Marketing to developers is notoriously difficult. They are very independent, and hate being marketed to. On this episode of Marketing Trends, we talked to an expert who has figured out how to do it successfully. Vidya Peters (LinkedIn | Twitter) is the CMO of Mulesoft. In that capacity, she has built a community of developers who love her product and share it with each other.
In this interview, Vidya talks about the best practices she has discovered for marketing to developers, how to market to potential talent, best practices for measurement and identifying KPIs, and much more.
5 Key Takeaways: - "Three things make developer marketing different from everything else: One is they don't want to hear from the company; They want to hear from each other. Second, they don't want to read any of your content. They want to just use the product and see how that works. Third, they don't want to meet you. They don't want to see you. They want to meet with each other." - Vidya Peters - It all starts with product. A developer has to know and want to use your product before anything else can be accomplished. - Sometimes it's better to have fewer metrics that you can focus more intently on. - Focusing on features is a dead end. The more technical the product, the more important storytelling is. - With talent marketing, you should take the same approach to candidate experience that you take to customer experience.
Bio: Vidya Peters is the chief marketing officer at MuleSoft. Vidya was previously at Intuit, where she served in various marketing leadership, product management and strategy roles over the course of seven years. Prior to Intuit, Vidya began her career at Bain & Company in various consulting roles for the technology and financial services industries across Asia-Pacific and the United States. Vidya holds an MPA from Harvard University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern University.
Notes & Quotes: Vidya's Introduction to Marketing - (2:00) - Vidya started in strategy consulting, but craved delivering impact, rather than stopping at the recommendation level. - Moved first to product management and it wasn't a great fit, but she "found her groove" with marketing. - At Mulesoft, she leads the marketing team. It's an enterprise sales product with a long sales cycle. Though company and brand particulars change, Vidya believes that marketing principals stay the same.
Measurement, KPIs, & Developer Marketing - (6:30) - One of the things that Vidya loved about working at Intuit was the ability to measure very clearly and precisely the impact she was having. That was more difficult to do at Mulesoft where the sales cycles are longer. - Vidya decided to focus specifically on a few very key metrics that would best measure success. - Marketing to developers is particularly challenging, because they don't like to be marketed to. - "Three things make developer marketing different from everything else: One is they don't want to hear from the company; They want to hear from each other. Second, they don't want to read any of your content. They want to just use the product and see how that works. Third, they don't want to meet you. They don't want to see you. They want to meet with each other." - Vidya Peters - With developers, this dynamic is not just a challenge, but it's an opportunity as well. Developers don't like to be marketed to, but will happily market to each other if you enable them to. - "It starts with the product. The developer has to know and love and want to use your platform and product. That's table stakes." - Vidya Peters - Defined PR attributes around tier 1 coverage and compared themselves both to competitors and to best-in-class performers.
Storytelling - (23:30) - "As humans, we have been pre-wired to tell stories for time immemorial. It's how lessons were passed on. It's how you captured people's imagination. It's how you motivated and inspired them." - Vidya Peters - "In enterprise software there is a tendency to go straight to feature functionality, and I think it's the most uninspired way to market a product. I would actually say that the more technical the product, the more vital the importance of storytelling is." - Vidya Peters
- Referenced by Vidya: Atom bank
Marketing for Talent - (27:30) - According to Vidya, it's helpful to think of recruitment as a marketing job rather than an HR job. You're raising awareness at the top of the funnel about the company and culture. - Getting more people into the pipeline and raising your profile really can raise the quality of the candidates that you recruit and eventually hire. - Talent marketing should be under marketing, not HR. Otherwise you are putting an undue burden on HR and saddling them with a responsibility that they don't have the skillset to complete. - "The same customer experience that we talk about all the time in marketing, people just completely forget about when it comes to talent." - Ian Faison
Product Marketing - (36:00) - When you go public, it's important to simplify your messaging. You're not just marketing to sophisticated buyers and users anymore. You're also marketing to investors and onlookers. - The field organization needs to know the most commonly asked questions and where to access the content and information that will answers those questions.
Pardot Lightning Round - (40:30) - Most fun app on your phone: Spotify - Favorite recent book: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius - Favorite vacation spot: Kauai - Ad Campaign Envious Of: Retirement is about exploring your wide open future - Most excited for about the future of marketing: The speed of innovation in marketing technology. - Best advice for first-time CMO: Understand the needs of your cross-functional partners. - Question that Vidya wishes she was asked more often: What do you do well? Don't worry so much about becoming CMO. Just do what you do best and success will follow.
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