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Demand Generation for DevTools - Dino Kukic from Hygraph Episode 39

Demand Generation for DevTools - Dino Kukic from Hygraph

Dino Kukic is Head of Demand Generation at Hygraph. Hygraph is the federated content platform that allows you to unify, structure, enrich and distribute content from anywhere to anywhere.

· 18:58


Dino: And then the other thing is in every space or every industry or the ecosystem, there is always some sort of emergent topics as well. So in our space currently, that's a digital experience composition, and right now there is not many. people searching for it even. But as it gets more and more popular, it'll be searched for. So getting those topics, , early, for example, could help the website, rank well and also establish like beyond just seo, like obviously also establishes an authority,

Jack: hi everyone. You're listening to Scaling Dev Tools, the show that investigates how dev tools go from zero to one. I'm joined today by Dino from Hygraph, and Dino is the Head of Demand Generation at Hygraph. And Hygraph is a content platform that's used by developers.

Kind of headless, c m s and lots of other stuff. Dino, thank you for joining. And could you tell us a bit about yourself and about, high gr.

Dino: Yeah. Well, thanks for having me. As you mentioned, I'm head of demand generation, at high graph. So essentially the. Demand Generation Teams cover, covers a couple of, marketing functions, which is, SEO content, performance, lifecycle marketing, and essentially marketing operations as well.

Most of my background is, , is in the B2B SaaS, and most of it is in, is in the seo. But I spent some time in PPC and web analytics and also in my previous company Revenue Operations. So that's how I now fit into this whole demand generation, , story. Uh, and that's for the high graph. Yeah, high GR did start as a headless cms, which started off, uh, late 2016, essentially as, first, first GraphQL native, , headless cms.

, but for a while now, we used to be called Graph CMS at the time, but for a while now we are kind of, not really moving away from that category, but kind of going a little, uh, step further perhaps. So if you think. I think historically about the cms, you had initially the, the additional cms, which was kind of tied to the, to the templating language of it.

So you would, have kind of your front end or your presentation layer tied to the cms. And then we had a headless cms, which sort of separated the presentation layer and the, and the content layer. And now sort of the direction we are going to is also separating. Kind of like, if you think about the headless CMS as being front and agnostic, we are kind of trying to be also back and agnostic, with the, with the content federation features, meaning that you can, you, we have like kind of a typical features like, regular headless cms, but also ability to, bring in the content from other APIs, which, could be, I don't know, product information management system, digital asset management and,

Jack: So yeah, you started out very. Niche and focused, and now you are, like doing a lot more for these companies that want to, that have a lot of content and want to work for it a bit better.

Dino: Yeah, well you could say like more in a, in a kind of an opportunity or, or not an opportunity, but, we started off, Niche in terms of, being graph care native. , but then this is also in a way also a niche, because it's, while it kind of serves the broad number of use cases, it's also a niche in terms of what the product does essentially.

Jack: And in terms of, demand generation, could you talk a little bit about what your focus is and how you split your focus?

Dino: The Demand Generation High Graph. Currently we're a team of three, uh, including myself, and. I mean, I joined company as a senior SEO specialist. So, uh, a lot of the focus on demand generation is also, SEO as well. So I would say like our biggest topics are the content and the performance marketing.

We are now kind of expanding a little bit more into lifecycle marketing and make making this, a little bit, more complex as well. So I would say like 80% of what we do is focused on content and, performance at the moment.

Jack: And as someone that's got like a really big background in. Seo. But then as like, kind of now looking a bit more broadly, what do you see in like good SEO strategies? Like, or what are the good companies doing that the average companies aren't doing?

Dino: I would say the big thing, and maybe also what we were doing, previously that we are now maybe doing a little bit better is I would say the average companies focus more so. Uh, what was our mistake, or maybe my, even my personal mistake, at the beginning was, creating content that sort of targets the user group.

So mainly developer, let's say. And we were quite successful in the sense that we grew our, organic traffic. Uh, we triple our organic traffic within the last year, so comparing last January and, and this January. But, there was quite a gap between the users that come to our website and, uh, users that sign up.

So having. Product, the good ones or what we are trying to do a little bit better now is to tie the product more to the content we put out.

So the good ones are, , tying the product , to the more of a general topic in terms of content. So you still rank, you are getting the traffic, but the solution that you're presenting to the questionnaire user, asked on the search engines, uh, is, tied to the product. So it also has some, business value.

So, I mean, I could give you also a couple of specific examples. So, We have a couple of articles that I don't know, like how do you, make your React app, , multilingual. And then high graph also has, feature the multiple locales. So we could write just a sort of a general article. That article, that's how you make your react, multilingual.

But then what we also do is type it. But this is how you connect the cms and then, , you don't have to ask your developer whatever, whenever you have to change a strength or, , or change something. , ev, I don't know, product marketing manager or someone, who is maybe less technical can do that in the CMS as well.

Jack: So you like solve their problem, but then you also suggest something that people with this problem might not be thinking about, but is a solution would be helpful to them.

Dino: yeah, exactly.

Jack: That makes sense. You also kind of cover performance marketing in demand generation.


