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How to learn marketing/sales as a developer?

How do you learn marketing/sales as tech persons?
The coding skill is great, but it's pointless if no one needs your product or you can't sell your product. I feel that being a dev with no marketing skill is much harder than being a marketing/sales person with no idea how to code.

Can you please suggest books, courses, guides on how to learn at least the basics of marketing for beginners?

  1. 12

    Reposting a comment I wrote a year ago to this question:

    Hey. I was in your shoes this time last year. Started reading a lot on the subject. Here's some of the best stuff I found:

    Ahrefs YouTube - SEO goldmine
    Growth Design - Comic book style product tips
    Matthew Kobach's Twitter - Taught me a lot about social media
    Everyone Hates Marketers - Marketing podcast. Refreshingly blunt
    Zero to Marketing - Short case studies about how to grow startups

    I got so into it that I set up my own thing — Marketing Examples — where I share short, sweet, real world examples of great marketing. Poured months into it. And genuinely think it will help you. All free.

    Finally, I'll add that no amount of reading is a substitute for executing. The map is not the terrain — Nassim Taleb

    1. 3

      "The map is not the terrain." I love this quote. Adding it to my ever-growing collection of quotes. Thanks for mentioning Everyone Hates Marketers, as always.

      Also, @vladyslav, here's a spreadsheet containing all the resources ever mentioned on my podcast. There are some affiliate links, but you can bypass them by searching each on Google.

      Top 5 books:
      Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
      Ogilvy on Advertising
      Purple Cow
      The Brain Audit
      Predictably Irrational

  2. 7

    One of the basics is deciding which acquisition channels to focus on (should you start with FB/Google/Instagram) for your product.

    I've been doing quite a lot of research on this with Zero to Users, trying to find which acquisition channels consistently work for founders.

    As for copywriting, I recommend Marketing Examples. For finding what your audience wants, read the "Mom Test".

    These 3 resources are the 80/20 for learning marketing as a beginner IMO.

    1. 2

      I've been really impressed by the analysis and thoughtfulness I've seen you share here on IH! Great reading and highly educational. Thanks for that.

      I couldn't figure out how to DM you on here, but I noticed that the headline I got on your landing page has a grammatical error: "Which Acquisition Channels do Consistently Work for Getting New (Paying) Users?" has the word "do" in the middle but shouldn't. It should just be "Which Acquisition Channels Consistently Work for Getting New (Paying) Users?".

      1. 1

        Hey, just reply to the email I sent you (darko @ the domain). Btw, just removed the "do", thanks!

    2. 1

      Cheers Darko. And yeah. I like what yr doing! Enjoying the issues :)

  3. 5

    Shameless plug: I run a newsletter that helps founders get better at marketing.

    1. 2

      I would recommend it too, even though it's not my newsletter.

    2. 1

      Is there a way to access the prior case studies?

      1. 1

        Not yet but it’s coming soon!

  4. 4

    I'm also from a dev background and I've found exactly the same challenges you have. I found it really helpful to surround myself with people that are amazing at those skills and then try to learn from what they do and how they work.

    I'd also really recommend The Mom Test which was recommended to me by someone I got to know by doing what I mentioned above. It goes through a lot of concepts of the best way to validate ideas and ensure that people will want to buy what you're building.

    1. 2

      I'm reading The Mom Test right now😁. Going to drop here a list of lessons I've learned from this book

  5. 3

    Start building something, and learn sales/marketing by trying to market and sell your product.
    You fill face problems/obstacles along the way.
    I was in the same situation. But just learning marketing does not give any results. It's like learning a new programming language and then not using it in a real project.
    Useful links:
    The best marking guide by Julian Shapiro.

    Good luck!

  6. 3

    I’m curious, Why not work with a marketer?

    1. 3

      Marketing is a soft skill that every founder should learn.

      These days, marketing is so important.

      1. 2

        Marketing is not a soft skill. A soft skill is something like communication, leadership, patience, etc.
        You’re right, marketing is very important, and that’s why working with a professional marketer is worth it.

  7. 3

    The book Obviously Awesome by April Dunford is a great book on positioning, which is the foundation of all marketing/sales.

  8. 3

    Check out the Sales group, there's some useful resources down the right hand side of it.

  9. 3

    I recommend "How I raised myself from failure to success in selling" and then making a habit of filling x number of potential clients in a spreadsheet per day and contacting them(Start small, and keep in mind that it is just a numbers game). Good luck

    1. 1

      That's a great book. Highly recommended as well.

  10. 2

    Hi @vladyslav, I recommend @amyhoy and @alexhillman blog on https://stackingthebricks.com. They came from tech background, like you.

    I learnt from them about researching pain points first before building my product, and then I also learnt how you can market it, either through blog posts, through email, through social media.

