Marketing to Me Is About Being Empathetic; Shefali Shetty | DrupalCon Pittsburgh 23

As the Director of Marketing at Specbee, Shefali Shetty’s role is exciting and challenging, requiring constant innovation and the execution of new strategies to ensure their message reaches the right audience.

She has immersed herself in the world of Drupal, contributing actively to its community and promoting its powerful capabilities. Alethia Rose Braganza, sub-editor at TheDropTimes (TDT), had the pleasure of coordinating a written interview with an exceptional marketer.

Shefali’s journey with Drupal began with a genuine curiosity, asking questions, reading, and experimenting. Since then, she has become deeply passionate about Drupal and its potential, utilizing her marketing expertise to spotlight this remarkable CMS. Shefali was also part of the organizing team at DrupalCon Pittsburgh 2023. Read the complete interview down below:

TDT [1]: Could you give us a brief look into your start with Drupal?

Shefali Shetty: I’ve been working for Specbee, a completely Drupal-focused organization, almost since its inception. We use Drupal for ourselves and all our clients. As a marketer, I have to bring Drupal and our Drupal services into the spotlight, which is when I started reading and playing around with the CMS as a content editor. I’m not very technical, but I understand how Drupal is being leveraged by the simplest to the most complex digital solutions. Now that I’ve used Drupal in almost every sentence, you must’ve guessed that I love writing about the CMS and its power. That’s really how my stint with Drupal began—by asking a lot of questions, reading up, trying it out, and writing about it.

TDT [2]: You have quite a few contributor roles mentioned on your Drupal. Org Profile. How did you initially become involved in the Drupal community, and what motivated you to take on multiple contributor roles within the ecosystem?

Shefali: I was always fascinated by the contributions my colleagues had been making, mostly code contributions, and how they’re giving back to the community we’re all a part of. But I did not know where to begin my non-code contribution journey. The first-of-its-kind virtual event, DrupalCon Global 2020, was the first Drupal event I attended, and it left me inspired! I had made up my mind to be a part of this amazing community. So when I received an email from DA about contribution opportunities in the marketing and outreach committee for DrupalCon NA 2021, I seized it!

It was great working with the team, sharing our ideas and implementing them. I must’ve done something right during that stint because a couple of months later, I received an email asking if I would like to join the Promote Drupal committee to lead the Strategic initiatives Marketing team. Since then, I’ve always been a part of the Promote Drupal committee, and this is my third year being a part of the marketing and outreach committee for DrupalCon. It is incredibly gratifying to know that I’m giving back to the community that has enriched my life in so many ways.

TDT [3]: What benefits have you personally experienced from actively participating in the Drupal community in terms of professional and personal growth?

Shefali: I think I’ve learned to respect and admire the work that’s being put in by everyone in the community even more. Everyone has different reasons to give back, and contribution credits undeniably play a significant role in fostering community engagement. However, at some point, you realize it is not always about the credits. It’s about something deeper, a genuine passion that fuels your desire to make a difference. And that, for me, was a huge realization and learning about myself personally and professionally.

Collaborating with great marketing minds, brainstorming ideas together, and interacting with diverse individuals from the community, has proven to be invaluable experience professionally as well.

TDT [4]: What does being a Director of Marketing at Specbee mean for you?

Shefali: It is exciting, rewarding, and challenging in equal parts! A marketer’s job should never fall into the trap of routine. You will need to keep innovating and executing new strategies to ensure that your message is seen and heard by the right audience. As a director of marketing at Specbee, I enjoy the freedom to build and implement initiatives, eagerly observing how they unfold and perform. I also have an incredible team to work with, which makes my job easier and more fun!

TDT [5]: How did you start your role in marketing? What resources did you work with to familiarise yourself with this career field?

Shefali: My career path has been one with many twists and turns. I started as a salesperson and then moved on to being a web designer and then a dot net developer. Not many people know this, but following that, I’ve had two failed businesses—one a frozen pizza business and one a website where users could compare hosting plans easily and quickly. Failing always teaches you something you’ll never forget for a lifetime. Mine taught me to market better.

Marketing, to me, is about being empathetic to my customer’s needs and pain points. I enjoy creative marketing and writing. I started my career with Specbee as a content writer, outbound marketer, and now director of marketing. Although reading, researching, and online courses helped me in my marketing journey, I’ve learned (and still learning) the most from my peers, customers, trials and errors, and of course, the invaluable insights from our weekly reports!

TDT [6]: What inspired you to join the organizing team at DrupalCon NA 2023, and could you tell us a bit about your role and the tasks you oversaw?

Shefali: Not sure if I’ve mentioned this earlier, but I love to write, especially about Drupal. As part of the organizing team at DrupalCon NA 2023, I’ve written a couple of articles promoting the event. I’ve also helped craft social media content shared across Drupal Association’s handles that promote the event, speaker announcements, summits, and more.

TDT [7]: Could you share some insights into the process behind organizing a DrupalCon event from a marketing perspective, and how do you strive to ensure its success in terms of attendee engagement and value?

Shefali: From a marketing perspective, the goal is to increase ticket sales and get a wider audience to know more about the event. It’s not just about generating excitement around the event but creating captivating experiences that resonate with the audience. We always use a multi-channel promotion approach leveraging social media, content marketing, email marketing, and influencer marketing to reach a wider network.

TDT [8]: What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an organizer in the marketing community, and how do you address them to create a positive and impactful experience for attendees?

Shefali: My role as the lead was to form a team and promote Drupal’s core strategic initiatives and simplify them for new users. However, leading a team of volunteers was my first experience, and it did come with challenges where we weren’t always able to collaborate at the same time and pace. Volunteering, in addition to a day job, is challenging. But the big goals that we set for ourselves could not be compromised.

Thankfully we managed to fulfill some of them, and some are still ongoing. We built a collaboration with the initiative teams, conducted interviews, and crafted marketing material like presentations, social media content, and logos. The logos were a huge hit with the community as that increased curiosity and excitement around the initiatives.

If you’re reading this and you find yourself interested in marketing Drupal to a bigger audience, know that we’re always looking for self-motivated individuals like you to join the Promote Drupal committee!

Disclaimer: The information provided about the interviewee has been gathered from publicly available resources. The responsibility for the responses shared in the interview solely rests with the featured individual.

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