Marketing Meeting Transcript: July 28, 2020

Although we might want to be seen as a CMS, i would have thought it would be better to target and try and poach people in the second group.

I am just worried that if we are not careful, we will end up looking like a specialised CMS for a specific job, when I thought we would be better to market ourselves as a versatile platform for all types of websites, and for all types of levels, which in turn would increase our chance of getting developers interested in making plugins, themes etc made for our platform.

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Here’s another one:

TYPO3 — the Professional, Flexible Content Management System


I like what @BlueSkyPhoenix was describing above (in the meeting) when she said:

have creators as the main/first word, but have that word then cycle through with other words.

I think this is similar to what PyroCMS have done on their homepage banner / hero / thingy.

I wonder if we could do something similar ish?

ClassicPress: the CMS for Creators …… ClassicPress: the CMS for Builders …… ClassicPress: the CMS for Developers …… ClassicPress: the CMS for Businesses …… ClassicPress: the CMS for Designers …… ClassicPress: the CMS for Creators ……

But whatever we do, I still think our best chance at this time of increasing our user base and attracting developers is by targeting the 25% or so of WP users that haven’t upgraded to WP5. For them, it’s a very simple switch with minimal effort and zero learning curve. It should, in theory, be a no brainer. In this case, ClassicPress: the CMS for WordPress Users should be our main message.


As an aside, for those that like numbers and stats:

According to BuiltWith, WordPress has a 37% share of the market with approx. 27m live websites.

Let’s just say 20% of those WordPress sites are still on WP4.x. That’s 20% of 27m which equates to 5.4m websites.

If we were to gain just 10% of those 5.4m sites, that would give us 540,000 sites and moves us firmly into the big league.

I know things are never that simple but it makes you think.

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I think the bigger problem though, is all this marketing is wonderful, but I fear will be wasted.

First we need to try and work out why the 20 percent of the wordpress sites haven’t updated, as if they do not won’t to use Gutenburg, then they can continue with the classic editor (for now).

Then we need to put ourselves in their position. Why would they switch to a virtually identical CMS, especially if they are using the classic editor, when we offer all the plugins and themes from the WP directory and don’t have our own.

There is no incentive to swap from a large user base CMS to us. (At least not at the moment)

We also need to try and establish, why those sites haven’t updated (haven’t a clue how though), then we could then do the marketing campaign based around those reasons to move to us.

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Yep, the people who are drawn to Wix, Squarespace and Weebly are not likely to have either the motivation or the aptitude to use CP. Personally I don’t think there’s any point in targeting them.

I think this is the key to growing the userbase. Like @spanner44 though, I’m not immediately sure how we do this.

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I think this is the crux of the problem we have with marketing CP. Why would they take the risk of switching platforms for no perceived benefit?

As long as there is a way to disable gutenberg/blocks, they are perfectly happy where they are. Very few people look further ahead than they need to, and most don’t realize the mess they are going to be in eventually.

WordPress without blocks” is our major selling point. We need to get that message out, loud and clear. We need to educate people about where WP is heading and how CP can prevent their sites suddenly going wheels up in a year or two.

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These are the very issues we’re working on right now. The fact is, there are many reasons for switching to CP which this page on the CP website aims to highlight.

This page is just one line of “attack” and takes a more direct approach, specifically targeting users of WP 4.9 and below and also people still using the Classic Editor. The page will also form part of the marketing plan, particularly on social media, for the next few months. @BlueSkyPhoenix may want to elaborate on this.

But that won’t be the case forever and that will be one of the messages we’ll be trying to get across. I would hazard a guess that a large chunk of those people still on WP4.9 know that they’re going to have to make a decision sooner or later.

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Well done. I don’t visit the website often, so I didn’t know that was there.

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That is a fantastic article, hits the right tone and gives the right info. Kudos to the author. But I didn’t know it was there until this morning! Cue hasty retweets.

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Now that sounds awesome :slight_smile:

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Have we done market research? If so, please point me to it and disregard the rest of this post. :slight_smile:

I’ve only been sort of following with the marketing discussions, but, I’m not sure the target market(s) are as well-defined as they could be. I think we’ve discussed the market’s needs, but, haven’t surveyed the actual market? Aren’t we basically projecting our own needs and calling that the market? We early adopters probably have different or more reasons for switching than an average site owner/administrator might have. I suspect this is why we’re in sort of a perpetual redesign of the target market parameters and the potential messages – because we don’t truly know who the market is and what their needs are, we’re just basing on what our own needs have been. Of course, to be fair, we are a part of the market…but we’re already here.

Is ClassicPress for businesses? Is it for creators? Is it for influencers? Is it for entrepreneurs? Yes!

Without real survey information to help us understand why they haven’t switched, I’m not sure we can craft the right message and get it in front of the right people. We seem to have a strategy, but, are lacking the tactical aspects. I think that survey data could help us accurately identify the right market(s) and give us a better chance at coming up with the tactics.

If any of this makes sense (and isn’t already negated by marketing research I haven’t yet seen,) my questions from here might be:

  1. How do we find these sites/people?
  2. Do we just google for 4.9 sites?_
  3. How do we make contact? Onsite contact form? Email? Social? Or…?
  4. How can we collect survey information?_
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I think that goes back to the discussion on a person to replace Scott as the public face of CP.

