How to improve the coordination and priorities for marketing Drupal?

markhope's picture

After attending Drupalcon London and listening to Dries keynote I decided to look into one of the points of opportunity for Drupal - better marketing (Hi group). I've found the process a bit confusing and it's raised a number of issues that I think might be preventing people from getting involved.

I should add that I've been using Drupal for a number of years and haven't contributed as much back as I should or would have liked to*. It's a fantastic community and the 'product' is maturing into something amazing. The objectives for D8 are really exciting.

It's my belief that in order to progress the marketing of Drupal the community efforts need to be better coordinated. I'm in no position to (and in no way trying to) criticise the efforts of anybody when I say this. It's just my opinion based on my experience of investigating how, and where, to get involved.

These are the questions that I personally have, and maybe others new to the initiative might have:

  1. Who coordinates/leads the generic marketing of Drupal? (This group?)
  2. If we have suggestions on how can be changed to improve usability/visibility of marketing, what's the process? e.g. Dries highlighted the showcase as an example of where is missing a trick.
  3. Are there any priorities for the marketing of Drupal as there are for developing D8 core?
  4. Which are the audiences that the community should prioritise marketing for?
  5. How can it be made easier for people to contribute?

I hope this post will be taken in the spirit it's intended. *I'm aiming to commit some time from myself and my team.



Mark, one thing to do while

robertDouglass's picture

Mark, one thing to do while you're going through this, is to record the process you're going through. These are typical questions of someone in your position, and others will ask them when they're in your situation. By recording the experience clearly stating the answers you eventually come up with, you'll be helping the next person speed up the process of contributing.

Contribute page

markhope's picture

Thanks for your feedback outside of this post and I'll be sure to document my experience and progress.

The first thing that could be fixed is the contribute page:


Feedback from robertDouglass

markhope's picture

Robert was kind enough to reply to an earlier conversation. Here are his thoughts which give direction but IMO adds further to the case for a more coordinated approach....

  1. Who coordinates/leads the generic marketing of Drupal? (This group?)
  2. There is no general coordination. The Drupal Association is responsible for marketing "Drupal" (it's in our mission statement), and this currently means keeping * online and making incremental improvements, plus DrupalCons. Then of course there are the many companies that all market some aspect of Drupal with the recognition that raising the profile of the Drupal platform allows everybody to have more success. Acquia is the biggest of these companies and spends (by far) the most on marketing Drupal.

  3. If we have suggestions on how can be changed to improve usability/visibility of marketing, what's the process? e.g. Dries highlighted the showcase as an example of where is missing a trick.
  4. There are issue queues on for posting feedback. If you want to take a more active, long-term role, then becoming involved with the Drupal Association would be a good idea. You might start by contacting Neil Drumm and discussing what's going on and the best ways to get involved:

  5. Are there any priorities for the marketing of Drupal as there are for developing D8 core?
  6. It is not structured. I think the impulse from Dries at DrupalCon will open a lot of doors for new possibilities, but nothing is planned yet. Maybe there should be a "Core marketing" initiative with an owner in the same way that there are other core initiatives. This is something that can be discussed best on

  7. Which are the audiences that the community should prioritise marketing for?
  8. End users, Developers, SMB, Enterprise, Government, Higher Ed, Non Profit, etc…

It's my thought that the needs fixing quickly and this should be the entry point for people wanting to get involved.

The idea of a 'core marketing' initiative sounds interesting.

Marketing is many things

stevepurkiss's picture

Hi Mark,

Marketing covers many things, especially when using a platform such as Drupal. Distributions I think are key to the next stage of growth and there's new groups set up such as the Open App Standard one which should help us provide a smoother ride when branching out like this. Distributions and apps help us reach a wider audience, so they're all part of it.

There's also the Prairie Initiative which has been set up to make d.o. a better place to collaborate and easier for newbies to use and find their way around, that will help the marketing of Drupal a lot!

