Nisha Baxi

I’ve spent roughly a decade in developer marketing. I started my career at Microsoft and was there for five and a half years. Then I was at Facebook, and then Salesforce. Currently, I run community and digital customer success at Gong. 

Hall Hoyt

I specialize in developer marketing and emerging technologies. I started my career in education. I was very passionate about bringing university students into the real world, teaching them how to think critically, and also inserting them into the fabric of their current community. 

I worked on a project with Google, and I saw the power of transforming students into developers and how that could change their world and the world of the people around them. So, I went back to school, transitioned into the tech world, and landed at IBM, where I learned a lot about the go-to-market process. 

I got to work in AI and became obsessed with AR, so I transitioned over to Meta, where I started working with the top AR creators in the world. Then I got this cool opportunity to work with Niantic and bring their new product to developers everywhere. 

I've also started a new side business called Community Hall that focuses on developer marketing. 

The best ways to segment developers

Nisha Baxi

Tell me about the key characteristics or criteria that are typically used to segment developers?

Hall Hoyt

There are three big buckets that I've focused on in my career. The first one is all about experience level. 

When I was at Meta, we talked about something called the head, the torso, and the tail. It's this pyramid diagram where you've got some developers at the top who are leading innovation, leading what good looks like, and they're working with the biggest brands around the biggest enterprise projects. 

Then you've got the torso. Those are folks who are making their money off your product and making their living. For example, they’re using Facebook to build AR filters. They might not be working for the McDonalds and Coca-Colas of the world, but they're still making enough money to do this on a day-to-day basis. 

And then you've got the tail where most of the developers live. They're hobbyists, they're new, they're students, and they want to learn and experiment and have a community as they do that. 

Experience level is one of the main ways that I have segmented developers in my career. But then there's also the geography aspect. I saw this very clearly cut out in working not only at Meta but also at Niantic. 

One of the things that I noticed most was that the geography segmentation helps with developer monetization. For example, if I've got developers in Asia, it’s very important to not only segment the developers but segment the brands as well because brands are looking to work with local developers who understand the culture. 

That’s how we hired as well, by looking for North American and LATAM program managers, etc. 

Lastly, it's all about community involvement. We've got these developers segmented by geography and experience level, but then how are they giving back to the community? How are they propping that up and letting it grow? 

I have folks who are like the learning champions. They make their own learning resources and they're in Discord helping other people. I've got the community engagement, folks who want to plan hackathons. Maybe they're not the strongest developers, but they know how to bring developers together, and I count them as advocates

And then I've got people who are just innovators, and people who inspire others. 

There are different ways that I utilize those segments to address how we give out resources and how we market our product.

In terms of how that plays into product development, with experience level, I think through a few things. 

You have to have a product team that understands segmentation too. I've worked at companies where the product team hadn't been given that information, and that's something that I think is the responsibility of a developer marketer, to bring them on that journey and help them understand why the context of a segmentation matters. 

When I’d work with the top experience level, I’d bring the head creators in for alphas and intensive betas where we got them all together at things like Miami hack week. They were all living in a loft together and building and we had all of the product team there learning with them. 

The product might not be there yet at that stage, but they're going to be able to crack the code. And it's okay if the product isn't shiny and perfect and there aren't learning resources. 

You get really great feedback for finishing a product all the way for developers to use it as a whole. 

If you're looking for that lower experience level and how to shape your product for everybody, the Discord is the greatest spot where you can find that feedback and where you can find people running into issues. If you're wanting to grow and scale your product, being able to connect with that lower-level developer segment is what's going to get you over that scale hump.