Long Live the Funnel

Traditional marketers love the marketing funnel. The Attention – Interest – Desire – Action (AIDA) funnel is a guide to purchasing behavior. A newer, linear, version of the funnel called the buyer’s journey added more context to the marketing aspect of the sales process. The newest version of the funnel, commonly called “The Flywheel” takes the concept of the funnel and adds a return path to indicate that while the journey is the same, the path is not linear, but an infinite loop capturing the fact that the sales process does not end with a single sale.

While it’s important to understand the analogy of the funnel, journey, and flywheel it’s also important to remember the most important aspect of marketing to developers — that you’re marketing to developers. If you catch their attention you have a broad, but skeptical, pool of people with a modicum of interest. As they learn more about your product, you have a small number of skeptical people with a high degree of interest. As you engage and educate them through the marketing process, the pool of available purchasers decreases, and you wind up with a small audience of highly qualified buying prospects.

Race to the Bottom

While the digital AIDA funnel represents the process of moving a lead to a sale, is it possible to blow up the funnel and go straight to the bottom? After all, developers are highly educated and informed, and typically know what they want or need to get their job done. Can’t we just market to them without attracting attention, without being interesting, and without being desirable? Why sell the whole cow when all they want is a burger?

The simple answer is that you can and will attract some customers at the bottom of the funnel without going through each step of AIDA, but it is important to realize how they got there. Somehow, someway, you attracted their attention, either directly from a search, a reference, or referral. Product knowledge, brand awareness, and “solutions” do not exist in a vacuum. Marketing is the driving force behind promotion and advertising that keeps brands and products alive in the minds of consumers. Through history, advertising and promotion have evolved into an art. More recently, it has experienced a renaissance through the digital revolution. The dramatic changes that have emerged from the digital revolution have influenced the way we interact socially and in business.

Take Me to Your Developer

A lot has been written about marketing to developers because they are an attractive target for marketers. They buy things we like to sell, and they buy in a manner that is predictable, so the funnel or buyer’s journey can be used to model their behavior. Developers are also educated and aware, skeptical of new products, and experienced in the fine art of bullshit detection. Developers who are in the position to make purchase decisions rely on recommendations from their colleagues, and act as the lead in the decision-making unit. They can be influenced from multiple angles. Fear, uncertainty, or doubt should be mitigated through education and confidence-building for your product/brand, using references, social media marketing, how-to videos or trial experiences with your product.

Answer the Questions

The digital AIDA funnel offers structure for a disciplined approach to marketing to developers, and both marketing and salespeople understand the concept. The fact is that, in selling to developers, the marketer and the salesperson can be the same person. In technical sales, salespeople have to be technical, otherwise your prospective developer client will have unanswered questions. Rather than using the funnel to track your progress, the funnel can serve to organize your thoughts as you address the concerns of your prospects.

Final Thoughts

The AIDA funnel can be used to nurture your developer prospects from their initial interest to closure. Using the funnel increases the transparency of your process and helps you plan things like channel selection, media selection, and marketing tactics. Developers fit the funnel model, and the structure of the funnel enables marketing to work closely with sales to efficiently take them through the stages.

If you need help marketing to developers, or want to discuss how to use the AIDA funnel or the buyer’s journey to map your process and increase your efficiency, contact the team at DeveloperMedia. They have the experience and market knowledge to help you get the best results from your marketing campaigns. Finally, marketers typically speak in terms of B2B or B2C or B2B2C, but the reality is that we are dealing with H2H – Humans to Humans, and your marketing efforts have to address the human element of the market to be successful. This means understanding the uniqueness of the developer audience and tailoring your marketing efforts accordingly.


DeveloperMedia AIDA funnel

Tech Crunch – Developer marketing approaches