While the post on the website does a good job of explaining the benefits of CP, who is going to know it’s there?

I’m hopeless at marketing, but I know one thing for sure - you have to spend a lot of time on promotion. The “Build it and they will come” theory doesn’t work online.

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I sort of fall into two camps at the moment as I have one site, my principal site on Classicpress and one, which is sort of semi-mothballed, on WP4.9

I upgraded my main site from a very early stage, as I did not like gutenburg and the direction that WP was going. I thought I would take the risk and move my main site.

Why haven’t I done the same for the other site? Well because at the moment, there is no advantage, and eventually, I can see me going back to WP, not through wanting to but by having no choice.

I have an ordinary news site, that rely on plugins, which I know will eventually stop working with Classicpress, plus at the present I also have a free theme as there is no point in buying one as compatibility with Classicpress cannot be guaranteed.

At the moment, I truly want Classicpress to succeed, I want a lighter CMS and a plugin directory, and I imagine that if we could provide this, then we would be able to target the 4.9 users more successfully, saying that we are lighter, faster, more secure and have a full range of plugins and themes 100 percent compatible.

Unfortunately, until we reach this point, I feel we will always fall under the radar, with the existing 4.9 users slowly upgrading to WP 5+ as they will have no choice as their plugins start to not be compatible, and then we will have missed our chance.

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We are trying to address all of this. We recognise we need to grow our audience and the new web page is only a part of our line of “attack”.

We are currently targeting WP 4.9 users and WP5 users with the Classic Editor plugin installed.

The reason it was decided to target these users is because:

  • a) it’s an easily definable target

  • b) it’s huge. WP 4.9 users amount to around a quarter of all WP sites. Users on WP5 with the classic editor installed increases this still further (possibly quite considerably).

The new web page is heavily optimised towards “wordpress 4.9” for SEO purposes and this will be monitored. The page is also likely to be quite fluid and may change according to circumstances.

The page is also being pushed and used as material for social media (follow @GetClassicPress on Twitter). As Michelle mentioned in the meeting:

I’ll be able to use a lot of this to build a social media campaign that should last us a couple of months, so if you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn please keep an eye out and share.

Just to stress that point, everyone can help to promote CP. For instance, I don’t do social media but I’ve just resurrected an old Twitter account to help out.

To spread the word further, as you may have seen from this post, we are participating in the Twitter-based Hey Pressto! Conference 2020.

WP 4.9 users will not be the only target but it’s certainly a good one. Suggestions for who else to target and how to reach them will, as always, be welcomed.

As also mentioned in the meeting:

Right now, I would say we should be thinking about now . Time is of the essence. We need to try and capture the 25% because that audience will almost certainly be 0% in 5 years.

I know the minutes of the meeting are a long read but it’s worth taking a bit of time out to read them fully. You’ll see that most of what’s been mentioned since has already been discussed.

As to why people are still using WP4.9 or the Classic Editor, I think this is pretty pertinent:

However, I would just like to add:

If you’re still on WP4.9, don’t feel pressured into upgrading plugins and themes when new releases come out. If you find a version that works, is secure and does what you need, stick with it. And then you can safely use that version with CP.

Lastly, don’t forget you can easily revert to any version of WP should CP not work out for you.

There are real advantages of moving to CP, not least that a fiasco like Gutenberg would never happen here. And that is, after all, why we’re all here in the first place.

Sorry for the long post.

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I think the project does need a public “face” (more on that in a moment), but, that’s not the crux of what I was trying to say. My overall point was that unless/until we have actual data from potential users – that is, data on their actual needs – it’s impossible to market to anyone because every attempt would be a shot in the dark. It would leave us moving in circles, redefining the parameters/terms/wording to fit a market that we haven’t actually figured out.

This is more germane to the point I was making. We don’t know how to get the message in front of the right people because we don’t know who those people are; I was positing that that was the result of our not having any market research to point out the actual, stated needs of potential new users.


Regarding a “face” for the project… I agree, the project needs an ambassador, but, just having a willing person isn’t enough. The person would need to be pretty involved in CP, have a large social following composed of followers that are all about WP, and who are not controlled by the WP-or-die mentality. That’s going to be a tough find, but, I think it’s not as important as having market research to steer the effort forward.

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I agree that the zero-risk factor is appealing as a nice extra, but, it’s not much of a selling feature itself because most people would probably only ever use it a couple of times, at most. You’re not alone; some of us came here because of Gutenberg; others came because…politics.

In terms of compatibility, there will be some issues down the line when support for 4.9.x is fully dropped, but, so long as plugin/theme developers continue to support 4.9.x versions, the code should continue to just work on ClassicPress. With a quarter of WP sites <5.0, it will still be awhile before 4.9.x support is completely dropped. It doesn’t seem likely that plugin/theme creators will want to leave that money on the table.