  11. 2

    I've read a few here and there, none written by developers but marketers. So those weren't helpful at all.

    https://shapen.page has some good articles on Jobs To Be Done framework that I've recently heard of. It gave me another perspective on my sales page and approach.

    Other than that I keep trying different stuff, without jumping into hard, time consuming work. I prepared some info products. Trying to sell a pen, before building a pen factory.

    Trying a lot and catching the exceptions along the way. There seems to be no magic formula for us or for sales in general. You gotta try, learn and improve.

    Good luck 🤞

  12. 2

    I have a few suggestions, I hope this is useful!
    1.) Donald Miller's books on marketing and the Storybrand framework make it really simple to write marketing language. You literally follow a formula, which made it much easier for me to figure out what people would resonate with.
    2.) Even though it's kind of gimmicky stuff, I think the Funnel Hackers / Russel Brunson intro information is really useful. It just helped me to actually understand what I'm trying to do with marketing (get people into my funnel) and how to set it up.
    3.) On the sales side, do you want B2B or B2C?

    1. 1

      I will definitely take a look at Donald Miller's book, thank you!
      My current project is B2C, but the big chances are it will fail, so the next one can be B2B.

      1. 2

        Oh, I hope it doesn't, and I hope you like the book!

  13. 1

    I have seen this resource. https://devmarketing.xyz/
    Not consumed yet.

  14. 1

    I went to college to learn programming. I've never met a marketer IRL.

    But in the past year or so, I've read some books and I'm confident that I now have a feel for what marketing is.

    I recommend ONE CHAPTER and TWO BOOKS to help you get a feel for what marketing is:

    • Chapter 11 of Zero to One from Peter Thiel - "If You Build It, Will They Come?" - this chapter was the first thing that made me get a feel for what marketing is. It'll teach you the ubiquity of marketing.

    • Influence: The Psychology of Persuassion - an uncanny number of founders have called this book as one of the most impactful book that they've read. It teaches you six way how humans are evolutionally wired to be influenced.

    • This is Marketing - this book by Seth Godin tells you how to look at marketing on the Internet. He explains how marketing is the act of finding your niche and helping them solve their problems. Marketing is an act of empathy.

    Finally, I believe learning to write well will teach you a lot of the skills that you need to be a good marketer:

    • Knowing how to empathise with the reader/customer
    • The tradeoff between being thorough vs. being concise
    • The importance of rewriting
    • The importance of being lean and confident in your writing

    I created a newsletter course to teach these skills to beginners - Clear Writing Clear Thinking. It has a few short 3-minute lessons to take your writing skills from Level-1 to Level-5.

  15. 1

    An excellent "marketing documentation" website for saas owners is : https://www.howtokicksaas.com/

    I accidentally discovered the site on Google search and its very helpful.

  16. 1

    A quite effective way, though it takes a while, is to go and work for a company that sells software in a client facing tech role. You’ll get to work along side the sales folks, and a be part of their pre-sakes and post-sales activities.

    That’s what I did, and I wrote about it recently in case you are interested.

  17. 1

    I actually wrote about it: Sales as Understood by an engineer

    One takeaway: stop thinking of diagram flows begin to think about funnels.

    In my Twitter account @SocialQui I posted about my Sales routine. I invite you to read it!

    1. 1

      Yep funnels and 3 letter acronyms :)

  18. 1

    Hey Vladyslav, you may want to check out this free database of business strategies by founders that I've curated.

    Good luck!

  19. 1

    Have you checked out Shopify's blog page? It has some really amazing educational content that teaches you sales and marketing.

    But before you ask, no its not just for ecommerce. I found it actually quite useful for bunch of marketing ideas for my product, ruttl as well!

  20. 1

    I have over 10 years of experience in sales. I started my career in the Financial Market as a Stock Broker and Project Manager. Back in Brazil, I worked for over 3 years for a startup, and the company provided online classes about how to invest in the stock market. I worked in the first office of the company, and I was part of the leadership team. We were around 60 people, today the company has more than 600 offices and over 64,000 investment advisors, and XP just had their IPO at Nasdaq Exchange a few months ago. The company raised $2.25 billion (US dollars). The largest IPO of a Brazilian company and the fourth largest in the US in 2019. I also worked for other startups that were acquired by larger organizations.

    All that to say that I am happy to help whatever I can. If you would like to chat, here is my contact. https://www.linkedin.com/in/thiago-martins-vieira-00a2071b

  21. 1

    I've asked pretty much the same question here: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/is-being-a-tech-founder-a-pointless-exercise-616ce49fe7

    The replies are really interesting!

    I don't think learning marketing is the hard part for me, it's the execution of it that I suck at!

  22. 1

    @MaxHacks Check this thread out, lots of gems

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