What Are the Odds…

…that anyone under the age of 60 will answer a call from an unknown caller? With that in mind, before we delve into specifically contacting a developer, let’s face facts:

  • Based on a study done by Hiya in 2020, only 6% of calls from unidentified callers are answered, primarily because of robocalls and scam callers. Analyze your own behavior —  do you answer calls from unknown callers?
  • The same study found that despite widespread fraud and robocalls, people still prefer voice calling over other methods of communication, including texts and email.
  • Most unknown calls go to voicemail, and unless you have a good pitch prepared, your call will not be returned.

Who You Gonna Call, and Why?

If this is a spontaneous call and you know the person, your chances of the call being answered are small, but your chances of a voicemail to them being returned are better. Be prepared for voicemail with a succinct reason for the call and a compelling reason for the developer to call you back.

Do you personally know, or have some familiarity with the developer you are calling? Would they look forward to receiving a call from you, or would you be considered “just another salesperson?” Be prepared for a human developer to answer the call, and be prepared for voicemail. If you do speak to the developer, remember that their time is precious.  Be polite, but get to the point.

Is this a planned and deliberate telemarketing campaign to your developer audience?  Cold calling is not cool. Catching someone off-guard with an offer is not in your best interest. Be prepared before you call, and read the rest of this article.

What’s Your Motivation?

Before placing a call to your favorite developer, let’s consider what we hope to accomplish, and the context of the call. Are you going to share general information in the hopes of building rapport through networking? Are you going to share product info or make a sales pitch? Are you gathering information as part of a product development effort or as a thinly disguised sales pitch? Developers are skeptical by nature and jaded by years of sales-pitchery.

Cold Calling is Not Cool

The annual Developer Marketing Survey from Evans Data is a compendium of input from developers, and in its 200+ pages, there are few references to directly contacting a developer. In the world of marketing, direct contact on a mass scale is hopelessly inefficient and runs the risk of pissing off your developer community. In the survey, there is a mention of “phone calls from sales reps” ranking as one of the least favorable methods of contact from an advertiser. Email, newsletters, trial copies, advertising, videos, and trade show contacts all ranked higher than direct contact.


Common advertising wisdom dictates that developers are best approached by appealing to the community rather than an individual developer directly, and even when approaching them directly, developers respond to more traditional marketing techniques than direct contact. If you are considering a direct telemarketing effort, please review the strategies outlined in the D2D Marketing and Advertising Guide, and/or the Marketing to Developers Field Guide, both published by DeveloperMedia.  These publications highlight proven techniques for marketing to the developer community.


Hiya: Call report

Evans Data Corp: Homepage

Evans Data Corp: Developer Marketing Survey

DeveloperMedia: D2D Marketing and Advertising Guide

DeveloperMedia: Marketing to Developers Field Guide