For sure. The directories (and internal integration) will be a much better experience for users and I think it will paint a picture that the project is moving forward. It will be wonderful to have everything in the dashboard again. While it’s second nature for many of us early adopters to just go and download something from GitHub, I think our potential market(s) will find see in-dashboard capabilities a very important feature.

Yes, missing the boat was also something I’d thought about. COVID and current events have slowed things down, for sure. Plus, it’s exhausting to keep up with current events in these crazy times. I think we’ll have a bit of a rebound as things get back to some sort of normal.

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This brings me back to the point of my original post: without market research, I don’t see how we can devise a plan that can be executed. Or am I thinking about it wrong? My thoughts are that we have some questions like… How do we find the people? How do we approach them? How do we get the market research? …before we can figure out how to take the actual actions that will target them. We have the strategy (what we need to do,) but, we’re lacking the tactics (how to get it done.)

I’ve looked at the PressTo thing a few times; I just didn’t get it. Maybe I’m too old. :slight_smile:

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I don’t know what more I can say really.

Reaching out to WP 4.9 users is an obvious and potentially huge target and I don’t think we need any market research to tell us that. After all, switching from WP to CP is as easy as it’s going to get for anyone contemplating a move to a new CMS.

We’ll be trying to reach them via search engines, social media and by things like the Twitter conference as well as by reaching out to developers, hosting companies and anyone else that has anything to do with WordPress.

The more big names we get on board, the better chance we succeed. That’s why I initially targeted the likes of Softaculous, Installatron and Litespeed – and I’m nowhere near finished. Plus, don’t forget we’ve got Beaver Builder and Shield Security on board already.

And as long as the trend keeps going upwards, we’re obviously doing something right.

My main problem with the Hey Pressto! Conference is the colours on their website. :grimacing: But seriously, imho, it’s giving us exposure and any exposure is better than none.

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I’ve been watching the comments here – thanks to all of you for your input. I’m not entirely sure where to start or what’s most important to respond to.

I think the most important positive outcome I’m seeing from this so far is that people are talking again here in the community. I know we are all under a variety of [insert COVID-related cliché here] stressors but if we work together as a group, we can start making progress again.

Market research would be fantastic. Polling our own community will result in skewed results, so it will be important to reach the larger universe of users. It may not even need to be restricted to WordPress users, but CMS users in general.

There are some inexpensive ways to DIY some market research. I’ve split this into another topic for further discussion.

These are valid comments. We need to get clear on our “WHY” – why switch? Until we have a few additional compelling reasons (other than “We’re block-free!”) we will struggle in this area.

IMO, with so many other voices saying “Update now in order to stay secure!”, this may be a difficult sell, particularly for less tech-savvy people. “Update now because we don’t support old versions!” is also an issue.
Then, there’s FOMO – “Update now to get these cool new features!”

I’m the last one to want to go negative here, but we need to take a hard look at the reality in order to start plotting a way through to the other side. We want to put out there that we are stable, but we can’t afford to put out there that we are stale, and I think that’s a very fine line when you start talking about updates.

This sounds great but it forces us to rely on the WP ecosystem for our success. The sooner we get the directory up & running, the better.

Between Scott’s departure, COVID, and the plain reality that we are all volunteers here, we’ve lost momentum and need to get it back if we want to survive. WP 4.9 users and disgruntled 5+ users are our “low-hanging fruit” so it makes sense to start here. However, it’s going to take a ton of work. Like Aussie said:

I am thrilled to see the spirited discussion taking place, but we can’t stop here. Action must be taken and it has to come from each of us, not just a select few.

It would be wonderful if multiple members of the CP Community get involved with the Hey Pressto! Conference. The price is right, and even if not many people “attend”, our tweets will be out in the Twitterverse for someone to pick up on in the future. It’s something we’ve been expressly invited to participate in, so I think it’s important that we do so.

The conference and the upcoming social media posts (which are scheduled 2x/wk through the end of October, so please keep an eye out for them and like/comment/share them!) are just two parts of what will (hopefully) become a larger marketing plan. Market research can and should be a part of that, but we’ve already been silent for too long – we need to get our momentum back and that means taking action, even if it turns out to be imperfect.

How does that old saying go?

"You can’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat."

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Our message all along has been “if it works with WP 4.9, it should work with CP”. From the new web page:

if your site is running WordPress 4.9, that means hundreds, if not thousands, of add-on features are available immediately via the WordPress repository and third-party websites.

From the ClassicPress for Plugin Developers page:

Your plugin will normally work in ClassicPress if it supports:

WordPress 4.9.x

The reality is that if/when people move to CP, they may well still have to use older versions of plugins. It’s not a case of trying to sell it. It’s just a fact.

We’re also saying that CP is unlikely to move too far from its roots.

The new web page is at pains to point out that CP is like WP 4.9 but under active development and I see that very much as a positive. None of this means it’s stale. It means we’ve got a working “formula” and we’re going to build on it and, for the moment at least, it also seems to be the formula that works for at least 25% of WP users.

And here’s 10 reasons why people should switch :slight_smile:

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I get that – no confusion here. My point is that there are other “authoritative” voices banging the “Update now or else…” drum. I’m not saying we sound stale, I’m suggesting we remain aware, so we can guard against that.

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