DevRel is short for Developer Relations. Developer Relations is exactly what it means, a marketing policy that prioritizes relationships with developers. In general society, there is a word known as PR (Public Relations); you could say DevRel is the developer version of this. Its definition is very simple.
DevRel is the marketing technique used to ensure that one's company, products, and developers establish a good, continuous relationship with external developers through mutual communication.
We will explain what DevRel consists of here.
The developers to whom the term "DevRel" points are those external to one's organization. These are the users of the services and products created by everyone.
Why did DevRel come to be so important? DevRel became a matter of importance because originally, advertisement was not created with developers as a target. As a result, the products and services one developed would not find their way to them. Marketing is used to make sure one's products and services were delivered to their target users. Marketing that does not reach developers does not have any meaning.
Thus, pertinent marketing strategies created with developers as users became known as DevRel.
If DevRel does not use traditional marketing schemes such as advertisement, how is it an effective strategy? This is because DevRel puts an emphasis on creating a relationship built upon trust with the developer. When a developer chooses a certain service, this patronage goes on for years. Acquiring a skill often takes several years, so disposing of a product immediately and changing to another is difficult, which means a lot of discretion is used when choosing. Through DevRel, they feel peace of mind in knowing they have chosen well.
Nowadays there is an excess of information online, so it is not uncommon to use the internet to investigate one's options when it is necessary to acquire a skill. DevRel makes sure the services that have attracted the developer in the past, or which have already earned their trust, speak the same language as them. A lot of developers keep blogs or social media accounts. Additionally, they also exchange information on their offline communities, or through messaging services. DevRel aims to make sure the services promoted are part of these conversations.
Getting individual developers to acquire products and services in large quantities is difficult, but through their voices amplified by the internet, these can find a larger audience. The marketing strategy of DevRel is using developers to reach other developers.
Any business, organization or individual offering services that could be used by a developer should use DevRel. Even if not directly targetting developers, if one would like to encourage the usage of one's Web API and SDK's among developers, DevRel should be applied.
Additionally, DevRel applied to the employment of developers is also a valid use of it. If one intends to employ exceptional developers in order to increase the quality of service or speed of development, or to expand one's business, fostering and maintaining a friendly relationship with developers is a must.
Which company first used DevRel is not known exactly, but Microsoft and Apple are well known for it. Both are world famous companies, but even before they were, they were focusing on creating a relationship with developers. It is said that Microsoft added an additional five Windows licenses whenever they sold a license of Visual Studio (the development environment program for Windows). Being able to develop attractive applications for Windows was enticing even for non-developers.
As for Apple, Guy Kawasaki is known as one of their biggest evangelists. He spoke of the appeal and promise of Apple as a platform for software development and pressed them to create a software development program for Mac. That culture lives on Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developer's Conference) to this day.
Many companies around the world, not only Silicon Valley, make use of DevRel. AWS, Google, IBM, Facebook, Unity, Salesforce, Twitter, SendGrid, Twilio and innumerable others use it. From small startups to international companies, everyone is aware of the importance of using it.
In the IT industry, it is becoming easier to make use of the first mover advantage on a global level. One can allow others to communicate and collaborate by listening to the opinions of users that are also developers, incorporating that into the development roadmap, releasing an early beta version and then receiving feedback on that product.
DevRel is not deployed through the use of one single element of marketing. You can see just a fraction of the types of marketing used in DevRel below:
Implementing all of these is very difficult, but it is important to make the right decisions for the corresponding stage of service.
Explaining concisely what one should use DevRel for is extremely difficult. The strategy should be adjusted according to the scope of enterprise and product, target, stage and objective, but as a guideline, there are the "Four Cs" to follow:
For more, check out our service. The easiest places to start are our blog and documentation.
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