Plone Marketing Plan 2009

Approved by PF Board, August 2009

Draft 1.0 - 4/26/09
Draft 1.1 - 5/07/09 - incorporating feedback from Limi, Stahl and Parker (by MAC)
Draft 1.2 - 5/09/09
Draft 1.3 - 5/10/09 - various grammar fixes
Draft 1.4 – 5/11/09 – revisions from Jon
Draft 1.5 – 5/12/09 – revisions from Gabrielle and Mark based on version 1.4

by Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker and Mark A. Corum


* Enable - help people get started quickly, with documentation and guidance - provide the functions they need in an easy and understandable way.

* Engage - community building, forums, active engagement with other user communities and within our own.

* Enhance - don't just help people get started, help them delight their customers and enhance their own standing with the people and community they serve.  Enhance is about helping the people who choose to use, develop, and contribute to Plone look good. The best example of enhancing someone's credibility within their community is helping them become a community leader or teacher and give back to the community.

* Inform - provide up-to-date news and information, as well as long term calendar information about events where Plone will be involved or represented.


* Strengths
* Strong, experienced core contributor team
  * Security
  * Python
  * Based on standards (XHTML templates, Dublin Core metadata, XML import/export)
  * Accessibility
 * SEO Optimization
 * “Batteries included”  -- robust out of the box features
 * Strong document management features (for a web CMS product)
 * Ease of use for end-users
  * Plone Foundation – community governance, secure IP and trademarks
  * Long-term product history
  * Built on stable foundation (CMF, DCWorkflow)
  * Multi-Language support
  * Fully cross-platform - should be promoted fully / especially in Macintosh community where there aren't many other native CMS options

* Weaknesses
  * Lack of visibility in the CMS market
  * Lack of coordination inside the community
 * Fewer developers using Python than PHP or Java resulting in demand for Python developers overwhelming the need
  * Perceived as hard to install/deploy
  * Perceived as difficult to host because of the Zope application server and inability to host on shared LAMP services
  * Theming perceived as difficult
  * Long-term product history/may be perceived as outdated technology
  * Community perceived by outsiders as hard to enter

* Opportunities
  * Upcoming Plone 4 and Plone 5 releases will deliver major, highly innovative new features.
  * Python becoming more popular (thanks in large part to Google)
  * Difficult economic circumstances opens doors to open source
  * US government expected to help education sector where Plone is big
  * Government initiatives on transparency in education and non-profit sector
  * General market shift towards VPS hosting architectures reduces our perceived weaknesses in hosting/deployment.  Hosting provider partnerships would help more.

 * Threats
    * Rise of other viable and visible web CMS alternatives - Drupal, Alfresco, SharePoint, etc.
    * Community fragmentation around positioning issues
    * Product fragmentation
    * Microsoft bundling of software purporting to do WCM and collaboration
    * An expected rise in the number of security alerts
    * We will lose developers (or fail to gain new ones) if our next major releases do not successfully address our “approachability” issues.
   * Some of our developers are being forced into building new frameworks or using lightweight frameworks (Django, repose.bfg) which reduces their willingness to contribute to Plone.


#1 - PLONE EVANGELISTS - Internal Members of the Plone Community (a.k.a. people who are actively promoting Plone and contributing to the community). E.g.: Hanno Schlichting, Jon Stahl,  JoAnna Springsteen, Scott Paley, Penn State and many others.

#2 - PLONE USERS - Ecosystem members (a.k.a. Plone users - people using the tool w/o promoting it). E.g.: Oxfam, Google, CIA

#3 - PLONE PROSPECTS - E.g.: large and small companies, countries, states and cities, schools, potential Plone developers

#4 - CMS AWARE - Technical community and press. E.g.: ComputerWorld, InformationWeek, technophiles, open-sourcephiles
The plan in a nutshell:
Implement a marketing and evangelism program that creates a positive awareness of Plone, drives potential prospects to try Plone, engages them in the community so that they have a positive user experience and choose/use the product. We also need to create an internal support system for the community (internal evangelism) that makes users want to give back to the community they are part of.  This community pipeline should work to assure a continuous migration of users from awareness to dabblers to users to evangelists  - subject to the law of exponential growth: maintaining and supporting one #1 requires two #2s, four #3s and sixteen #4s.


