I’m the Product Marketing Lead at NexHealth, and I'm excited to talk about developer insights.

I can't think of a more foundational element to a successful developer-focused, go-to-market strategy or product strategy than acquiring and using developer insights.

My developer marketing journey

I’d like to start with a little bit about my background and my journey throughout developer marketing. I began marketing to developers when I was at Salesforce, where I joined the MuleSoft division, which is an API management and integration platform as a service (iPaaS). 

I worked specifically on the financial services team, adapting our core API management platform to that industry. I also helped the Salesforce teams on Sales Cloud and Service Cloud speak the language of developers in their own go-to-market motions. 

I then moved to Stripe, where I worked on launching several payments-adjacent products, including Financial Connections, which is a way of linking bank accounts to Stripe. 

Since August 2022, I've been at NexHealth, leading API and developer marketing. At NexHealth, we build the universal API for healthcare data. I'm helping to orchestrate all of our go-to-market motion around that product and also the developer audience broadly across our portfolio. 

In each of these experiences, I've worked on a slightly different type of product and a slightly different type of developer at the heart of our go-to-market strategy.

But I've picked up some tips and tricks that I think will allow anyone, whether you're at a startup like NexHealth or a large company like Salesforce, to do a better job of making developers' voices heard as part of your strategy and product roadmap

I'm going to talk about:

  • What it is about developers that make them such a uniquely valuable source of feedback.
  • Specific ways to gather qualitative and quantitative insights from developers.
  • How to put those insights into action through your product roadmap and go-to-market strategy.

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The value of developer insights

Let's start with the ‘why’ behind developer insights. The reason I actually fell in love with marketing to developers is because they're such a unique audience. They deeply understand technology and they're very well-versed in their subject matter. 

These are people who’ve spent years studying software engineering, and they continue to acquire new skills and invest in ways to be more productive and more efficient in solving new problems. So that means you can learn quite a bit just by talking with them. 

They'll be very informed and opinionated, and they'll often know exactly what it is they're looking for when it comes to solving a problem or finding a new solution.

That's a real treasure trove of insight if you're a marketer, a go-to-market strategist, or a product manager because developers will know what they're talking about, and they won’t mince their words when it comes to giving honest and direct feedback

Sometimes the feedback you get may sting a little bit, but that's actually for the best because you’ll know exactly what developers are feeling with regard to your messaging

In one particular case, I was talking with a developer about a product name that we were considering, and they said the name was a bit deceiving.

They'll call you on your BS; it's not something where you have to really interpret a lot of grey space. It's very direct and honest, and that can be super useful, both from a go-to-market perspective and also from a product strategy perspective. 

How to gather developer insights

Now, let's dive into actually gathering developer insights. Like with any customer insights program, you’ll want to spend time talking to your developers directly. One-on-ones and structured interviews are really great ways to yield qualitative insights for your go-to-market and product teams. 

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Something specific with developers is to make sure you're really well prepared going into these conversations. Their time is really valuable, so you’ll want to come in having a really clear sense of what your objective is, and a good, structured set of questions that you can ask them.

Something I think we did well at Stripe was actually having a documented interview guide that any new product marketer or developer marketer could use to conduct various types of developer interviews. 

We're now doing the same thing at NexHealth. As we build our developer marketing motion from the ground up, we're thinking about each conversation we have, documenting the learnings, figuring out what went well and what we could’ve done better, and then packaging that into an interview guide.