Artificial intelligence and machine learning may be the most important technology drivers of our time. We're living in extraordinary times where developers are increasingly incorporating more and more AI.
This is the topic for this discussion, hosted by Abhishek Ratna, Director of Product Marketing at Labelbox, and with insights from:
- Joanna Carrasqueira, Head of Community for Developer Relations (ML) at Google
- Sally Revell, Director of Product Marketing at Google
- Glenn Cameron, Product Marketing Manager at Google
Managing stakeholder expectations in developer marketing
Let’s kick things off with who we think our key stakeholders are, and any advice on managing expectations, building relationships, and bringing new perspectives to the table in the space of developer marketing.
Always thinking about who the stakeholders are is a great way to start any project. I’d say that, as a customer-obsessed marketer, the number one stakeholder is the customer. So, don't get pulled up by internal thoughts. Think externally, first.
The very best way to do things like influencing and getting buy-in into a particular program is by having customer insights. Make sure you've got the right data and proof points behind the idea or program you want to run to back up your request or business case with internal stakeholders.
Depending on the program that you're looking to run and what you're trying to do, I'd recommend always doing a quick stakeholder mapping for that particular area. Whether it's developer marketing, or whether you're honing in on a particular product or service like AI/ML, first of all, you need to think about the execs that need to be aligned, who the working team is, and who needs to be informed.
That 10-minute exercise is going to save you a lot of churn down the line.
Now, bringing it home to AI/ML, and a developer program specifically, I was at AWS for four years leading the AI/ML product marketing team there. I've had a lot of experience in aligning stakeholders around that for a large global program. But I think the key is that it really takes a village.
From an incredibly close relationship with the product team in terms of what's being developed, to a transformative collaboration with the events team, you're putting on developer events in different places around the world and, suddenly, you've created 10x the work that team had before.
And don't forget partners. In the case of DeepRacer, the project I worked on, a partner like Intel on co-marketing, just to name one.
I completely agree with Sally when she mentioned that building relationships is really important and core to what we do. It’s the same in developer relations.
Quite honestly, our primary stakeholders are the developers. Our developer communities are everything to us, and we put developers at the center of everything that we do.
We aim to foster a healthy collaboration and contribute to communities where developers can thrive, share resources and best practices, learn from each other, answer questions, and solve problems at scale.
But we have to create the systems and the programs that empower them and allow them to collaborate effectively with others.
This is especially important when we're talking about open-source communities, because it's important to give equal opportunities for developers to contribute to open source. And we really need to create simple and clear peer review processes in order to maintain trust and transparency in the community.
Having a code of conduct and some form of community guidelines really helps in understanding the scope and structure of the community, and helps keep the integrity of the project throughout the developer journey.
Internally within our companies, it’s very critical for developer relations to work cross-functionally with engineering, product, product marketing, and UX.
It’s important to consistently be the voice of the developer during product design and development, and really bring the developer feedback into our internal teams to make sure that all feedback, comments, needs, and expectations are integrated into our roadmaps and that we actually develop what matters the most to developers.
How to define goals and metrics when marketing to developers
One of the things that I’ve found to be very effective at driving trust and transparency is having very clear metrics to work towards.
This is another question that comes up often from the community: how do you define goals effectively? How do you define the right metrics when you're marketing to developers?
I think the first thing with any goal development is to really get clear on the business objective and make sure that you're pushing yourself and your team to think really big.
We're marketers and we have a very specific audience focus, which is the developer. That means you have a very clear opportunity to size and frame exactly what it is that you're trying to do. And that means you can set big, hairy, audacious goals, something like educating 2.5 million developers or 10% of the developer population on x products. Always try and frame it in terms of the scale of the opportunity that you have at hand.
Then you can get very linear and very logical about it. You can map the tactics about how you'd get there, and on each one of those tactics, have the inputs and the output goals and make sure you've got measurement systems in place.
With developer marketing specifically, you can be very logical and very precise because you know exactly the population of developers and you know exactly where they're going to find information as well.
I think the key is to make sure you're using all of the segmentation data that you have available, work back from there, and have those measurement systems in place so you can track, measure, and pivot your plans as you need.
Remember, developers are human beings with needs and wants, and things change. You need to be able to track what you're doing and the performance of whatever the activation is along the way, and be able to pivot and change that to do more of what's working really well and pivot away from what's not working.
Goals are just so critical, and I think we have such a great opportunity as developer marketers to be super clear on those.