Having just won one of the first Drupal Community Cultivation Grants I can say I like the idea of doing more of those, but with such a diverse audience I fail to currently see how Drupal itself can be marketed at the rate we need to at the moment to the amount of people we need to. Perhaps that's because I see Drupal very much like GNU/Linux in the fact that it's something which makes something else work, and usually in those situations it's the something else which is marketed far more, for example Ubuntu compared to GNU/Linux.

That said, there is the 'intel inside' campaign - perhaps Drupal should focus on marketing itself in a similar way?

'marketing' is such a broad term

markhope's picture

All good thoughts Steve. I think the thing that is coming out of various conversations is that 'marketing' is such a broad term it can be lots of things to different people. Maybe I'm being a bit narrow in my focus - when I think 'marketing Drupal' I think of creating a proposal or tender that will be a evaluated against Sitecore, Immediacy, Umbraco, proprietary or whatever and what tools and resources do I have to convince the prospect that Drupal is the way to go? I have my own, and I have Acquia's.

I think what's lacking is overall coordination and, dare I say, a 'marketing strategy'. There's lots of people doing tactical work on the bits they are interested in, or what their individual companies need. Maybe that's how it happens with OSS projects.

I certainly agree that a 'product' built on Drupal, that meets a certain need and audience, is much easier to market/sell than a framework or core CMS (especially if core is getting smaller) Take Open Attrium ( - a great looking, easy-to-use site that lets a potential user (shop or client) evaluate it pretty quickly. I think Drupal itself needs this. It could make all the various products and possibilities more visible to people that really don't understand (or care) about Drupal Groups, patching, issue queues, forum posts etc.

I take the point about 'intel inside' piggy-backing/endorsing the products it drives. (that's your point, right?)

All the various initiatives are great, and the community grants sound like they will make things happen, but in my mind it still comes back to needing somewhere to pull everything together.

I've had a few suggestions and ideas from the various conversations I've had - one being, 'Don't ask too many questions, expect many answers... just do it'. I'll take that advice :)


Drupal is Different

stevepurkiss's picture

Drupal is Different (now there's a marketing slogan for you ;) - in many Free/Libre Open Source Software projects you'll find the project at the core doesn't do much marketing in the terms you're describing because the developers of the project are usually doing it because they love the software and use it, and marketing people being around are seen as an unfortunate side-effect of being a popular piece of software. I think Drupal is different here because of the fact the software itself is made to appeal to a wide range of people from end users to hard-core developers - and that's what I like about it!

A classic example is the Free Software Foundation who, IMHO, have the worst marketing ever, but if it weren't for the FSF then we wouldn't be talking today, but they still survive and thrive many years on, which makes me think is Drupal necessarily the right body to be marketing itself?, hence my original reply which says a certain amount yes, but I personally believe better could be achieved by doing things around Drupal as separate entities. It's been on my mind lately that the community is in a position now where it could potentially support an entire company set up with the specific purpose of doing the marketing you talk about. This could be a for-profit company, however I think it would have more longevity and sustainability if it were set up as a CIC - Community Interest Company, which is a not-for-profit but with stricter rules about where the money goes and how assets are treated (many not-for-profits IMHO are a sham!).

I think this could also be tied into helping Drupal software and hosting suppliers collaborate together more on projects as a Virtual Enterprise Network, and is something that I talked about at last year's Drupal CXO meetup in Brussels. At the time I had a lot of interest as there have been many ongoing discussions about this but no-one yet has managed to 'crack the nut' on it. I set up the DRUSHI site a while back as an attempt to start something like this but still haven't figured out a business model which would enable me to focus time on it to make a) the site a lot nicer and easier to use, and b) spend time on recruiting members etc.

There seemed to be more support for the concept at DrupalCon London, and remembering that we live in a 'do-ocracy', I guess it's just up to me to follow up on some of the ideas and just jump into it. The question is how would it be funded from the start if starting with zero funds? We could do a membership fee model but without previous success stories to share I think that would be a hard sell. I would be interested in any ideas you may have to follow this one up though.

