Marketing for PHP Developers

Out Of Date Warning

Languages change. Perspectives are different. Ideas move on. This article was published on April 1, 2009 which is more than two years ago. It may be out of date. You should verify that technical information in this article is still current before relying upon it for your own purposes.

A discussion recently took place between myself and a few others regarding what constitutes effective marketing, and how technical people can sell their technical wares. The measure of good marketing, of course, is not hard to identify: it’s how effectively your marketing translates into sales. However, there’s a large gap in many people’s understandings of how you get your items out there and in front of people who are ready to buy.

Technical people seem particularly bad at marketing effectively. I think this is because we’re fact-oriented, focused on the features and neat ideas our products include. We’ll spend pages and pages talking about the cool things that our tool or application can do. And then we’ll wonder why our client didn’t buy it.

Why do we do this? Because we forget that marketing isn’t about features it’s about meeting needs.

Consider if you were going to market a pen. Would you talk about the features of the pen – it’s ability to write upside down, it’s ability to write in black, and the fact that it would last for three months? No, you’d talk about how good it feels in your hand, how great it makes your pocket look, and how writing with that pen is going to get you a promotion. Why? Because features don’t sell products – meeting needs do. In this case, your marketing would meet the need of comfort, security, and exclusivity.

Hierarchy of Needs

Hierarchy of Needs

There is a hierarchy of needs that comes into play. This hierarchy plays a key role in the decision-making process, and our individual security in each level allows us to reach higher levels in the hierarchy. The more deeply we play to these needs, the more effective our marketing scheme will be. Marketing the pen plays into the Security and Esteem levels of the pyramid.

These principles are extremely important, but often overlooked by technical individuals. The person isn’t likely to buy just because our product has great features. It has to meet a need that they have. It has to fulfill some deep seeded concern – whether it be for job security, appreciation of others, or something similar. This isn’t license to be dishonest – don’t promise that your application will do things it cannot do or fulfill needs that it will not – but your marketing should be geared towards the hierarchy of needs.

Good luck!

Write better object oriented PHP today.

Object oriented programming always leaves you with a headache. What if you could master it instead?

Get the book now! »

Robert Lindsey wrote at 4/8/2009 11:19 pm:

Those getting started in the marketing game might want to consider posting an “opensource” app at http://opensrcphp.com. The site is getting lots of traffic and the guy who admins it is picking up a lot of contract work just from being in the right place at the right time.