victory, and ask for recommendations, referrals, or references from purchasers. Nothing is free, so compensating your followers with a token gift is a nice gesture to build stronger relationships.
- Put your product on trial: Imagine that a product trial is like a court trial. Your product must defend itself by proving its functionality and superiority. The only way to do this is by providing references and sufficient evidence to get a winning verdict. The trial is yours to lose because your product is acceptable until proven faulty. This is where strong product support can make or break your case.
- Break out the lubricant: One modern marketing concept that is currently in vogue is frictionless interactions. Every interaction will have inherent points of friction coming from people, processes, and products. Your goal is to reduce or eliminate those points of friction so that the developer’s journey from an impression to a conversion is painless, seamless, and mutually beneficial. Tools you can use specific to your developer audience include:
- Placement: Advertise on developer websites or in developer newsletters. Using a trusted site for the “home field” advantage will reduce fear and help build trust.
- Promotion: Developers value use cases, tutorials, and technical support materials to ease their anxiety around new tools or products.
- Engagement: Product trials and evaluations are the best ways to mitigate fear— however, trials are not a trivial pursuit for the developer. Testing a new tool is a significant commitment on the part of the developer, and a level of confidence is needed so that the product has a good chance of success. Bolster your trials by providing data, instructions, references if possible, and particularly—access to support and documentation in case something goes wrong.
- Recover: If you stumble or fail, recover in a positive way, and be sure to use the situation to build trust. Reduce the fear of failure in the eyes of your developer audience.
Above all, don’t forget that in most instances, you are not dealing with a single developer. Most purchase decisions involve a Developer Decision-Making Unit (DDMU), which will be made up of several individuals who have a vested interest in any developer tool purchase decision. You will increase your chances of success if you craft your advertising strategy and sales approach with the needs of the DDMU in mind.
Trust reduces fear and anxiety, and trust is built over time. Whether you are just starting out or you are in the middle of your marketing journey, consider working with an experienced partner who knows how to engage with developers. DeveloperMedia has the resources and expertise to help you build trust with your developer audience and reduce your fear and anxiety.
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Evans Data Corporation: Developer Marketing Survey 2020