When you have your nose to the grindstone, churning out code day in and day out you don’t get the chance to do much else. That was the position alwaysAI found themselves in. Because they didn’t have the time to engage with their target markets, they were operating mostly on guesswork. They thought they understood who their customers were, but they had no way to verify their assumptions.
As part of our initial research, we interviewed developers and executives from around the industry to develop accurate personas. We quickly learned that many of alwaysAI’s assumptions about their target market were not fully correct.
One of the most problematic revelations we uncovered was that the developers alwaysAI was hoping to connect with were very leery about providing personal information. This made lead generation inordinately challenging. Tactics that might work in other industries would likely die on the vine in this situation.
The company also had very little in the way of basic marketing information. They had a website, but it wasn’t optimized for their purposes. They hadn’t been able to develop a pricing sheet. They had no appreciable demonstration collateral. And they didn’t have the time for long information-gathering sessions.
Further compounding their problems, they had no real measures for judging the success or failure of a marketing campaign, besides vanity metrics like website sessions. That wasn’t granular enough to tell them if they were really making headway with the developers they needed to reach. In a very real sense, they were flying blind.
As the company built towards the software’s beta release they were becoming increasingly concerned that they wouldn’t have a user base established when the time came.
We realized early on that our strategy would have to work around the fact that assets didn’t exist. We could create those as we went, but the immediate push had to be to introduce the brand and build general awareness. And we needed to get people excited about the product.
We decided on a longer-term strategy that focused on the assets we did have — the company’s vision for their future and for the platform itself. We would build a campaign, or a “campfire” in Beacons Point land, with short term tactics serving as kindling to support the longer-term strategy of building organic interest through deep content development.
Our blueprint process persona research told us that our target developers preferred to vet products for themselves. They didn’t trust marketing messages on their own. They needed to see the product in action. They needed to understand how it worked, how it would integrate with their software, and what its capabilities were.
We decided that the best way to reach a target that required such a deep exploration of the product was to create content. A lot of content. And specifically, video content. Video allowed us to present in-depth product information in a visual format that made it easier for developers to appreciate the product’s benefits.
We made product demos, real-world use cases, tutorials, technical descriptions, and more. We translated the tutorials into illustrated, step-by-step product guides. We wrote about the product extensively.
We knew that lead generation with these leery developers would only work if we could build a significant amount of trust in alwaysAI and their platform. So we made certain developers had no shortage of informative collateral to whet their appetites.
In publishing this content, we eschewed standard social media sites because our research dictated the target market didn’t put much stock in those platforms. Instead, we focused on specialized platforms that cater to developers like Stack Overflow and GitHub, and viable developer communities like those found on Medium.
As we rolled out our content strategy we were simultaneously building all of the other assets we needed to properly convert developers when the time came, including a knowledge base, a thorough pricing page, and backend automation.
It was an all-out, high-quality content blitz intended to cultivate fertile ground for the upcoming beta. And it worked.