Dev Role Segmentation

Developer role segmentation begins with defining a developer decision-making unit (DDMU), or the subset of people within a company that decides to acquire and apply your brand’s product.  Within a DDMU, developers may have specific roles and expertise within a technical team that influence their point of view, priorities, and motivations. For successful technical content marketing campaigns, it’s important to keep these elements in mind.

Applying What You Know

Once you’ve defined your DDMU, and you’ve done the necessary discovery to feed into a strategy, it’s time to apply this to improve your brand’s tech content marketing campaign success.

Content for Users

It may be counterintuitive, because this segment may be the furthest away from implementation, but look hard at the content for users. Users are the developers who will work with the goods or services — and therefore, will exert influence on the specifications. Users may include the developer in the DDMU you are selling to — and if they have developers as their customer, then the developer your customer is developing for (your customer’s customer) is also a user. Content that users will need includes:

  • “Why?” Content. Why do they need it? Why this specific content over something else? This should be a technical why, not just a business case. Technical content that brands should provide include overviews and guides that reflect a technical opinion, as well as technically specific product comparison content for those users closer to making a decision and offering their team a recommendation.
  • Getting Started. This content should assume no prior knowledge. Allow users to try before they buy. Even better, let them try before they download (offer a code sandbox environment). Employ straightforward language with minimal jargon and step-by-step instructions. (This point applies also to how-to content and public documentation.)
  • More Advanced Applications. Provided you have a good understanding of your user’s role within their technical team (and likely expertise and responsibilities), you can offer relevant case studies and how-to’s that demonstrate exactly how they would implement your solution. Ideally, this is something they can play with or replicate on their own within their own environment.

Content for Initiators

Initiators are the developers who are experiencing the problem and are actively looking for solutions. Target this role with “why” content, but also provide:

  • Problem Characterization. Offer content that describes the problem accurately and gives opinions and insight about the characteristics of the solution. This could be a technical white paper, article, or even a blog post that points to deeper dives on each potential solution.
  • Solution Definition. Offer content that takes a stand on the merits of a particular solution. Clearly describe the conditions where the solution (that is, your solution) is superior. Compare it to other possible solutions. This allows an initiator to understand the strengths of your solution, and determine if it matches their needs. Allow yourself to be a strong advocate in order to initiate the decision about your brand’s offering within their decision-making unit.

Content for Influencers and Gatekeepers

The responsibilities and expertise of influencers and gatekeepers may vary greatly from company to company, so it is important to understand who they are and why they are stakeholders in a decision. Depending on what you learn, you may be providing either extremely basic or highly advanced information. You may even be providing information to a non-developer (for example, someone whose expertise is testing or data science).

Content for the Technical Decision-Maker 

Like the user and the initiator, the content for this role will be rich in technical detail, but placed in the context of problems and applications. The content  should be easy to navigate, and offer the technical context with a clear answer to why, as well as the details of the technical assumptions, specifications, and limitations.

Improving Campaign Results

By using developer role segmentation to define the individuals in the DDMU, you can improve campaign results by improving inputs and outcomes. Focusing your resources on the content each role will find most valuable means your return on investment will be maximized — and with less in and more out, you can improve tech content marketing campaign results.