Direct Interaction
    * Immersive experiences (Sprints / Tune-Ups)
    * Plone conferences
    * Actual work on projects
    * Internships
    * Training
    * Schwag

    * World Plone Day
    * Client demo
    * User group meetings
    * Participation at non-Plone-specific conferences   
   * Screencasts

    * documentation
    * Web
    * Quick-starts and cards (like Buildout)
    * Publications & Books (not just promoting existing books - helping create new ones)
    * FAQs/marketing collaterals
    * OpenPlans

News about Plone
    * Internal news and blogs
    * External news and blogs
    * Develop a solid network of press/media contacts
    * Develop a calendar of press releases and announcements on a 6 month rolling schedule
    * Create a rapid response organization to address inaccuracies regarding Plone in the media

Instant and Social Media
    * Facebook
    * Twitter
    * IRC
    * Ning
    * Google Calendar of events

* Show 10% non-repeat traffic increase to
* Increased visibility in media and online to be at least at the same level as benchmark open source projects like Drupal, Apache
* Increased number of people on the Plone mailing lists/ irc/ ning/facebook/twitter/etc.
* Increased number of core contributors to Plone
* Increased number of positive mentions in the press by at least 20%
* Increased number of publications with favorable stats about Plone issued by trusted 3rd party organization
* Increased community happiness regarding communication (start with survey now, test in 12 months)
* Increased number of downloads of Plone from by at least 20% on a rolling 3 month basis
* Increased number of publications on awards won by Plone
* Increased number of actively developed and maintained 3rd party Plone products
* Increased number of Plone vendors


Develop a continuous interface with mainstream and technical press (Driving awareness and initial tryouts)
* Identify press targets for Plone
* Teach Plone users and companies how to pitch and demo the product to the press (elevator pitches)
* Create high quality case studies/success stories
* Enhanced newsroom + syndicated community news
* Scheduled and planned press releases in support of specific initiatives
* “Team Plone” -  Designated regional spokespeople and contacts who can handle logistics, visit user groups, talk to reporters
* Outreach programs (World Plone Day)
* Branding and logo guidelines
* Oversight of Plone community social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace,, and others)

Create mechanisms for reaching out to prospective users (Converting prospects to users)
* Case studies/success stories
* Ensure consistent Plone presence at general conferences
* Ensure regular Plone events around the world
   * Plone Conferences
   * Regional Symposia
   * Other large events (e.g. Plone Immersive Training Experience)
* Marketing collaterals (FAQ, White Papers, Comparison charts)
* Amazing super-awesome and extra-fast demo sites showing maximum variety and reach
* Plone equivalent of CSSVault to show off Plone designs
* List of references (organizations using Plone who would agree to serve as references, answer questions from other potentials)
* Plone consultant list, with a system of finding areas of expertise
* Make technical documentation easily available in a variety of formats
* Designated moderators on the Plone users mailing list by subject area

Create a mechanism for continuously informing the community about its own happenings (Converting users to evangelists)
* News about Tune-Ups, sprints, conferences, training, general conferences with Plone representation, calls for presentations, new books, web scavenger hunts
* Community calendar, announcements and job postings
* Plone Awards
* Information pages on working groups and how to get involved
* Add-on product ratings
* Designated moderators on irc by subject area
* Internal schwag (e.g. Tune-Up shirts, stickers, bumper stickers)
* Blogs (branded and syndicated) and podcasts

Create mechanisms for cross-pollinating with related groups
* Other non-competing open source projects which share goals / members / purpose with Plone (consider tag-teaming events, user group meetings)
* Education
* Nonprofits
* Governments
* Python community
* Other evangelistic organizations
* Goal is making Plone the CMS of choice for groups who are similar to Plone in many different ways


1) Most important short-term/damage control action items - 1-2 mo time horizon

    * Move to a proactive, planned marketing strategy

    * Put together list of upcoming events we want Plone to be present at (see section VII) - Next working session: 15th Plone Tune-Up

