Business to Developer marketing is focused on developers. They are the primary customers. Some people have questioned “Why should we even target developers in marketing since they don’t make the decisions, they don’t make purchaces.” That might have been the case some years ago. The significant role of applications in increasing amount of business sectors, has raised the position of technical people in companies. Technical people are higher in the ranks in companies and make bigger decisions than before. Past are the days that any kind of purchase is done by the “business people” only. Even if the developers do not fill in the form with credit card information, they are in the background pulling the strings.
This claim is supported by results in various surveys. The surveys are conducted by businesses and not academia so that methodology is often hiddden. While keeping that in mind, you should consider your opinion again on whether developers are worth to market or not. The below graphics in from DZone’s “Understanding the Developer” report, which uses Evans Data Corporation, “Global Developer Population and Demographics Study, 2018 vol. 1.” and Slashdata, “State of the Developer Nation 2Q 2018” reports as supportive source material. You can find good collection of reports from https://www.developereconomics.com/reports
The result clearly indicate that developers have significant role in purchases. Yes, if you look at the percentage of final decision (17%), it is low. But as I mentioned, what happens before the decision is important. Even if the credit card holder makes the decision, the tech team behind the person make recommendations which affect the decision maker. Rare ar the “business people” who can make decisions for the tech. It’s more common that teams evaluate the options and make list of valid options to choose from. You should the ask your self, who makes the decision then?
According to surveys:
- 38% of developers directly approve/authorize tools and technology purchases.
- 25% of developers can spend $10K+ without authorization.
- 45% are in a position to make recommendations.
I’m in manager position, but I don’t alone make the decisions of purchases. I listen really carefully what the more technical people say about the tools and services. The only case when I choose not the primary option provided by the team is when there is business or higher level requirement to act otherwise. My task is not to evaluate the technical solutions which to use, my task is to define the business targets and preferred schedule. I trust my developers to make best possible decisions on technology. I’m more like a credit card holder and gatekeeper in expenses.
This is also what Stripe’s survey result indicate. C-level executives understand that developers can have a major impact on business challenges such as bringing products to market faster (71%) and increasing sales (70%). Why should the suit people then make the technology decisions?
Of course it depends of your team and what kind of people you hire. I’m lucky to be working with teams, which have understanding of the reality and that costs have to be justified. They know that we can’t throw money around, but we are ready to spend a lot in high stake solutions.
10 000€ in a blink of an eye
If 25% can spend 10k€ without any other authorization and there is around 23 Million developers. It means hypotethically that 5,7 Million developers can spend 10 000 € in a blink of an eye. Then the total potential market size is Billions. Of course it’s not that straight forward, but the potential revenue from developers alone is huge. Should you consider your opinion again?
Money spent on SDKs, community, developer outreach programs, and marketing aimed directly at developers (B2D) does pay off.
Some more to read from 100 Days DX
- #85 - Great Developer eXperience requires fluent internal workflow
- #84 - Theory of Economics of Developer eXperience
- #83 - The Space of API Design Decisions is missing
- #82 - Purpose of API Evaluation Framework
- #81 - Should We Move to Stack Overflow?
- #80 - Four data driven ideas for improving API documentation
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