The kind of classic thing is that like performance marketing doesn't really work with developers. The wisdom of the group that people say, but like, is that the reality?

Dino: , I don't think so. Like obviously, uh, it's not only just, uh, ma uh, I don't want my, to make myself obsolete, but I don't think it's, the problem is within the performance marketing. But maybe the problem is within what your advertis. maybe also how you are targeting, because I would say if something is, uh, of your interest, then you happen to see it and it happen to be an ad, you would still click on it.

So I mean, it also, for us, the performance marketing, it does work really well also with the developer audience. So. One of the ways we use it is also to distribute our content. So not everything , can be ranking in the search engine. Some topics are a little bit deeper and more, , we do distribute them through, , through ads.

On one hand it's quite cost effective. But on the other hand, , we do bring, quite a bit of people on our website, , through performance that way.

Jack: So is that where you think it works best when it's like a kind of in-depth piece but wouldn't necessarily rank?

Dino: I mean, like obviously the topic needs to be well developed. In terms of like, you go back to the quality of the content, you, you need to have something that is, uh, valuable. And then I don't think the means of distribution is, matters that much in sense. Like even if it's an ad, I think it's still okay, or at least, for us it works quite.

Jack: So it has to just be like really good and then you can't, it's an option to distribute it this

Dino: Yeah, definitely.

Jack: Yeah. Have you got any examples of what, kind of content specifically.

Dino: So I mentioned that we had kind of more general topics, but we also go a little bit deeper with, I don't know, like how to build some more complex system or some, presenting the architectural solutions of our use cases, which also. Include high graph as well. So those things, usually there are not many, , not that many, keywords that we can target for, that we can target.

And then like these, we distribute through the ads. And these are a little bit more complex. We're targeting kind of software architects are more senior developer, persona and.

Jack: And how would you actually target like a architect, senior architect?

Dino: Interest based or the, or some sort of a retargeting if you already had a piece, that, that turned out to be quite popular. Yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

Jack: You could use like Facebook ads and stuff.

Dino: Yeah. Yeah. And Facebook is quite, I would say, underutilized, at least in, in our sort of an ecosystem. Like obviously it's not really Facebook, it's an, Instagram. It's a, dis or placement. And yeah, it's quite cost effective and like, works pretty well. Yeah,

Jack: Yeah.

Dino: then, uh, we use Twitter maybe a little bit less than we should.

, but we were focusing on, on some other platforms for the moment.

and yeah. And then if you think about LinkedIn, obviously you have quite elaborate targeting options in terms of, job titles and, seniority and, and all like.

Jack: Is it rough like, way that you might split your spend across these platforms? Like as kind of a rule thumb, if like someone's looking to get started in like performance marketing space, like how, where they should start first or like what kind of proportions they might allocate.

Dino: I mean, I think it largely depends on, also on the strategy. Like, I mean, coming from the SEO background again, like I'm always pro to going for the search ads first, as, there is over the some level of, intent there. So if you choose the topics quite carefully, like, probably the return on investment will be bigger.

Going towards some sort of a brand awareness, or, going more towards the push methods, let's say.

Jack: So you are hopefully cashing them further down the funnel,

Dino: Yeah. Yeah.

Jack: Could you talk about, like sales teams at high graph and like how you work with them, , and like any kind of tips you've got for people working with, bringing sales leads and stuff.

Dino: I mean, we do work quite tightly with our sales team or demand generation team and the sales development team, work quite closely. And, uh, I would say, uh, maybe typically the, the North Star metric for demand generation teams is, mql, for us it's. I would say that this sort of creates a little bit of a split.

Obviously the MQL is, then sort of handed over to the sales, and, uh, they're the ones who are accepting or rejecting and trying to, book a meeting. For us it's a little bit deeper in the funnel. So I would say for our demand and team, Northstar Metric is, s sql. So, With which the meeting was booked.

And that way there, there is also some level of accountability for us. So while we also depend on sales to book a meeting or to do their best, to, to get a meeting with a, with a prospect, there is also accountability on our side to. To bring in the quality leads and not only to focus on the number of MPRs cause this is, you know, like behind the leads scoring system that we can, fine tune that we can be a little bit broader or be a little bit tighter.

But it's more focused on the quality and less on the. On the quantity. And then of course, there are feedback loops from there because we, we re review the leads, , because we obviously depend on them to achieve our targets. And then we also can re, re-shift our strategy towards like, okay, like these are the channels or this is the type of content that we need to be producing in order to bring, bring in people who do want to talk to us.

Jack: Is there like any kind of changes that, happen when you go from like, mql, sorry, marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads?

Is there stuff that you do like, okay. Well, when we just cared about getting like signups, then we were doing a lot of this stuff. But then when we actually were focused on the number of people that make it all the way to Booker meeting that we moved away from, doing this marketing activity because it seems like it's really working.

But actually, When it comes to people booking meetings, it doesn't really work.

Dino: Well, it, directs our content strategy quite a bit, in terms of, What sort of, uh, guides we are going to create, so we have also some gated guides that are a little bit more elaborate and complex that sort of provide value beyond just the blog post. So these topics are, defined quite a bit based on the feedback, , we receive from sales.