So I guess my answer to your original post is I think there's only a certain amount that can be done within the * infrastructure but I do think there are opportunities for creating entities outside of that which could push useful content, connections and resources into the * infrastructure better than can be done from the inside out.

Of course that's just my opinion though!

Hi Mark, Thanks for getting

yoroy's picture

Hi Mark,
Thanks for getting this discussion started here. I think it would be valuable to read your outline of how you'd go about formulating a marketing strategy. Should we take a Challenger approach targetting closed-source competitors or go for a Leader role for example.

One source I remember having good copy on 'what is Drupal, Drupalcon, etc.' was in the request for sponsors documentation for Drupalcon Chicago, provided a good overview of the culture/ecosystem and made a solid pitch on why you'd want to sponsor the conference.

Anyway, it would be helpful to hear what your 'ideal scenario' would be for pulling everything together. Thanks!

3 points

tvn's picture

I agree that Marketing is much less coordinated compared to different other activities around Drupal. I suggest that to improve this state we must think of 3 main points:

  1. Outlining strategic marketing goals/guidelines/plans
  2. Improving tactical, day-to-day marketing efforts
  3. Better coordinated marketing efforts around major releases (that would be Drupal 8)

As for the strategic part, I am not really sure as to who has enough authority to work on that, so won't comment on it for now.

The second point is within our reach right now. And first step would be in my opinion improving the "marketing space" on d.o.

It could be useful to look at what we have.

As been stated above gives "page not found". And actually I don't remember seeing that page at all. Considering that another url linked from /contribute page gives same "page not found", could
it be possible that these pages never existed?

Next marketing related link would be Marketing resources. It is located in About Drupal handbook which is not accessable from main d.o page or /about page (See issue

There is also some info in d.o. style guide from Getting Involved Guide, for example Brand.

Then there is a project Enterprise marketing resources, status of which is unknown.

Graphic design activity is scattered around issues like brochure creation: (GCI project)
Creating adds for d.o.
D7 banners etc.

This is basically all I could find marketing-related, please comment if I missed something important.

A lot of improvements can be done here, starting from gathering everything at one place, creating clean guidelines on how people can contribute etc.

Quick look at other open-source projects and how marketing activity is presented/organized at their websites:


Though navigation in marketing section is a bit confusing, but they have clear mission and goals, description of marketing team and how to get involved, Marketing Code of Conduct, Brand Guidelines, list of active projects, campaigns etc.

Open Office

Very nicely organized page, answering all the why? what? who? where? questions about marketing project.

There are also press kit, quick and easy activities, Brand project, and even strategic Marketing plan.


A lot of usefull guides and resources gathered on that page, including social networking, Firefox 3.5 release marketing plan etc.

I think all this can give us some ideas to improve our own d.o marketing space.

As for point 3, it is very good that such discussion is happening right now. D7 release sort of looked a bit chaotic on the marketing side (sorry if it was just my impression). Things were done in a hurry, last days before release. Some good ideas like create marketing plan for d7 release came too late. I think we can do much better with D8 release with proper planning.

Disclaimer: this comment has no intent on criticizing anyone's work on marketing of drupal, great efforts were done earlier, the only purpose is to continue discussion on how to make them even better!

EMR, audit

stevepurkiss's picture

Thanks for your reply tvn and your research on other sites!

I can answer one of those points - the Enterprise Marketing Resources project was started at the Brussels CXO days last year as an effort to co-ordinate a similar effort as we're talking about here. I believe it was Steve Parks who came up with the original idea but I was the only person in the room who had permissions to set up a project on the system hence why my name's down as the maintainer although many more are as co-maintainers. As you can see, it sadly lost steam fairly quickly. We decided to start a project as we felt the issue queue would be more useful a workflow, in case you wondered.