    * Complete, ratify, and publish logo and branding guidelines for Plone
         - Next working session: 15th Plone Tune-Up

* Create and productize Conference-in-a-box package
    - Get budget for package creation approved by Plone Board
    - 1 large banner, eco-friendly, not vinyl
    - 2-page slick "What is Plone"
    - Provide a featured pool of case studies on which conference presenters can choose from to match the audience
    - Local vendors are welcome to include their own case studies
    - Silent screencast / slide deck showing Plone functionality for booth background
    - Slideshow of sites
    - Tiny stickers
    - Plone books for perusal (Practical Plone, User's Guide to Plone, etc)
    - Raffle off a Practical Plone book or similar, plan for one single follow-up email: "you did not win the book, but here's some additional info"
    - Copies of the "15 questions about Plone" brochure for use by booth personnel

* Establish and ratify policy around conference setup / reimbursements for conference from the Foundation
    - A conference report posted to news
    - Report-back after the conference:
      - Photo of your booth and of the competing booths
      - Location
      - Metrics:
        - Total number of exhibitors
        - Total number of attendees
        - Total number of booth visitors each day
        - Number of marketing collaterals given away - did they have enough?
        - Was the marketing collateral helpful, was there anything you wish was there that wasn't?
        - Any questions you could not answer?
        - Which sector did the event focus on?
        - Event scale: local, regional, national, international?
          1. What were people most interested in, what did people ask?
          2. Who staffed your booth?
    - Copies of any contact information received at the conference booth    
* Create and internalize guidance on good interactions practice when responding to blog and mailing list posts
    * 2 page document providing guidance and best communications practice
    - Presentation at BOF session at PSU, and posting to         -     - European Plone Symposium (Matt Hamilton ?)
    - Budapest Plone Conference (European presenter)
     * Monitor interactions on mailing groups and forums and provide feedback for a 30 day period

2) Immediate needs -- 2-6 month time horizon

* Develop a comprehensive positioning strategy for Plone
    - Work with community to develop a rational, defensible positioning for Plone
    - Promote internally with support from online information on
    - Promote to press and community
    - Document to add to the conference package

* Put together long term Marketing plan, agree on it, vote budget, and follow plan

* Put together long term Communication plan, agree on it, and follow plan

* Put together social media plan and begin to consistently message through them
    - Create Plone RSS feed (discuss how this works versus working with Planet Plone to provide)
* Create online marketing information resource for Plone:
    - Comprehensive feature overview
    - CMS Comparisons (work with individual contributors like Matt Bowen, Ken Wasetis),
        - Main priorities - Sharepoint, Drupal, Alfresco
        - Explicitly not: Joomla, Wordpress, Typo3

* Use Feature comparisons to drive user preference and high search rankings of our comparison documents
    - we want to be the #1 hit for any query like "Plone vs Drupal" and "Drupal comparison"
    - For some companies, open source is what they use to make customers feel more comfortable about lock-in (Alfresco)

* Promote Plone case studies
    - Move case studies + media mentions to
    - Add new, compelling case studies
        ** We need to clarify policy on what constitutes a case study.
    - Move all case studies from to
    - Create a “Featured Case Studies” designation for very complete studies for use at conferences and other evangelism engagements
* Ramp up continuous postings of Plone news to the website
    - Recruit and empower an editorial team lead by the marketing group
    - Widely publicize who the editorial team is, and how to submit ideas
    - Company news is OK, since we make it more neutral and relevant