Jack: So the salespeople are telling you, okay, like the good leads I'm speaking with are interested in translation. And so you go and start putting loads of content around that.

Dino: Yeah.

Jack: Is there anything that you shouldn't do when working with, sales teams, in kind of.

Dino: Well, , I mean, it's hard to say, but, uh, definitely not, , not be sort of two separate islands. And then, I mean, I, I've been, or I've seen teams where, The sales and marketing are two separate islands. And what happens there is, sales team is not booking meetings and they don't, they don't, have a pipeline and where the marketing is to blame.

And then on the other hand, marketing is blaming sales because, uh, we are bringing leads, but then like what happens there is not our issue. Uh, so I would say like, that's probably a bad way to go about it. Uh, it should be more of a, collabo.

Jack: One other question, do you have much of like a developer relations team?

Dino: Yeah, they are, separated from marketing, but we also, collaborate with them quite a bit. So our dev team is, uh, a little bit new. So it's still kind of setting up. , we had a dev team in the past and then, uh, we didn't have for a while when. Uh, now we just have ahead of Gabriel and there's, two more people should join, soon.

So yeah, in theory we are already collaborating quite a bit on the content side of things. But in the future, probably, a lot more,

Jack: So in terms of that collaboration, could you talk a little bit about like, what you mean when you say like collaborating on content and then any other areas where you see that you will start collaborating?

Dino: Yeah, I mean there are a couple of areas. One is, we have our content strategy. Some of it, a lot of it is defined by us. And then, , there's a feedback loop with, dev in terms of the, the topics. And then also once the briefs are developed, they're sort of going through and see whether, some of the things, even make sense or whether they are. They're elaborate enough to describe what the product does. Uh, so that's one. We are also working with, they are sort of creating their own content strategy, I would say. Like it's more from the product perspective. But we do collaborate on, defining maybe the format of it. The third part is obviously the content distribution, which is, , our part of the job.

Once the, they.

Jack: And then the kind of final question I have really is, is about, , dev startups and if there's like a super constrained team, maybe there's only really one or even half a person thinking about demand generation, where would you be spending your time or advising them to spend their.

Dino: Well, I would say that. There is a bit of a check in egg problem there, because, uh, like what I was describing with our content strategy, maybe a year ago, uh, we were able to push quite a lot of top of the final content and then, that help us, you know, bring our, build our website authority and then eventually we are also able to, build some of the middle of the middle of the final content and then also build some landing pages where there's really high intent.

For example, , someone searching for headless CMS for React, the competition there is quite fierce. So, uh, you have to spend a lot of time building the authority of the website in order to be able to rank for such things. ,

Jack: so like the authority you were talking about, like, , if like the kind of high intent like react, , and that, that would require you to build authority quite a lot.

Dino: Yeah. So finding topics that are sort of in between would probably work the best. And then the other thing is, , in every space or every industry or the ecosystem, there is always some sort of, , emergent topics as well. So in our space currently, that's, , a digital experience composition, and right now there is not many.

people searching for it even. But as it gets more and more popular, it'll be searched for. So, , getting those topics, , early, for example, could help the website, rank well and also establish like beyond just seo, like obviously also establishes an authority, uh, in the space as well. So I would, uh, I would say that those emerging topics are probably sort of like a long, uh, low hanging fruit, for startups.

Jack: And are these kind of emerging topics like kind of obvious when you're in the space

Dino: yeah. Yeah. Uh, they, they are obvious or you come across them. When you are in the space, like I would say even, knowing the space or being up to date with the space is even more important than, sort of, knowing any of these channels because a lot of it would, would just, uh, a little bit of help.

I don't know, in terms of, performance marketing or seo, if you know the industry and the space, like we will be a lot more successful than someone who is great, at SEO or performance marketing

Jack: I see what you're saying. So like the skill of SEO is like kind of outweighed by like someone that has some good skill but also knows. The market.

Dino: Yeah, exactly.

Jack: Dino, that's all we've got time for today, but something we've started doing is A T L D R or T L D L, for the show. So if there's some startups out there thinking about demand generation, what would you say are the biggest takeaways that they should take away?

Dino: Well, if the startup is somewhat sales level like us, I would say having a very strong collaboration with the, with the sales team and, probably, trying out the, maybe not so obvious or forgotten, performance marketing channels such as Facebook in our case. And then, definitely the last thing I was mentioning, the thing about.

Following the industry and, focusing on, uh, emerging topics and as kind of establishing the authority for themselves.

Jack: Amazing. Thanks Dino. And, if people want to learn more about you or about high graph, where can they go?

Dino: Yeah. Well, uh, hi.com and then on Twitter. , just my name and last name, d i n o k U k I C.

Jack: Thanks, Dino, and thanks everyone for listening.

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Creators and Guests

Dino Kukic
Dino Kukic
Head of Demand Generation @ https://t.co/p36XS2NQBCSEO Consultant @ https://t.co/qNzEQxOFxe
Lydia Melvin
Lydia Melvin
Editor of Scaling DevTools


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