WordPress’ Marketing Team has launched a set of surveys to gather case studies and usage data from agencies, clients, and enterprises, with the goal of providing more resources for adoption. The Usage Survey was created to capture feedback on the factors that influenced an organization to select WordPress as well as any barriers to using the software. The team plans to use use the data to provide resources, such as fact sheets, FAQs, case studies, testimonial videos, and other marketing materials.
During the State of the Word address in 2016, Matt Mullenweg said the project could no longer get by on “marketing happenstance” but needed to form a more coordinated effort to counter the millions of dollars that proprietary systems are spending marketing their products against WordPress. These research surveys are one of the first steps in that direction, along with the WordPress Growth Council that Mullenweg formed to bring together more people with large-scale marketing expertise.
With the proliferation of user-friendly, DIY commercial website solutions, WordPress has reached a critical time where the project needs to shed its image as a clunky, legacy CMS and demonstrate why it’s the market leader. This not only requires WordPress to deliver from a technical standpoint, especially in the areas of editing and customization, but also requires the 14-year-old project to step up its marketing efforts.
WordPress’ Marketing Team exists to “help people market WordPress as open source software and the WordPress community.” The need is evident, as even the most experienced WordPress professionals struggle to properly articulate the difference between WordPress.com and the self-hosted software in a way that newcomers can understand. This is an intractable marketing problem for the self-hosted community.
— Ryan D. Sullivan (@ryandonsullivan) June 21, 2017
WordPress(dot)org has lost the branding battle with WordPress(dot)com.
— Drew Jaynes (@DrewAPicture) June 21, 2017
David Skarjune, a contributor on the Marketing Team who helped put the surveys together, describes the problem that WordPress professionals face in marketing the free software:
Here we have the classic WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG duo that encompasses the nature of the WordPress free software system. This twosome drives the project and sometimes it drives us crazy—only because it instills wide-eyed confusion trying to explain these companion entities to the rest of the world. Simple enough: get a free blog at .COM or get free software and help at .ORG. However, free software makes no sense to the average person, and too many writers, marketers, and designers don’t much care how the InterWebs actually operate.
The confusion between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress is just one of the many factors that make the software a unique marketing challenge. Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, identified many more obstacles that enterprises find in using WordPress. Several of these include misconceptions about security, scaling, and limitations for functionality beyond blogging. WordPress’ Marketing Team aims to provide agencies with free resources to combat common misconceptions and show real-world examples of where the software is quietly powering enterprise websites behind the scenes.
If you have an interesting example of how WordPress solved a client’s needs, feel free to submit a case study. If you represent an organization that is using WordPress and can offer feedback on why you selected it and any obstacles you continue to face, please take the WordPress Usage Survey. Both surveys will be open through July 14, 2017, and the results will be published on WordPress.org.