Drupal Gardens, Microsites and Marketers: The Time is Finally Here!
by Lynne Capozzi
A few weeks ago as most of you know we launched the first private beta version of Drupal Gardens, a project we’ve been working on for the last year and what we hope will be a huge step in taking Drupal to the masses.
For the seasoned Drupalist, Gardens definitely holds great potential and excitement. As Acquia’s co-founder Jay Batson noted, it’s an application that stands to usher in a new level of Drupal awareness and usage among a broad, non-developer base. This is not only good news for end-users, but it is an exciting moment for the community of developers who have been so committed to contributing and refining the Drupal platform over the last several years. Gardens is proof that Drupal is ready for a new breed of user.
But what I’m particularly excited about is how Gardens will impact digital marketers. As I have blogged before, Drupal is a great web content management system for businesses aiming to turn up the volume on their social marketing campaigns. It’s no secret that for non-developers or those not intimately familiar with web design there are some barriers to entry - especially at the ground level. Sure, some are just misconceptions, but regardless, when we started working on Gardens over a year ago, this was at the forefront of our minds, and we were determined to unlock Drupal for marketers who could use the platform in new ways. But first, we had to make sure that Gardens could address certain challenges marketers faced with their websites:
"I want to launch a site for a new product or promotional campaign, but the development cycle is taking forever”
“I want to integrate Twitter and social networking apps into my campaign, but there’s no easy way I can do that on the fly”
…and many others.
Now with our beta program underway, it’s so exciting to hear and see that Gardens is already addressing many of these concerns in even the early-adopter stages. We’ve had hundreds of Drupal sites already built, some of which are by marketers and creative professionals who are using features such as our Theme Builder for the quick creation of some fabulous sites. We’re just getting started and I’m sure I’ll be bringing you more great examples of marketers building micro sites as the beta program continues.
There are so many applications of Drupal Gardens I’m anxious to see incorporated into marketing campaigns, but one I believe will really excite my fellow marketers is the ability to quickly and easily create slick, feature-rich microsites for a campaign. Marketers are focused on building targeted audiences and social communities and so many of them see microsites as the primary launching pad for brand and loyalty building. Whether a marketing department is rolling out a short-term launch such as a product promotion or event, or is looking to deepen their existing site with more socially-oriented communities on specific topics, microsites are being used as the drivers behind even the largest, corporate campaigns. Drupal Gardens allows marketers to build and launch these websites in a matter of days, even hours, as opposed to weeks using their legacy systems. What a difference from the massive design and development project a site build used to be!
The more I talk to marketers the more I’m convinced that Drupal Gardens is a game changer. As I mentioned before, we always knew Drupal could be an invaluable platform for digital, social marketers. With Gardens, we’ve now given them the tool to unlock it. I’m anxious to hear from other marketers on their use of microsites and the possibilities for Drupal Gardens.