Marketing and Drupal
What does innovation mean for you? Is Drupal still innovative? I journeyed to Lille, France to discuss these questions and more with some of Drupal's thought leaders.
My friend and the Drupal Association's Innovation Program Manager, Alex Moreno, invited me to speak at Drupalcon Lille on Innovation and the Future of Drupal.
I joined a panel of long-time community members, including Certification Community Architect at the Linux Foundation and Drupal Core Mentor AmyJune Hineline (Volkswagenchick), Senior Front-end Developer at Lullabot, Drupal core UX maintainer, and Claro maintainer Cristina Chumillas (ckrina), Director of Contributor Success at GitLab, Nick Veenhof (nick_vh), and Alex (alexmoreno). Quite an esteemable group, yours truly excluded.
Innovation in Drupal is a hot topic, and there were several other sessions, BOFs, and even Driesnote mentions regarding where we are as a project, what innovation looks like, and where we want to go. Our session started by answering those questions.
I was asked to speak about the business case for innovation, so let's start with a quote by a smarter businessperson than I. In the words of Peter Drucker, “Any business enterprise has two basic functions: marketing and innovation. These produce results; all the rest are costs.” This has been a meaningful way for me to simplify how I think about my work, as I have spent my life with one foot in innovation and the other in marketing and talking to customers.
Within the Drupal ecosystem, we innovate by figuring out what we can build that shows results for our end users, by building a great product we all want to work with, and by collaborating as a community to achieve these in a timeline that keeps Drupal relevant and valuable.
We market Drupal in many ways, but it’s not quite as organized as our innovation is. So it was good to hear Dries put marketing at the forefront in his Driesnote. It’s a lever we can pull in a faster timeline and more agile approach than it would take to deliver any complex new feature.
The recently formed Drupal Marketing Committee is working on showcasing Drupal’s unique capabilities and highlighting what people do every day with Drupal. This committee (Lynne Capozzi, former CMO of Acquia; Suzanne Dergacheva, Cofounder, Strategist, and Drupal Practice Lead at Evolving Web; and Nikhil Deshpande, Chief Digital Officer for the State of Georgia) each spoke about the marketing opportunity we have and is worth a watch.
Drupal competes in multiple markets and price points to different personas. Each market has different companies competing, and they all market themselves. Squarespace, for example, spends ~$100 Million USD on marketing annually; Adobe spends $5 Billion USD on Sales and Marketing. Each of their marketing strategies is focused and thoughtful. This means the Drupal Association must be clever with its resources, and agencies should expect to lend a hand. Marketing also “doesn’t work until it does,” so it requires patience and experimentation.
Agencies and developers already talk about Drupal (yep, that’s marketing!), and having a passionate and vocal community is to our benefit. A combined effort that is creative and measurable will be a game changer. I'll get more into some specific ideas in future posts.