* Delegate work/identify champions/recognition for doers - a.k.a. build the "Plone Pipeline" and discuss backing by the top. Consider geographic champions. Groom people for the champions roles. See "Team Plone" in section VIII.
   * PR Champion's Responsibilities:
       - put together list of designated regional spokespeople and contacts who can handle logistics
       - put together database of press targets who we want to establish a relationship with
       - assign regional contacts to each target medium
       - provide training to team
       - provide canned FAQs to team ("15 Questions" brochure is the first example of this)
       - work closely with the Marketing team to release timely communication pieces
       - report any significant external news to the Marketing team
       - put together a team of people monitoring key words and competitor names
       - craft news releases and/or responses to press output
       - keep communication plan up-to-date
   * Marketing Collateral & Schwag Champion's Responsibilities:
       - gather needs from Marketing team and Plone community
       - provide creative brief for review by board
       - work with designers
       - coordinate with regional vendors
       - make artwork available for download and localization
       - manage inventory
       - manage shipping
       - Complete conference kit (banners, brochures, t-shirts, schwag, how to present Plone videos, 15 questions)
   * Event Champion's Responsibilities:
       - Keep together list of upcoming events up to date and communicate with Marketing team
       - Gather basics about upcoming events (audience, expected number of visitors, exhibitors, fees)
       - Keep together list of Plone representative at each event - ensure Plone is present at all target events
       - Coordinate schwag needs with Marketing Collateral Champion
       - Keep PR Champion in the loop for timely news releases
   * Social Media Champion's Responsibilities:
       - Put together wiki page with all current social media accounts
       - Get access to all social media accounts but not publicize the access info
       - Pre-emptively create Plone accounts on new social media platforms
       - Coordinate and delegate updates to designated social media representatives
   * Plone awards
        - Champion - Matt Fisher
        - Provide support and internal / external PR as needed
        - Publicize the heck out of nominees and winners
   * Product Ratings Champion
       - TBD
   * Metrics Champion
       - identify metrics to be tracked and establish protocol for reporting and managing them
       - Champion - Carl Horak has been suggested

3) Most important mid-term/strategic action items - processes and areas where we want to drive opinion - 1 Year time horizon

    * Create noise (targeted at creating awareness and positive perception)
        * Evangelism RSS feed
            - Google Alerts for "Plone"
            - Updates on upcoming Plone events, conference appearances, etc.
        * Enhanced newsroom + syndicated community news
        * Blogs (branded and syndicated) and podcasts - Planet Plone
        * create relationships with the press
        * Google Summer of Code

    * Show-off Plone (targeted at Plone Prospects)
        * set up Plone demo site where content gets wiped out daily
        * Plone equivalent of CSSVault to show off Plone designs and themes
        * promote case studies/success stories
        * bring back to being part of
        * Product ratings! (ratings with comments ‚(moderated) -  include more information such as easy ways to see which products have documentation and which are being actively developed)
        * Complete the design/implementation of
        * Coordinate regional demonstrations of Plone to various groups regularly

    * "Take care of your own" (targeted at users and evangelists)
        * Create "Everything Plone" RSS feed - commit lists for Plone + Collective
        * Set up and develop Team Plone (see section VIII)
        * Create channel for community announcements and job postings
        * Plone Awards
        * Identify a mechanism to recognize doers
        * Create a Plone Community Gazette (a regular email newsletter)
        * Host online events that bring the community together - watch out for time zone constraints

    * Prepare for the future:
        * Iterate and revise marketing plan quarterly and report to board based on metrics to do what has the most effect for the least money
        * Promote Next Big Thing programs - looking for step changes, new ways of doing things, new paradigms
        * Establish product promotion plans
            * Create a "Get Ready for Plone 4" program to help product developers get their products ready for Plone 4 (Note this may need to be revised as our release plan evolves)
            * Choose a champion
            * Arrange events and webinars
            * Set up Sprints at Plone events and outside
            * talk about something to lend credibility to items produced and backed by the foundation and working groups like marketing.  A approval process for things like charts and presentations to ensure the information is correct
            * Discuss the needs for new publications (books) - choose a champion for helping authors, editing help, etc
            * Host a Strategic Summit once a year or every other year

4) Long-term action items (down the road, once the Plone Pipeline is a proven concept)

