Reaching Enterprise Java Developers: Dominika Tasarz-Sochacka
Over the last eight years, Dominika Tasarz-Sochacka has been part of an exciting journey, helping her company Payara grow from a small, open source project to a full on business built around their enterprise Java platform and application server. In this interview, Tasarz-Sochacka talks about how InfoQ is helping Payara achieve its goals of driving adoption while educating a global Java audience about the platform, what it does, and how it can help them.
InfoQ: Dominika, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Payara?
Tasarz-Sochacka: I’ve been with Payara since the very beginning, which I’m really proud of. I am currently marketing manager and community builder at Payara. My role goes back to the time when Payara was just a project, and it was set up by a company called C2B2. At C2B2 we were dealing with all sorts of Java EE application servers and Java middleware. That was back in 2014 when it was announced that GlassFish is no longer being supported, so we found an opportunity there to potentially deliver GlassFish support.
About two years later, we realized that we needed to do more, and that we actually needed to create a separate product. That’s how Payara Platform or Payara Server, was started. We started working on the actual application server that was derived from GlassFish, at that point. In 2016, we grew enough to actually register Payara as a separate business, a separate company. That’s where it all really started. I’m really happy to have seen it grow from an idea and a project within one business, and then actually developing into a separate business.
At the moment, I’m managing our entire marketing team. I’ve got a really great team of experts working with me. Our main focus at this point, other than I think the typical one for marketing teams as lead generation, is driving our product’s adoption and growing the community of users because we are an open source business. We always strive for growing the community.
InfoQ: How is the Payara application server uniquely positioned in today’s market?
Tasarz-Sochacka: It’s interesting because application servers have been around for many years. They are now considered – if not old – then at least a very stable piece of technology in the Java industry. What we see with our customers and in the market, is that application servers are still very relevant, even if they’re not as sexy as they used to be.
Although the industry is moving very fast, most users and customers are usually at least a few years behind the “bleeding edge” technology trends. While they do eventually catch up, it’s a slow process, and probably a bit slower than innovator-stage companies like ours want to see, because we would really want them all to be on this new, shiny technology. It does take time though.
InfoQ: How did you hear about InfoQ?
Tasarz-Sochacka: I personally have been an InfoQ reader myself for many years. I started in the Java industry, now thinking about it, a long time ago now, about 10 years ago, maybe more. I can’t remember exactly when I started looking at the InfoQ website, but it’s been a number of years. It was always one of the places for me to go to read about industry news, update myself on what’s going on, to see what the competitors are up to, and to do some market analysis. I personally discovered InfoQ by reading about what’s happening in the Java industry.
InfoQ: Can you tell us a little bit about the campaign that Payara is currently running on InfoQ?
Tasarz-Sochacka: We are currently running a Topic Sponsorship campaign on InfoQ, and have been running it for a few months now. InfoQ is hosting a few of our technical resources that are both educational on the technologies that are close to Payara, as well as about Payara Platform itself. The focus of the campaign is to generate awareness around our technologies, and to generate leads.
InfoQ: What have some of your strategic goals been this year? How has InfoQ helped you make some progress on those goals?
Tasarz-Sochacka: Lead generation is always one of those strategic goals for my team, and for a majority of marketing teams. Our InfoQ campaign is definitely contributing to that. We are able to generate leads through the downloads of our technical resources that we are hosting on InfoQ.
Growing awareness around our product and increasing product adoption is also a really big deal for us. As an open source product company, we want as many Java EE and Jakarta EE users to know about us, and to try the Payara Platform which they can download for free from our website.
Our InfoQ campaign is helping us achieve our goals of driving adoption and educating Java users about the Payara platform, what it does, and how it can help them. InfoQ is helping us reach a global Java audience, which we perhaps wouldn’t be able to reach via any other channel.
While increasing brand awareness is important through display advertising, our primary goal is to drive adoption through education about our products and the underlying technology. This is what InfoQ really helps us with.
