When you’re seeking to adopt a new component of your martech stack, it makes sense to take an in-depth look at the tool’s functionality and interface. You might also ask questions about the vendor’s roadmap — what its developers plan to add to the platform or tool in the coming months.
What you might not think to look at is the developer community surrounding a particular tool. The members of this group aren’t employed by the vendor but, for whatever reason — their own utility, their company’s agenda, etc. — they’ve developed add-ons or integrations that enhance the overall functionality of the software.
Software vendors can foster a developer community by clearly documenting their API, by releasing an SDK, by providing support and by testing, curating and showcasing these add-ons and integrations in an app store or extension directory or something similar.
The subject arose when Intelliphi principal Anand Thaker and I were discussing the characteristics that help prospective users differentiate between B2B Marketing Automation platforms. (Thaker generously served as advisor for our Martech Intelligence Report on the sector.) He believes a vendor’s partner and community ecosystems play important roles in helping enterprise users select and fully utilize a tool’s capabilities.
Looking at developer communities is especially helpful when considering a partnership in a category like B2B Marketing Automation, because a brand’s marketing efforts often center around this critical platform. Therefore, integrations that link the platform to CRMs and other martech platforms are essential for it to fulfill this purpose.
And cultivating a community of developers around a platform can provide benefits that are far from obvious at the start. “Third-party developers,” says Detlef Johnson, the SEO for Developers Expert for Search Engine Land and SMX, “can extend the application beyond what the original founding developers imagined.”