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Effective developer events & developer sponsorships with Kimmy Leslie Episode 11

Effective developer events & developer sponsorships with Kimmy Leslie

Kimmy Leslie is a marketer at Stream. Stream power chat messaging and activity feeds for billions of global end-users across thousands of different apps.

· 13:08

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Jack: Hi everyone. This is Jack and you are listening to Sacling DevTools the show that investigates how DevTools go from zero to one. I'm joined today by Kimmy Leslie, who is a marketer with Stream, which are a chat SDK that I have personally used. And it's really good. Kimmy has an amazing reputation in the developer community and Stream are doing a fantastic job marketing to developers. Kimmy. Thank you so much for joining.

Kimmy: Hey, Jack. Thanks for having me. It's great to be.

Jack: Kimmy. What does community mean to Stream?

Kimmy: I would say that community is working with like-minded people in a way that serves the greater good. Uh, I think it means taking the time to notice that you are a part of a network and intentionally caring and interacting with that. For me, in my role, it encompasses staying socially aware, caring about people, uh, remaining humble, extending grace, having gratitude and never losing that sense of giving back and being human. I think first Stream, we're a people first company, so it feels like that naturally flows. It's our leadership trickling down.

Jack: Really, really cool. And I know that stream has run a lot of events. Could you share a little bit about what good events are like in the developer space?

Kimmy: Yeah, events are fun. Events have evolved. Uh, I have the unique position of entering this space around two and a half to three years ago. Right? When the world was shutting down. So events for me in the. Developer space have looked virtual up until a few months ago. A good event is well organized return for your investment, I think is the best way to put it. Um, it's about analytics. It's about touchpoints, but it's also about having brand awareness, connection, networking, and a good experience. I think a good event hits both those buckets. Which are a return for your investment and a good experience.

Jack: When you first joined Stream and you had this kind of blank canvas of events that you could run and sponsors that you could find, how did you think about that?

Kimmy: Yeah, that's a great question. So, I am lucky enough to work directly with the director of dev at Stream him and I are very close and he often reminds me, developers are marketing adverse. So working in this space, it's really about demonstrating. And proving why they need your product. And that typically requires providing a strong use case. It's all about hitting the target audience and customizing messaging so that, you know, it's makes sense for your goals. And a continual search for the right channels that are going to hit everything that I just listed.

Jack: And if someone's at a startup and they're not really doing any events or sponsorship, do you have any advice for them?

Kimmy: Yeah, I think that's a great question and thing, uh, to consider. When I first started in this role, my first year, it was a lot of research and, even trials, with sponsorships and, asking. Developers on our team, you know, what do you read? What do you watch? What do you find? Interesting. Where do you wanna go?

What should we sponsor? And I would ask. The different developers and the de team who are in those direct SDK audiences themselves, I would ask them, what should we do? Does this make sense? And they would either say, yes, do that. That sounds great. Or that's garbage. And I think it was just a lot of listening to the de team and then doing that research myself. Trial and error if it worked. And then what's interesting is then that second year that I was in my role, a lot of my sponsorships, rather than me having to search for them, it was about that community. And we had established with our devel team, a community in this tight knit space. So now I have most of those relationships and sponsor. Reaching out to me saying, Hey, we have this coming up. Hey, do you want your hand in this? Does Stream wanna sponsor that? Because it's all about creating that developer relations, right. And that's why we invested in the dev team. And that's why I think it's been so successful is because not only are we a part of our community, but we listened to our community.

Jack: that's really, really interesting. And do you think it also plays back into the product as well in terms of how it develops and all these relationships that you are building with different communities?

Kimmy: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, I'm not technical at all, but you know, within our team, We have hired our community to work on our SDKs. So if that answers your question. Yeah, absolutely.

Jack: One of the things that I really like that you've spoken. Previously is about how you measure, the success of different campaigns and, you know, sponsorships. One of the challenges that I've faced when working with startups is this friction between what will get us, immediate kind of like signups or like versus things which might have a longer run payoff, but maybe overall would be better.

Could you share a little bit about how you think about that? Um, and what you kind of do to balance it out?

Kimmy: So this is the fun part for me. Something that I really enjoy is creating UTMs for these different sponsorships and then tracking the performance. So like what you talked about with sponsorship, there's two buckets. The first one is what you're mentioning, you know, when we call that top of funnel marketing, so you're sponsoring something and you're just betting that there's gonna be a return on that, even though you can't track it.

And even if it's several months down the road, the other form of marketing. you know, the, the latter that you mentioned and that's creating a UTM and seeing a direct effect right away. So I love to select a sponsorship based on what we've talked about, you know, the right audience, the right spend. It has to meet all of our needs and then creating a UTM, giving it to the sponsor right off the bat.

