Does the phrase "open source" scare you? You're not alone. Many marketers hear the phrase and cringe—with frightening thoughts of coding, programming, and complex or clunky technology immediately springing to mind.

I'd like to clear up that misconception and ease the minds of many marketers out there. Open source not only offers the collective creativity of a large, vibrant community but also promises a new level of customer engagement, brand equity, and a competitive edge for today's marketers.

However, determining how and where open source fits into your marketing mix may be more challenging. That's where social publishing comes in.

With the advent of social media, the marketing function within organizations has expanded to virtually every department. Sales, IT support, and even engineering folks will find themselves in a marketing "situation" over the next year via online conversations, which is why a business needs to think holistically about its marketing strategy.

The very tools that enable customer engagement on a brand's site should be closely integrated into internal analytics and marketing processes. Only true integration of Web content and social software—a la open-source social publishing—will allow businesses to be creatively nimble enough to navigate an increasingly competitive marketing landscape.

Whether you're a marketer with no open-source background or have been anxious to jump into the open-source game, here are a few reasons why social publishing can make all the difference.

Getting Social With Customers

Managing customer relationships in the social-media age may seem like a daunting task. Most companies today have several social elements that represent their brand: e.g., Facebook pages, a Twitter handle, a LinkedIn presence.

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Lynne Capozzi is vice-president of marketing at Acquia (, a commercial open source software company providing products, services, and technical support for the open source Drupal social publishing system.