    * Expand Team Plone with additional Champions:
        * Developer Issues Champion's Responsibilities:
           - Identify a short list of major issues and assign each issue to a group of Plonistas for monitoring
           - Identify a list of channels to monitor
           - Ensure all inquiries are answered
           - Keep stats
           - Work with Tune-Up Champion to make sure critical issues get addressed ASAP
        * Education Evangelism Champion
            - Identify educational institutions and conferences where Plone can be promoted
            - Put education at the core of Plone's external message
            - Improve Plone's visibility in Education
            - Work with on campus supporters to actively include schools in WPD
            - Target new programmers learning Python with tutorials, examples and opportunities
            - Create more mentoring options to allow greater involvement in Google Summer of Code
        * Plone 4 team
               - TBD further. This may be outside the scope of the marketing plan.
        * Documentation Champion
               - select champion for Plone 4 docs and create marketing/evangelism push
               - TBD further
        * Publication Champion (Plone book author support)
               - Put together list of editing companies we have/want to have relationships with
               - Keep list of ongoing writing projects
               - Keep PR Champion up to date with new Plone publications
               - Keep Marketing team up to date with new industry publications
               - Provide guidance to potential writers

    * Events we want to be represented at
    * release dates for new versions
    * Plone events, etc - what we want to do for each, when and by what channel

For each event we are at:
    * Who is the event coordinator for Plone? (all contact info in place)
    * What is our goal in being there?
    * How many attendees will be at the event?
    * How much does it cost? When is the deadline for signing up? What do we need to provide?
    * When do they need our product info and in what form?
    * What collateral do we need to produce. (existing=shipping; new=create, print and ship)
    * How can we more fully participate? (presentations, panels, outside events).
    * Are there any local supporters, community members or prospects we can invite?
    * Hold a virtual meeting 2 weeks out to make sure everything is in order and deal with issues.

Here's an initial list of events Plone has been/will be/should be present at.  We’ll work on building representation, increasing it each year:

* InfoWorld's Open Source Business Conference, 24-25 March, San Francisco.
* PyCon - Mar. 27-29, 2009 in Chicago, IL
* World Plone Day
* NTEN - Nonprofit Technology Conference, April 26-28, 2009 in San Francisco, CA
* Internet World 2009 - April 28-30th 2009, Earls Court, London, UK
* CMSExpo in Chicago
* Plone Symposium East - May 26-June 1, 2009, in PennState, USA
* Open Source Bridge - June 17-19, 2009 in Portland, OR -
* EuroPython - June 29-July 3, 2009, in Birmingham, UK
* OSCON - July 20-24, 2009 in San Jose, CA
* LinuxTag - ?July, 24th-27th in Berlin, Germany
* Google Summer of Code
* Open Source World (formerly LinuxWorld), Aug. 10-13, 2009 in San Francisco, CA
* Plone 3.3 release
* European Symposium
* Plone Immersive Training Experience
* Plone Conference
* 20th Tune-Up
* Plone 3.4 release
* South by Southwest Interactive (Austin, TX, Spring)
* Look for major “tech in higher ed” conferences – this is something we will look at on an ongoing basis
* Look for major “tech in the public sector” conferences conferences – this is something we will look at on an ongoing basis
* various sprints


* Team Plone
Team Plone members are individuals who are eyes, ears and hands on the ground for Plone's evangelism efforts globally.  The idea is that if an event is being held in in Barcelona, we can go to the Team Plone database and find the nearest team members to provide logistical support for the event (pick up flyers at the local copy shop and deliver them, bring a ladder to a conference to hang a banner, etc) - if a user group needs a speaker in Fargo, ND this is a person who can go and talk Plone with them.  This is a completely volunteer organization, and the individuals don't have to be salespeople or big public speakers - they just need to be dedicated to the Plone community.  All area champions are members of Team Plone.  Team Plone would have its own website for event discussions and sharing helpful information - presentations, places to go online for printing posters, local promotion ideas.  They would also have a direct connection to marketing/evangelism which would allow them unprecedented influence on how Plone is promoted and which events it was promoted at.

* Communicate benefits of volunteering
   * Recognition - Creation of a program of recognition for those involved in supporting the Plone community.
   * Professional development - Creation of a system to help provide apprenticeship, internship and learning for volunteers

* Certification of Information
An approval process for things like charts and presentations to assure the information is correct. Backed by Plone or something similar.  At the end of the day there must be only one marketing voice for Plone, and we have to be able to stand behind the facts being given to the press and public.