So it has several touch. And then being able to track that on our end, through our marketing ops tools and team, and then being able to bring that to the team, cuz at the end of the day, you have to prove to your team, you took the budget that you were given and proved ROI on it.

Jack: And when you get one of those that does really well, for instance, what would you do then?

Kimmy: I think that there's no solid answer. You always have to consider oversaturation in our field. So not only is it about, you know, finding those right niche audiences and then customizing the messaging. And presenting your product well within this sponsorship, but then you also need to consider of you don't wanna just hit that audience again and again and again in the same way.

So it's the answer. Isn't just, it worked so repeat it for two years. It's different than that. So it's all about rotating, um, adjusting, shifting, and finding new channels.

Jack: Would you recommend that if someone's getting started, that they like how they kind of allocate their budget between like different events and sponsors?

Kimmy: that's unique to each company or startup. Our team works. With the OKR model, which is objectives and key results, you need to not only set your goals, but also understand your goals and then strive for those key results inside of that. So everything you do, every [00:09:00] dollar you spend, it all needs to align with your goals. Your question of where you put that as far as events, sponsorships, Ads, you know, it, it just has to align with what you and your team are after , the VP marketing at Stream is very numbers based, but she's also one of the most aware humans. I know. So we have a nice balance of human in a community, and then frankly, making sense. So I'd give the advice to experience with different channels. For a set number of time. I like to do three to six months and then track those results and see what value it gave you. And simply keep at it, keep reaching for those next creative channels that you can experiment with. One of a cool goal of mine is to find evergreen fits is what we call them as a team. In other words, that's a channel that will continue to give you results and retain value.

Jack: Could you talk a little bit about YouTube, it sounds like you've done some interesting stuff there.

Kimmy: Yeah, so YouTube is one of those unique channels in sponsorship, because it's, instead of that one time investment, it's an investment that is there, you know, essentially forever. So often our audience will watch it, save our video to watch on a weekend or hear our ad several months later and interact with our product even a year later. So it's this awesome creative channel that we have found. And we do things from ads, you know, Midroll beginning role. And then we also have started sponsoring channels to do full on programming tutorials, which works great with our product because our audience wants to see it demoed. And we also offer a free maker plan. And a free chat trial. So the sponsor can in real time, real time quotes say, Hey, sign up now and follow along with me. So it's been this great avenue for us to explore and be successful at.

Jack: I absolutely love that. I've seen Traversy Media on YouTube, do a lot of videos with like Mongo DB. I'm not sure if you working with, them. But I love the whole like, build something, collaborate with them. It's so cool.

Kimmy: We actually did a sponsorship with them and you're right. It's all about a strong CTA and a good title to that. Video to grab people's attention and developers love to do that stuff on the weekend, so it's been great for us.

Jack: That's brilliant. And you mentioned the maker plan? I won't name names, but I've, , I know you are the outlier in offering a free plan. And if someone's getting started with building a chat application, maybe testing out an app that they're gonna launch a product on and see if anyone likes it. There's a pretty big investment with some of your competitors. So it's really cool that you're doing the maker plan it sounds like that makes things a lot easier for you.

Kimmy: So we've always offered a free 30 day chat trial. Uh, no credit card required. Right? You gotta get that lingo in there. uh, but yes, introducing the maker account was great for my marketing efforts as well. It does have a few requirements. But it, it is nice to push people to that. Because I do work so hand in hand with the devel team and I do push and promote to builders or tinkerers, we call them and it is nice to have this option for those side projects and small startups.

Jack: It's it's really cool. When I was thinking about it, I was gonna use, one of your, Avian named competitors. Um, and

Kimmy: I'll say

Jack: wouldn't say it. And I was kind of trying to do it, and then it was so expensive to, for me to test out this idea and then that someone recommended Stream to me. And said, they've got this make plan. And I, applied for it and got it. And stuff. It was really, yeah. Very impressive. That part.

Kimmy: we love to hear it. I love to hear that. And like what you just said, someone mentioned it to you. So back to what we were talking about in the beginning, it's all about community.

Jack: Yeah. It's very, very cool. We are out of time, but thanks so much for joining Kimmy. It's been really nice speaking with.

Kimmy: Thanks for having me, Jack. It's always nice speaking with you.

Jack: If you've enjoyed hearing Kimmy's thoughts on developer marketing, you can follow Kimmy at Leslie Kimmy. So that's L E S L I E K I M M Y on Twitter, or you can follow, Get Stream as well.

If you're interested in building a chat application says Get Stream underscore IO on Twitter. Thanks so much for joining. Um, we'll see you very soon.

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