InfoQ: How would you describe the quality of leads that you’re generating on InfoQ?
Tasarz-Sochacka: The leads that we receive from InfoQ are usually at the very early stage of the Payara Platform journey. I would say they are very much at the top of the funnel. However, this is the approach we are taking intentionally, because we believe in educating our users through high quality technical content.
On InfoQ, we are hosting guides and how-to’s and are occasionally advertising our upcoming events via the InfoQ weekly newsletter and special reports. These leads are, as they sign up, at the top of the funnel, at which point we begin to nurture them further. In time, they get qualified, if they really do find interest in our solution. The leads we get from InfoQ are perfect to help us kick off the nurturing process.
InfoQ: We know that developers don’t like to be directly sold to. They generally like to “try before they buy”.
Tasarz-Sochacka: Exactly. It’s even more important when you are an open source company and you actually provide the product that is out there to be used. It’s only later on when you use it in a specific way that you may require an enterprise version, which is obviously what we provide. Before they are ready for it however, we need to make sure they are ready for it. This is what InfoQ is helping us with: to educate them, but also first to just let them know that we are out there.
InfoQ: Are there any lead nurturing approaches that have worked particularly well for you? Again, you’ve already talked about the importance of educating your readers, first and foremost, before talking about the product. Are there any other approaches you’ve taken that have worked particularly well for you?
Tasarz-Sochacka: High quality technical content is what helps us most. This is through different ways. Obviously, we can go through a regular way of just having a piece of content out that is downloaded and you generate leads, and then you nurture them further. As an open source company however, we also put a lot of ungated content out there that is just there to be seen and to drive awareness, such as blog posts. A very important part of our offering as an open source company is a technical blog that you can subscribe to. This allows readers to be taken on a technical journey to learn about the product and to decide when they are ready to use it. But it’s all very much based on the content we put out there. We have quite a strong technical marketing content strategy, and this is what’s been working best for us.
Maybe another area would be just working with the Java communities and already established communities and user groups, as well as all the companies that are just doing something similar to us, but they’re not directly competitors. We work a lot with other vendors where we can combine our expertise, we can combine our products and provide an offering: both open source and enterprise. We’ve got a couple of those partnerships that we’re working on right now. These types of partnerships are bringing a lot of results for us both on the adoption side and on the enterprise sales side.
InfoQ: How has your overall experience been advertising on InfoQ?
Tasarz-Sochacka: It’s been very positive so far. We’ve received plenty of impressions on our ads alone, if I look at the current campaign that we are running. We’ve already hit our lead target about halfway through the campaign, which is amazing. And we’re getting more leads on top of that.
The communication with the InfoQ team has always been really smooth. If we ever need to make any changes, or if we have any ideas, these are being discussed pretty much straight away. If there are changes, they are applied pretty much right away as well. Our experience advertising on InfoQ has been very positive.
InfoQ: Dominika, would you recommend advertising on InfoQ to a peer? If so, why?
Tasarz-Sochacka: Yes, definitely. If you operate in the Java space, and are looking to reach out to a wider audience, you can be sure that the global Java community hangs out on InfoQ. InfoQ is very much to the point with regards to content. There are the five overarching personas or technology areas that you can target. What I also really like is that you can micro-target your campaign along very granular topics, such as Java, microservices, or cloud.
If your focus is on raising awareness and educating your users about your solution, then InfoQ is the right place to go, because that’s what people are looking for on InfoQ. If they can find the right answers from you, then you get really good quality leads, and then it’s all in your hands to nurture them further.
We haven’t really done any big sponsorship campaigns like this before. There have been lots of reasons for it. One of the reasons is that it’s a big investment, but then you don’t always get the results. We did try a couple different places before, and we picked InfoQ based on the results that we saw from our first campaign, which we were really happy with. I think for an open source business, it’s really important to be where your audiences hang out. Our audience is all online, and they hang out on InfoQ.
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