I think an audit of the current material would be great - if Mark can allot any time from himself and/or staff that would be fantastic - I've devoted a fair amount of time over the last few weeks to setting up a Drupal Discovery Day down here in Brighton and have to focus on my own business for a bit as rent late again!!

One thing to add to that list is archiving older material - I keep landing on the druplicon page which has an "EPS vector logos and watermark" which seems very old.

I would say that AFAIK all the other projects you mentioned above have funding pumped into this sort of stuff so bear that in mind when looking at shiny things ;)

Quick wins.

markhope's picture

yoroy: I'm not sure I'm in a position to recommend any strategy at the moment and it would seem that there's plenty of 'quick wins' that could be achieved by just collating the existing materials and resourses into d.o.

tvn: The background work you've provided here is great and goes a long way to providing the bones of an audit.

Take Firefox for example and relate that to Drupal...

Community Marketing efforts: How to get people involved in Drupal marketing and give some direction (marketing the marketing!)

D7/D8 'product' marketing and launch: What end-users see (mainly the decision makers commissioning projects and maybe developers)

Firefox is maybe not the best example as it doesn't get 'commissioned' but it shows the separation between product and community. I'm not sure Drupal has that.

I also think we need to look at what commercial CMSs are doing: (Free with commercial company support)

Like Steve I need to get back on to client work but I'll be dedicating some time to this over the next few weeks.



yoroy's picture

Please keep us updated in this here thread :)
There's a lot to learn from – I love the 'next step guide' on the homepage for example', just beware to not turn this into a redesign of ;-)

Content Audit initiative

Grammarian's picture

There is a project to do a d.o. content audit and then fix what the audit finds. It's headed by Lisa Rex. See content audit.

It would probably be a good idea to join the Maintainers group or get in touch with the content audit effort to improve the marketing-related content.

Hi Jean Thanks for the

markhope's picture

Hi Jean

Thanks for the advice. I'll get in touch with Lisa.

project management rant

heather's picture

Your 1st and 5th questions are the most important...
1. Who coordinates/leads the generic marketing of Drupal? (This group?)
5. How can it be made easier for people to contribute?

I think the thing to keep in mind is to not try and do it on your own. Roadmap > Project > Tasks.

We're working on the "getting involved" section of the site, and the more Lisa and I talked about it, the more we realized it wasn't just about the design of a few pages on the site.. it's about the project management of the initiatives. It's about knowing who the points of contact are, and, at the other end- being able to see how one person can make a contribution.

Having granular tasks makes it really clear to see how to contribute. For the "novice" tag to work, someone has to spy something someone else could do, and tag it. The docs team "call for participation" is a great example as well. Clear project, clear tasks... people "grab" them (accountability). So simple and it's just a wiki page!

It's a people problem, not a technology problem :) Here's a sort of visual representation of what I'm trying to describe, came from a conversation w Leisa re: prairie initiative.

Only local images are allowed.

Thanks Heather - that's great

markhope's picture

Thanks Heather - that's great advice and valuable feedback. The Prairie Initiative looks to be well organised and it's fairly easy to see where and how to get involved.

I love the ideas shared here

zfactor's picture

I love the ideas shared here about creating some documentation to help new and existing community members get involved in marketing Drupal. I also agree we need to answer @markhope's questions about who our target audience is, etc. These do, though, feel like big tasks that need to be coordinated between a number of people and may take some time. It feels like there is some low hanging fruit that we can begin to tackle right away to better market Drupal.

For example, we have existing channels we are using for marketing - such as the Facebook page, Twitter, and the Drupal newsroom - we can begin coordinating efforts around. Because we dont have an overarching marketing or communications strategy for Drupal, I dont think anyone has used these channels to deliberately market Drupal other than promoting DrupalCons and pushing out news updates.

Why not look at taking what we have and trying to improve upon existing efforts as a starting point? That way we can begin to gain more traction while a larger marketing strategy is developed.

The Marketing of Drupal

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