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Using Drupal To Build an Integrated Digital Engagement Platform

Cross-posted with permission for OHO.com

Last year OHO was recognized for our deep Drupal expertise and was tapped to build a complex integrated digital engagement platform for the Romney for President campaign. This Drupal-based platform included a content publishing platform, a lead generation engine, a transaction processing server, email and social media integration, and more. The engagement platform included many best-in-class solutions that, when integrated, worked as one to drive campaign activities.

Customer Data Warehouse
The primary function of the main campaign website was to capture names of supporters that could be leveraged for mailings, volunteer opportunities, and donation campaigns. While the front-end of this massive customer data warehouse relied on Drupal, Salesforce powered the back-end. This Salesforce integration needed to capture and populate registered user data as well as any changes to user data such as phone number and address information. While Drupal’s contributed module for Salesforce integration can easily handle smaller data sets, this project required the management of very large data sets, as many as new 20,000 users per hour. Such massive amounts of data called for a more sophisticated solution that also took into consideration server resources and the API request limit. OHO addressed this through a custom Drupal module that facilitated the Salesforce bulk API and hourly batch updates.

Salesforce Webform Integration
The campaign website used a number of webforms in conjunction with the splash gate, prompting users to participate in various events. Due to the use of a number of custom triggers in Salesforce, we leveraged REST API as it works well with the Salesforce objects in a way that the bulk API does not.

Direct Marketing Integration
To help drive the fundraising piece of the campaign, OHO developed one-click donations, which allowed a supporter to save their credit card information while donating on the website. Then, any future donations could then be completed with one-click. This functionality was then rolled-out to email Drupal and SMS using integration with ExactTarget.

Mobile Development
Mobile was a key initiative for the campaign, so we addressed the need to connect with visitors on various devices by creating native mobile apps for iPhone and Android with data powered by Drupal XML feeds. These apps helped to drive registrations – on the day of the mobile launch, registrations increased by 20x. In addition, we created a mobile website that featured the most interactive portions of the main campaign site.

Microsites
As with any similarly massive project, microsites played a big part of the digital engagement strategy. To create the microsites, we used Drupal multisite architecture, which provided a number of conveniences including:

  • Agility needed to roll-out sites on the fly
  • Easy upgrades to contributed and core modules
  • Flexibility to use site specific modules
  • Allowance for each microsite to have its own database

To build this integrated digital engagement platform, we took advantage of both Drupal contributed modules and third-party APIs from other sources including Piryx for donations, Eventbrite for live events, and Gigya, Facebook apps and Twitter for social.

It’s incredibly important to consider the system architecture and performance management when taking on an integrated digital engagement platform project of this scope. In order to scale up quickly and support more users and applications, we leveraged the cloud. In addition, various other solutions were employed to ensure a fully integrated platform that performed at optimal levels.

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