First of all, thank you for reading this post. Odds are it’s going to be pretty long, so bear with me. My name is Tessa Kriesel and I am the founder of Devocate and I have a big idea.
A Little More About Me
Before I get into telling you my big idea, I should tell you a little bit more about myself. I am possibly the most extroverted, self-taught web developer you will meet. I LOVE meeting new people—especially people who are natural problem-solvers and analytical (usually developers). Starting in Joomla, dabbling in Drupal and landing in WordPress, I have been a developer for over 10 years. Not only do I enjoy spending time with developers, but I understand them and what they care about. When someone tells me about their favorite new product, I relate and understand the need for the new product.
Developer turned Marketer Marketer Turned Developer
My original career goal was to be a police officer and eventually an investigator. When I realized that life was full of boring paperwork, I moved onto business management with a marketing emphasis. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I started in hospitality management and was a natural when it came to new marketing ideas. When I grew sick of hospitality hours (think late night restaurant management) I decided it was time to dig deeper into my true passion—technology. I taught myself how to code and built a Guitar Hero tournament website & community. Fun Fact: my website was eventually showcased by Activision in their official forums.
Building community and bringing people together has and always will be a passion for me. With my background in marketing, I have been able to better relate and understand the business needs behind the code I am writing. Which has made me a great fit for more complicated roles like developer relations—which is basically authentic developer sales & marketing.
Devocate, The Big Idea
Okay, enough about me. I need to tell you about my idea. Devocate came to life as I was trying to find software to support an advocacy program I was building at my previous employer, Pantheon. We had very distinct needs because our advocates were almost all developers. You can read a bit more about what the program looked like in my personal blog post. I started writing down all the features a custom tool would need to do and how it would work—planning to have this built for just our program. Then I realized, if this was a need we had, it was likely a need other tech companies would have and Devocate started coming to life.
My original idea was to have a SaaS product that would allow companies to easily create a customer advocacy program. There would be walk-through’s on how to recognize who your super fans (happiest customers) are and campaigns focused on engaging your customers deeper. In these campaigns, there would be example challenges that your super fans could easily complete that would help spread positive word-of-mouth about your product. By doing all of this, you build a deeper relationship with your customers. They will become even bigger fans of your product because they see that you care about them, causing them to want to tell even more people about how great your product is. The product will be filled with tips, examples, premium content, and of course all the necessary features to easily manage your super fans and customer engagement campaigns.
It Gets Better
This is all exciting stuff, right? Well it get’s better. After a few discussions, I realized that Devocate can be even more than a product—it can be a network. What if developers joined our platform and instead of only engaging with the one company that referred them, they were able to participate in multiple programs with all of their favorite products? This means that we can hand-deliver super fans to companies without any work on their part. This also means that the super fans will be spending more time on the platform while they engage with all of their favorite product companies.
Companies who are not subscribers of our platform would receive reminders about the pending super fans they are missing out on by not taking part. This allows us to build a robust, fully featured platform as well as a network full of developers willing to talk about the products they use and love.
So, How Do We Get There?
My sole focus & goal of Devocate is to build the SaaS + developer network. However, while I try to reach that goal, I want to help as many customers as possible see the true value in customer engagement. Today, Devocate serves as a consulting/marketing agency while I work one-on-one with product companies to increase brand awareness & revenue through customer advocacy and engagement. We are currently working on a WordPress plugin that would be a mini version of our future SaaS solution to help kick start companies with this idea of engaging their customers.
I am still working through the logistics of how to get to our end goal. One idea is to bootstrap the SaaS solution through our consulting and WordPress plugin revenue. While another is to reach out to incubators, accelerators or investors. In the meantime, we are excited to work with product companies that have 1, or all, of 3 goals we try to focus on; increased brand awareness, increased revenue, and engaging customers.
Whether you are a new product company who needs a few external influential developers to get your product off the ground, or you are a wildly successful product company who needs to engage with their customers more to educate product growth, we are here to help.
Schedule a Consult to learn more about how we can help your product company.