The world's favourite open source CMS has gained increasing popularity in the marketing community. The latest version, Drupal 8 is proving to be a great choice for creating integrated digital frameworks, since its launch in 2015.
In this blog post, we take a look at the enhanced marketing tool integration options in Drupal 8. The CMS now explicitly focuses on (enterprise) marketers and content authors – with improvements in the tool to match:
Drupal encourages marketers to use the marketing software they know, love and work with. With the extended integration possibilities with third-party tools in the new Drupal 8, marketers get to pick which tools they want to work with (such as a marketing automation platform or the CRM of their choice).
The idea is that the Drupal CMS will function as the backbone of a digital marketing approach with a varying constellation of marketing tools chosen by the marketer himself.
Acquia - the company that provides enterprise products, services and technical support for Drupal - has dubbed this approach "Open Marketing", in line with the idea of "open source":
An Open Marketing Platform is designed to work best not with a small and limited ‘family’ of compatible systems, but instead is built from the ground up to thrive in an environment of endlessly changing integrations and an unknown set of future technologies. (Source: Acquia)
Drupal and Acquia's approach is antithetic to other (commercial) companies, such as Adobe Marketing Cloud or SDL Customer Experience Cloud - who choose another approach by focusing on building a comprehensive, all-in-one marketing toolkit with all the features a marketer might need: email, personalization and targeting and analytics.
There are pros and cons to both approaches, as always. While using an Open Marketing Platform gives the marketer the freedom to choose whichever tool he wants to use, it also means that integrations for each of those tools have to be installed (or even custom built) whenever they change. And while marketing clouds offer a comprehensive package with all integrations built-in, they might omit certain features which a marketer is interested in, limiting flexibility.
The choice between an open marketing approach and a comprehensive marketing toolkit approach depends on your company's situation. A good implementation partner will help you weigh the pros and cons of either approach and pick a solution that best fits your needs.
The increasing possibilities in third party integration indicate a shift in perspective. Drupal is evolving from a web content management system into a web experience management system or a digital experience management platform.
Digital experience management platforms are the “next stage” of web content management systems. As the channels through which we engage customers have changed and multiplied, the tools used to publish content on those channels have evolved as well.
These platforms - whether they use an open marketing or a marketing cloud approach - support content delivery across a wide range of third-party tools and across devices.
Web services provide a way for applications to communicate: gather information from your website, make updates, and so on.
REST is a method of including those web services on your site. It means that applications have the possibility to communicate in the background via a standardized protocol.
With this new release, Drupal has become “RESTful”: web services (and REST) have been built into the core of the platform and are supported out-of-the-box. That enables the user to easily expose data for usage in other platforms, but also to retrieve data from external tools. That way, plugging in light-weight applications, specialized campaign sites and third-party applications to address certain parts of the Drupal database is very easy.
The new road Drupal and Acquia are taking with their Open Marketing Platform approach creates great potential for marketers looking for a flexible, easy-to-use digital experience management platform.
If you’re looking for more information about Drupal 8 and its possibilities towards digital experience management, be sure to download the ebook: “Drupal 8: What’s in it for digital experience management?”
➡ Read this article in German
Kevin is Drupal Web Developer and Consultant at Amplexor based in Belgium. Kevin is an Acquia Certified Developer with over 6 years of experience in planning, development, maintaining Drupal websites and leading development teams in Drupal. He has also volunteered at the organization of the yearly Belgian DrupalCamp event.