Reaching All the Roles
In 2019, 68% of technical content marketers told the Content Marketing Institute that their top challenge last year was addressing a wide variety of roles. When creating technical content marketing materials for developers, roles have to be defined for both the business and technical categories of the developer decision-making unit (DDMU). Due to the complexity of the DDMU and the technical complexity of many applications, it’s obvious that the successful content marketer must create a tech content strategy that reaches multiple developer roles.
Who Makes Up The DDMU
The developer decision-making unit (DDMU) comprises all the individuals and groups that take part in the decision-making process relating to the negotiation and acquisition of products or services that are developer-focused. Here are the roles developers can have within the DDMU:
- 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 (DMU).
- Users. Those who will work with the tool, platform, 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/acquisition process by setting preconditions. They can be found at all levels of the organization.
- Gatekeepers. Those who provide the information within the decision-making unit.
- Commercial Decision-Maker. Those who choose the vendor based on the commercial aspects of a tool or platform, such as the pricing or business model.
- Technical Decision-Maker. Those who choose the vendor by the technical specifications, such as the programming language, compatibility with existing resources, etc.
Incorporating DDMU Thinking Into a Tech Content Marketing Strategy
- Begin with Your Brand’s Business Goals. Like all useful marketing strategies, the DDMU concept should first be translated into an overall business strategy. With at least an outline of this in hand, marketers can begin with marketing goals that connect to a brand’s business goals.
- Review Your Data. Before you launch into persona-building and strategy-making, take the time to review what you already know, or at least the data you already have. Looking back at data with DDMU in mind will give you valuable information going forward, revealing what you know and what you don’t.
- Map the Journey for Each Role in Your DDMU. This isn’t just the “buyer’s” journey. It’s the workflow your prospects within the DDMU follow before reaching a decision. This journey includes the interactions within the DDMU as well as with a vendor’s content.
- Build Your Personas. For technical content marketers, your focus will be on the technical users, gatekeepers, decision-makers, and initiators. Having mapped the interactions, you can now focus on those in the technical roles that influence or make decisions. We recommend reviewing Slash Data’s webinar if you aren’t sure how to get started.
- Identify the Right Channels for Each Role. This empowers you to develop a robust distribution and awareness strategy so that content is discoverable by the roles that most need it.
- Address Timing. Because you have an interaction map and personas, you can plan content delivery to reach the right people at the right time. This gives you the knowledge to create appropriate marketing automation sequences.
- Evaluate Content Needs by DDMU Role and Technical Expertise. Consider the type of content that will spark the interest of each developer role.
Initiator. What will the persona of the initiator search for when they are looking for a solution?
Users and Influencers. Once you know the motivations, technical background(s) and technical role(s) of users and influencers, you will have an idea of the knowledge starting point of those roles, and what questions they might want answered (not to mention documentation, case studies, and how-to’s).
Technical Decision Maker. Consider the white papers, solution comparisons, tutorials, and webinars you might have to provide for people in this role to feel satisfied that they have enough technical information to make a decision.
Gatekeepers. They will be translating your brand’s information to the rest of the decision-making unit, so you need to make sure they can do it capably.
The secret to developing a successful technical content strategy that addresses multiple developer roles lies in being deeply curious. Begin by focusing inside your business with business goals, existing knowledge, assumptions, and data. Then, start looking outward to your customer and audience. Focus on the interactions between the developer roles and the rest of the roles affecting a decision first, to simplify your strategy. Apply this knowledge to determine how, when, where, and what technical content you should use to best reach the categories of the developer decision-making unit, and all the roles embedded within.