Why developer marketing must be part of every fintech marketing strategy to improve efficiency, velocity, revenue and retention

Topping $425 billion just last year, SaaS and business software brands are booming, with an estimated 11% growth projected over the next 5 years. 

Regardless of whether you’re solving payment challenges, leveraging smart contracts or improving revenue management, capturing market share with ISVs and enterprise software represents a significant opportunity for fintech – if only you can get your tech in the right hands.

This begs the question: Should your efforts exclusively target C-suite financial decision makers? The data (keep reading) and our experience say no.

Too often, looking only to the check-writers loses sight of someone who significantly impacts solution selection: The developer.

The CFO may like the deal, but the dev needs to live with the promise (or pain) that comes with the decision. They’re hands-on-keyboard and their voices will be heard. The question is, are they an advocate or adversary?

In this article we’re going to teach you:

  1. Why it’s important to market to developers (as opposed to only executives) 
  2. How to connect with the developer community (known for their astute skepticism and BS detectors)
  3. Where to connect with developers (spoiler, it’s not on TikTok…yet)

Why it’s important for fintechs to market to developers

According to a survey distributed to a dev community by DeveloperMedia:

  • 34.5% of developers are usually vetoing the choices that the purchaser has already made 
  • 30% of developers never have to reject a product decision to begin with because they have the autonomy to choose their own tools 

Additionally, Envisionit hired an outside research firm to collect input from both small business merchants and ISVs on how they make purchasing decisions. The study reported that among merchants who sell through eCommerce channels, more than half claim that their developers play a key role in choosing a provider.

With more businesses relying on third party integrations to satisfy financial requirements and increase speed to market, the need to secure these partnerships right out of the gate is critical. To cut out waste, sophisticated organizations are recognizing more and more that both product and finance need a shared dialog when it comes to decision making.

The opportunity for fintech is to help facilitate this conversation by addressing both parties’ concerns, while helping bridge any gaps between them.

And being that we’re talking about financial software, it’s easy for marketers to focus too heavily on one side.

Sum it up: When marketing your B2B fintech solution, the lines of who’s the influencer vs. decision marker are becoming increasingly blurred. You can still target the executive audience, but make sure you have a strategy in place to connect with developers as well. 

How to connect with developers through B2D marketing in fintech

No matter which type of financial technology you’re marketing, you need to be inside your ideal buyer’s head with a deep understanding their pain points – and you’ve gotta move fast.

But what if your ideal buyer’s head doesn’t want to be marketed to? 

Surely everyone wants to be marketed to, right? How else would you have finally bought those Zappos sneakers that chased you around the internet for 3 weeks, right?

Not exactly.

When we asked one of our star developers, Scott Trsar, about how software marketing impacts his preferences, he said: “The honest truth is devs don’t want to be marketed to.” Period.

That’s why if you want to attract and resonate with engineers and product leads, it’s critical to execute B2D marketing the right way. Otherwise, you’ll get the good ol’, “No thank you, next.”

So let’s get into what smart B2D communication looks like.

Language: Terminology and tone must be authentic

Three key points when trying to communicate with an engineer:

  1. Typical marketing lingo will immediately turn developers off
  2. Objective (not subjective) data is your holy grail
  3. Dropping terminology the wrong way will make you sound like a Gen Y trying to speak Gen Z

We’re lucky to work with devs all day at Envisionit – conversing about tech, tokens and especially tacos. So when we started working with Braintree, we already understood that their developer audience easily saw through profit motives, and that our messaging had to be to-the-point and unobtrusive. 

Here’s how we genuinely “talked the talk” for Braintree:

Messaging and creative tailored for developers

  • The key to building a successful relationship with Braintree’s most important audience was understanding their mindset. More than anyone, developers and engineers understand when someone’s trying to trick them, and can sniff out disingenuous marketing immediately.
  • Efforts to speak to them must be straightforward, clear, honest — and above all, useful.

Smart content for developers 

  • Content with a purpose is far more compelling to engineers than content without inherent value, so every campaign has to have a use case
  • With our Braintree “Thoughtfully” campaign, we knew that while engineers and product leads may not be connected to the financial arm, they obviously have brilliant technological knowledge. So to bridge that gap, we armed developers with a toolkit to help educate financial stakeholders on Braintree’s benefits.
  • This role cares about different value propositions. So we were thoughtful to deliver on each rather than pushing only one point of view.

The result? Users enthusiastically engaged with the Braintree brand — and each other — across development hubs, social media, paid media, and even our sponsored pedicab fleet at SXSW.

Sum it up: While your product team will provide features and benefits, and your marketing team will create demand, ask your developers to review your B2D marketing messaging and materials so they can give their personal response.  

Where to connect with developers

There are certain platforms that index extremely high with developers, particularly where they can communicate with the peers they trust most. 

Here are a few channels where our devs report they do their tech research:

Developer communities

  • GitHub: A code-hosting platform for version control and collaboration, letting devs work together on projects from anywhere.
  • Stack Overflow: A community-based space to find and contribute answers to technical questions.

Developers on social media

  • Qusai Farraj, Software Engineer: “I use social channels like Twitter and Medium to know if the tech is recommended, popular and if there is good community support or org support for it.”
  • Adam Kelsven, Web Developer: “I usually just look for good documentation. If I do look at social, it’s Twitter.”

Not only did our devs cite Twitter as a preferred social channel for research, Dr. Leif Singer’s blog, which “explores how developers can work together better,” revealed three important areas that Twitter supports developers: awareness, learning and relationships.

Dev centers and sandboxes

While communities and social channels help developers collect and share software intel with peers, the developer center on your brand’s website is where they go to make their ultimate decision.

Best piece of advice we can give you based on input from our developers: Make it easy for them. 

“I’m essentially searching for a solution to a problem,” explains Scott. “So when I visit a technology’s website, it’s all about clarity at first look. If I’m not clear on what the software solves, I’m out.” 

If you’ve hooked them at first sight, next they’ll venture down to your footer to look for API documentation. “If it’s robust, documented clearly and makes sense to me, then I trust the builder right away,” says Scott.

Scott also looks at reviews on the tech’s site. “I’ll read through the support message boards and see what people are complaining about. The company’s responses show whether they care about their community.” 

Sum it up: Clear solution. Authentic voice. Can’t lose.

Envisionit’s conclusion

The main point we want to help you grasp is how important it is to connect with developers in the right way in addition to your executive audience because devs are already making the final tech purchasing decisions.

Now that you understand this critical piece, you can get started creating messaging and content that resonates with this persona. At the same time, you should be listening, learning and contributing in developer communities to better understand what this audience needs and how you can share it with them.

If you found this B2D marketing information helpful, stay tuned as we continue our series on developer marketing best practices.

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