It’s Complicated

Understanding the specific demographics of your content marketing audience is important, and generational segmentation is key. But it’s more complicated than that — 68% of technical content marketers told the Content Marketing Institute their top challenge in 2019 was addressing a wide variety of roles. For technical content marketers, audience segmentation by developer role is critical.

Why Segment The Influencers, Users, and Gatekeepers?

According to data presented by Developer Media from a CodeProject survey, 35% of the developers who responded reported they rejected tools. Another 30% revealed they don’t have to reject tools — they have full authority to purchase their tools. Based on the demographics of the audience, it is not likely that these are developers who have traditional organizational buyer or decision-making roles, like VP, president, CTO or CIO. These are largely experienced developers who manage teams.

Results from another survey, Evans Data Corporation’s rigorous Developer Marketing Survey 2019, suggest that most developers across many roles influence tool purchase and adoption. The majority of those surveyed by Evans Data Corporation reported that they rejected tools (some even after purchase) in the past year, either due to poor documentation or code samples, a steep learning curve, or a perceived lack of time to train.

No, You’re the Unit!

The Decision-Making Unit (DMU) is a marketing concept that can simplify how to think about the problem of developer role segmentation so technical content marketers can create a more effective content marketing strategy that will address the individuals (and their roles) involved in a purchase. According to Toolshero, the definition of the term coined by marketer Philip Kotler is “all individuals and groups that take part in the decision-making process relating to the negotiation of products/services.” Kotler further breaks down the DMU to six basic categories, including:

  • Users. Those who will work with the purchased goods or services, and therefore, will exert influence on the specifications. Both customers and employees may take on this role.
  • Influencers. Those who influence the purchasing process by setting preconditions. They can be found at all levels of the organization.
  • Buyers. Those who act as the negotiator with the vendor and will eventually place the order.
  • Initiators. Those who recognize a problem and try to find a solution for the problem. The individuals with these roles are the most important in the decision-making unit (or DMU).
  • Deciders. Those who choose the vendor.
  • Gatekeepers. Those who provide the information within the decision-making unit.

Making the DMU Developer-Focused

WIP Network (Wireless Industry Partnership) offers a version of the DMU concept that is developer-focused — the Developer Decision-Making Unit (DDMU), which removes the purely commercial role (buyer) and splits the decision maker into two roles: a commercial decision maker who decides on a vendor based on the commercial aspects of a tool or platform, such as pricing or business model, and a technical decision maker who decides on the vendor by the technical specifications, such as programming language, compatibility with existing resources, and so on.

Now What?

It’s critically important that teams making decisions about acquiring technical products have a clear technical understanding of the value and specifications of those products. These DDMU teams are best able to make these decisions based on the quality of the technical content they use to inform themselves. This points not only to brands offering the highest-quality technical content, but also to the highest-clarity technical content. Brands that succeed at this understand the composition of their customers’ DDMUs and take the time to segment the DDMU as an audience as well as a buyer.

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