Why Bother Advertising?

Humans rely on repetition to learn, and successful advertising is all about frequency and repetition. Promoting your brand through advertising is a core function of marketing. Iconic brands like Apple, IBM, Nike, and Coca Cola earned their status by curating their brands through consistency and by maintaining a presence in front of their audience through advertising. Uber-icon brand status is achieved when the brand becomes genericized (think products like Kleenex, Xerox, and Coke).  However, genericized status is not necessarily a good thing. What’s important to recognize is that advertising is necessary for the success of your brand.

Costs of Advertising

As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Advertising costs money. There’s no way around it. Getting the most impact for your advertising dollar is key, so it’s prudent to follow successful brands and (if you can) advertise where they advertise. In the developer community, look for Google, IBM, Microsoft, and other iconic brands, and consider placing your ad in the same newsletters or on the same websites where you see them. Stay in good company, and your brand will benefit from the halo effect of the industry leaders.

The old adage “Everything comes at a cost” for advertising has been upended with the advent of earned media, which is, in essence, free advertising. Earned media is content that others write about you, your products, or your brand. Most people would agree that earned media is more credible because it is not paid and is unsolicited, but getting your customers to write nice things about you can be a challenge.

When you are marketing to developers, they are not shy about offering their opinion. When it is good, what they say can truly help you. And when you’ve missed the mark, they will be sure to tell you. Look to developer communities to get the developer street cred you need. Comments in the right forum can be more valuable than a single article.

Advertising costs are a function of placement, frequency, and size and location. So of course, you want to find the best developer newsletter for your target audience, buy the biggest ad, place it in the prime location on the page, and advertise in every issue to get the best exposure for your brand. Yet, while this is an ideal scenario, most marketing budgets don’t allow for the best of everything, which is why compromises have to be made.

It may seem simple to make tradeoffs, but the reality is that optimizing advertising is an art, and it’s an area where expert advice will help you make the right decisions. A partner like DeveloperMedia has the art of advertising down to a science, and they can help you develop and optimize your advertising strategy. You don’t have to be the expert — you can simply consult with one of their experts!

Successful Brands That Advertise

  • This is hard to believe, but Alphabet (Google) spent almost $8B in advertising last year, and a lot of their advertising is on the Google Marketing Platform. Their sales and marketing expenses run about 9% of their overall revenue.
  • Microsoft spends about $20B annually advertising products like Azure, Teams, Office 365, and Microsoft Cloud, as well as hardware products like Surface. Like most brands in the developer / IT space, they focus on the capabilities and benefits of their products. Their advertising / marketing spend is about 8% of revenue.
  • IBM spent over $1.4B on  advertising last year, and had placements in a variety of media channels. Their spending supported over 11 products launched last year, primarily serving B2B markets. Both Google and Microsoft market to B2B and B2C audiences, so they focus on consistency and communicating their relevance to their target markets. IBM’s marketing / advertising spend equates to about 2% of revenue.

And the Strategy is…

Framed in the context of a marketing funnel, successful brands use an evergreen advertising strategy to address the top of the funnel for brand awareness in advertising to developers. Their placements are in outlets where developers go to find relevant content. Additionally, these brands use paid search advertising to capture or close their bottom of the funnel opportunities. The leaders know that a balanced strategy is necessary for success. As Lisa Sidlow, VP of Sales at ContentLab, stated, “It’s hard to pull leads out of the bottom of the funnel if you’re not consistently filling the top.”

What does your advertising strategy look like?


Generic Brands


DeveloperMedia – Advertising frequency


DeveloperMedia – Target audience

Advertising Cloud Tools to Developers · DeveloperMedia

DeveloperMedia – Developer communities


Mediaradar – IBM ad spend


Statista – Alphabet ad spend


Paid vs. Earned media