Last Monday 200 plus of the brightest minds in search marketing from Texas and across the country got together for the annual State of Search Conference. A lot of topics were covered. But one was missing that should concern every Drupaler. Drupal was missing, totally and completely.
The day kicked off with the always entertaining and insightful Chris Brogan. The best-selling author and top 5 AdAge blogger was hitting the highlights of his latest book, The Impact Equation; currently the #1 book on Amazon for web marketing. He was espousing how you need to build your home base, e.g. your own website. His recommendation: "WordPress is the best tool for this." Note he was not talking about just a blog, but a CMS for your whole website.
The second session I attended was titled Link Building, but really turned into a discussion about content strategies - then using that content to build links. Several tools were mentioned to facilitate the process - all WordPress plug-ins.
This theme continued all day long. In five of the six session I attended, WordPress got promoted as the weapon of choice for content strategy and online marketing. (The sixth session was about YouTube) Even in the closing keynote from Bing Webmaster Tools evangelist Duane Forester, WordPress got shout outs. From a Microsoft guy? Really?
How many times was Drupal mentioned? Not once all day.
Pish Posh; Marketers
Now it might be easy to blow off this demographic. After all, us Drupaler's; we are developers. We are engineers doing real work and heavy lifting. We are building big, complex sites for some very important people.
But the marketers at the State of Search are not your usual collection of campers. Many are seasoned PR, marketing and tech vets. Their clients are not a bunch of local small businesses and mommy bloggers. They are a list of the who's who of big brands. And while they might not always be building the websites, they have the ears of the decision makers who are – and they are demanding the tools they are familiar with.
After all the marketers are the people making money for these brands. Us developers are just seen as cost centers. I think is wrong, but it's true.
I love the Drupal project and the community. I am a developer first and a marketer second - with a little bit of a competitive streak. Hands down Drupal is a superior technical platform. But, it was very concerning to hear such an influential group of marketers in lock step about their weapon of choice, WordPress.
I have seen too many times where enterprise class leaders have been crept up on and beaten by seemingly lesser, lighter solutions. It happened with voice response and databases in the early 2000. Drupal has done it by capturing much of the commercial eCMS market. Will WordPress creep up and take the enterprise space from Drupal?
As a community, we are not focused on Drupal solutions for marketers. For example, at DrupalCon Denver, there were zero sessions about marketing or for marketers. Just like we have evolved our theming and design in the last few years, we need to work on making Drupal a better marketing platform.
Josh Koenig in his keynote, Drupal's Destiny, at Dallas DrupalCamp shared his vision for Drupal to run 20%+ of the web. I love that vision.
We have the technology. We have the developers. We have worked hard to get the designers. Now we need to work on getting the marketers. I think it's critical for Drupal to reach its destiny.
Doing the Drupal thing? What do you think? How do we get to running 20% of the web?
Photo by: Junnuine Capturnes