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With CMO turnover reaching new highs in recent years, the incentive to innovate is stronger than ever. It is time to examine digital marketing innovation from first principles. It’s a simple formula:
- Marketers need to innovate to drive growth, and innovation requires risk.
- Marketers must then lower the risk threshold by reducing other factors such as cost and delivery time.
- The lower the risk threshold, the more marketers can afford to innovate.
- The more they innovate, the more revenue is generated.
In addition, marketers require flexibility in deploying ideas and pivoting between them to see what spurs growth and what does not.
Marketing teams that fail are those that adjust the wrong variable: to avoid risk and preserve resources, they innovate less and invest more, often in a proprietary technology solution. The correct solution is to innovate more but cut costs and time to delivery using a superior platform.
Proprietary technologies come with certain disadvantages that produce limitations on dynamic innovation.
Take this example: Sandra is a CMO at Acme Corp. She wants to change the look of the website while retaining the same information architecture to satisfy a new branding direction. If her digital services are provided by a vendor’s proprietary technology, she must return to that same vendor to make the switch, driving up costs and deployment time (on top of the licensing fees for the technology itself).
Conversely, Drupal is an open source CMS with a myriad of benefits that are well-suited for an innovative marketing team. With some basic knowledge, Sandra’s team could make adjustments to the theme internally to update the visual design. The preview, permissions, and approval features built into Drupal would allow the team to make edits on the fly while retaining an efficient workflow. The thousands-strong Drupal community can offer support for some solutions, and there is a vast marketplace for more complex Drupal services, such as those offered by OPIN.
Ambitious, innovative digital projects on an open source platform like Drupal benefit from a lower total cost of ownership while maximizing the return on investment. As explained previously, lowering the total cost of ownership frees up resources to innovate further.
Drupal is a free content management system. There are no licensing fees because the technology is developed and maintained in a collaborative effort by a worldwide community of coders. Ownership is dispersed over thousands of people.
Dispersed ownership provides a wide talent pool of Drupal specialists like OPIN and the community itself to lean on. The contributed modules in the Drupal community are all free as well. This reduces the cost of multiple providers and vendors.
Picking Drupal also lowers IT costs by following a more self-service model whereby users can manage and publish much of the content themselves with minimal training.
A lower operating cost is only one piece of the puzzle. The platform chosen for innovative digital projects must also be robust enough in its functionality to support the innovation itself.
Fully Scalable in Size and Complexity
This is where Drupal stands out from other popular open source technologies like Wordpress. Drupal shines when projects require superior flexibility and information architecture, making it a popular choice for governments, non-profits, and enterprises. It is a tool built to support aggressive growth.
Drupal makes room for an incremental approach to developing projects, reducing the risk of marketing innovations. Drupal projects often start small, allowing clients to test services, make adjustments, and measure ROI along the way until it grows into an ambitious digital transformation, such as those features in OPIN’s showcase.
Proprietary technologies, by their nature, are less flexible and scalable than dynamic open source technologies like Drupal. This produces an aversion to change that stifles future innovation.
Proprietary technology vendors lock clients into licensing agreements that tie up resources for years. Support and future development are only available from the original vendor as well, compounding total costs over time.
Drupal agencies offer more of a self-serve alternative. Designed to be user-friendly, intuitive editorial features provide drafting, review and approval capabilities in the core of Drupal itself, allowing for continuous improvement after the completion of the project. With a Drupal-based solution, it is not necessary to rely on a particular vendor for everything, including the core software. Post-project independence is critical to risk mitigation.
At enterprise Drupal agencies like OPIN, use-case-specific training is provided to users who will be engaging with the CMS, in addition to 24/7 support.
Innovate with the Drupal Community
When choosing Drupal as a marketing department, your return on investment is theoretically limitless. Not only does Drupal offer powerful core functionality, but Drupal users also have access to thousands of community-contributed modules and integrations that extend these core features.
In other words, any innovations conceived by the growing Drupal community currently or in the future ultimately become innovations you can harness yourself in your marketing efforts at no further cost. Proprietary technologies may produce quality products, but they cannot match the innovative potential of thousands of coders of different backgrounds working to achieve common goals.
From a risk-mitigation perspective, the support of the Drupal community provides three key benefits: lower cost of ownership, access to a wide pool of talent and innovation, and a reliable resource for solutions and bug fixes when things break, as they inevitably do in any IT project.
Let us briefly revisit the basic logic of digital marketing innovation: Resources required to innovate are finite. The more resources dedicated to an innovation, the higher the risk of the innovation. The higher the risk of innovation, the less room there is for future innovations. Failure to innovate in the future stifles growth.
Open source solutions, particularly Drupal for more ambitious projects, are the most effective way to reduce risk while increasing the value of innovative strategies. Selecting a team with world-class expertise to spearhead a Drupal project is the ultimate return on investment. This is why OPIN Software was selected as a finalist in the Best Return on Investment category for their work on Alimentation-Couche Tard’s intranet solution, currently in use by over 100,000 employees worldwide.
At OPIN, we are very familiar with the struggles marketing executives face with ambitious, innovative digital projects. In fact, “OPIN” is a portmanteau of the words “open innovation.” If you have an ambitious digital project that requires our expertise, please reach out to us.
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