Marketing Drupal Need of the Hour: Dries 

missing piece
Pierre Bamin /

At a recent Fireside chat with the DIA, while discussing myriad topics related to the Drupal ecosystem, Dries Buytaert stressed the need for marketing Drupal. Here is a brief on Dries’ take on marketing Drupal as discussed on March 10th, 2022, with Rahul Dewan of Srijan Technologies and Shyamala Rajaram of Unimity Solutions. He passionately believes that making end-users of Drupal successful with Drupal is the main reason behind it’s success and the way forward. In 2009 when switched to Drupal, it helped pitch Drupal as a stable secure platform to build websites.

Covid Accelerates Adoption of Digital Transformation

From a marketing perspective, Covid accelerated the need for digital transformation of companies and businesses. There were many companies that wanted to do e-commerce starting the very next day! Covid also helped add fuel to the idea of remote employees for many companies including Acquia, though Acquia already had around one-third of its employees working from remote.

As per Dries, around six years back, Acquia moved from being a company that provides Drupal on the cloud to a company that provides a digital experience platform with Drupal at the core. Acquia has added technologies around the core as offerings to help marketers. Tools like CVP, Customer Data Platform helps customers be digital winners. Providing all the tools that the customers need to be strong digital businesses is key to success.

With CXP, CDP, email newsletters, and other such services, Drupal is loved by marketers around the world. With its open-source code base, opportunities are endless.

Dries said that just like content is the center of every digital experience today, even data is essential. You want to match the right content to the right user at the right time on the right channel. He felt it was important to recognize that in competitive situations against contentfuls of the world we win a lot- we win a lot more than we lose against them. While they are raising a lot of venture capital to innovate fast, Dries felt it is essential that we keep innovating too. He said, that is why we have several initiatives in Drupal: Core initiatives to keep expanding and improving out headless or decoupled capabilities.

He did not see headless or decoupled Drupal as a tool that markets would promote to those who are less technical- who use drag and drop to create layouts, who want to quickly update a menu, without having to go back to their developers. Today’s headless systems, marketers don’t like because they lose quite a lot of the things we have in Drupal – all the way from accessibility to SEO improvement to layout builder, WYSIWYG etc.

That is why Drupal’s flexible approach could easily win in the long run because the contentfuls of the world will have to figure out a way to deal with that- they are going to have to grow to be a bit more like Drupal. They’ll want to add these capabilities that we already have. And we are adding capabilities on headless and decoupled which they had before and so eventually these things will collide a little bit more and come together and will be less dissimilar. And ultimately what we have that they will never have according to Dries-Open Source.

They have a lot of momentum in the market, they are proprietary SAAS solution which is fine but we all know open source is better- more powerful, more flexible. We have a community around it and it is better for career growth and to build your career around. So they are never going to be able to compete with some of these things that we have. And therefore Drupal will always have a special place in the market. If you want flexibility don’t use contentful because you are limited to what you can do as they are a proprietary SAAS product.

Challenges of Drupal Businesses

Dries does not perceive the challenges Drupal faces today as a technical challenge, for he believes Drupal has a lot better than a lot of these solutions today including the Contentful. Drupal has better multilingual support, better workflow support among others. “Our weakness quite frankly is in sales and marketing. For lack of a better term, I don’t think we tell the story as effectively as the contentful does”, said Dries.

You need to know about your visitors. They want help to drive more business through their Drupal site. They want it to be scalable, secure and faster. They want to make money with their Drupal site. This is where you get CDP personalization to help drive business on the site. He said we do this because our customers ask for it. The requirements generally start with an IT-related requirement and shift to business conversations.

According to Dries, Drupal has always been successful because a lot of site builders really like using Drupal. That was key to its growth and success, the first ten years of Drupal. People picked out Drupal and installed Drupal and used tools like CCK and views to do powerful things without having to write a lot of code. Dies feels that is the root of Drupal’s success.

Telling the Drupal Story Effectively

Through the discussion, Dries talked about how important it was to market Drupal. He said, ” The marketing that we do, we don’t do that effectively today, we are great at building software, not so good at telling the story.” Even while Drupal is great software but without the software being marketed well-it means nothing!

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