Marketing to developers: What if the end-user isn’t the decision-maker?

As a content marketer, what would you do to identify and influence the actual decision maker? How would you differentiate your messaging? What type of creative content would you deliver to cut through the noise?

Here is how I did these on a recent project: 

Recently, I worked on content marketing strategies for Atlassian Jira software’s Data Center deployment model.

The product: Jira is a project and issue tracking software popular with developers, product managers, and product owners. It has three deployment models: Cloud (hosted by Atlassian), Sever (single-instance server deployment hosted on-premise) and Data Center (multi-instance deployments hosted on-premise).

The challenge: The Cloud and Server options meet the requirements of smaller teams who are co-located. Bigger enterprise teams, especially those who implement DevOps best practices, have a distinct set of needs that are addressed by Jira Data Center benefits: scalability, availability, performance, and DevOps readiness (being able to build as soon a developer commits, no matter their office location). The Data Center deployment is a new product and so many of the current server and cloud customers don’t know much about it. 

Content marketing planning workshop led by Delijeh Snyder
Content marketing planning workshop for Jira Data Center product.

The recommendations to Atlassian:

1- Focus on the actual decision-maker: My primary (client interviews) and secondary research concluded that the actual decision maker for Jira Data Center deployment is the “ Engineering Director” of the existing clients who use Jira Cloud or Jira Server.

2- Understand the decision-makers top questions/ concerns: Through primary research (client interviews), I came up with a list of questions and concerns that an Engineering Director would raise in regard to this software upgrade:

  • Availability: Would investing in Jira Data Center increase availability by running JIRA on multiple nodes with externalized data stores?
  • Scalability: Would this upgrade help us add/remove new nodes without going through downtime?
  • Performance: Latency issues impact my team’s productivity! Can Jira Data Center help with this by reducing latency?
  • DevOps: I have multiple locations in the US and Europe and that complicates the “build” part of the cycle. How can this Jira upgrade help my DevOps efforts?

3-Use these key messages to engage the Engineering Director and influence their decision-making process. Using client interviews and message development best practices, I created a set of core messages to engage and influence the Engineering Director:

  • Upgrade to Jira Data Center to increase availability by running Jira on multiple nodes with externalized data stores.
  • Scaling up and down? Add new nodes and don’t worry about indexes and plug-ins, they synchronize automatically!
  • Latency issues impact your team productivity? With Jira Data Center, you can increase capacity for concurrent users.

4-Build creative content assets to cut through the noise. Effective content should cover the entire decision-making funnel, not just the “awareness” stage. You can’t influence the decision-making process if the only content assets you create are whitepapers, high-level blogs and other awareness focused assets. The following are specific content type suggestions for various stages of the funnel:

  • Awareness stage: an additional landing page focused on Engineering Director’s pain-points and Jira Data Center’s relevant “benefits”. Use this landing page for targeted paid search campaigns instead of the generic landing page.
  • Evaluation stage: an ROI calculator to allow the Engineering Director to measure (and share the result with other influences) on when the company can expect a return on their investment. Additionally, this tool can influence the decision-making criteria; for instance, by adding the lost time/money to ROI calculator, we can educate the audience about the importance of latency issues on performance and the cost associated with it.
  • Decision stage: A collection of customer success stories that can be filtered based on the number of locations, nodes, and DevOps maturity. The success stories will focus on the Engineering Director’s pain-points and the key messages developed for this persona. Adding the “filters” will help the audience find the right material faster, and will help us cut through the noise and build an advantage for our content assets.

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