Case Study: Publipresse's Journey with October CMS

Posted in Case Studies on Jun 07, 2024

In a recent conversation, we had the pleasure of speaking with the team at Publipresse. Founded in 1998, Publipresse is a veteran agency in the digital services industry. Initially rooted in newspaper publishing, the company quickly pivoted to digital services as the internet became mainstream. Today, Publipresse stands out for its innovative approach to web development, leveraging October CMS to deliver customized solutions to its clients.

Publipresse shares with us their journey from traditional media to digital services. They started with the creation of 360° panoramas for major tourist attractions and hotels. However, as the market changed, they needed to diversify. They began building websites to offer comprehensive communication strategies to their clients, a move that marked the beginning of their digital transformation. Publipresse's extensive evaluation of various CMS platforms led them to October CMS.

Can you tell us a little bit about your company and its history?

Publipresse is an old agency (in the Internet timeline), in existence since 1998. It all started with the paper press and newspaper publishing (still published today). Then, with the democratization of the Internet a few years later, we turned the corner.

In the early days, we specialized in creating 360° panoramas. We were pioneers in the field, traveling the world to create panoramas for major tourist attractions and hotels. Then Google came along and killed the market, so we started creating websites to be able to offer a global communication solution to our customers (was already in the print media).

We've been working with Drupal for over 10 years, starting with Drupal 5 and continuing up to and including Drupal 7. It's not a bad CMS, but it's very "tedious", and building a user-friendly backend for the end-customer is no mean feat. When Drupal 8 arrived, with its "large account" orientation, we felt the need to change.

What made you decide to switch to October CMS?

We spent an infinite amount of time evaluating all the possible solutions (and there are some!). But when we discovered October CMS, it was a no-brainer. Coming from Drupal, the simplicity of the OctoberCMS backoffice is a breath of fresh air, and with Laravel behind it, we know that we can customize it to fit the client needs, even the most specifics.

The transition was relatively straightforward. At first, we only worked on small projects to familiarize progressively with OctoberCMS concepts, but very quickly we switched all our projects to October, even the most complex ones. In less than 6 months, Drupal was completely abandoned.

What features of October CMS have you found most useful?

One of our DNA as an agency is to give maximum freedom to our web designers. So, having total control on the markup is the first thing we noticed and loved about OctoberCMS. When you come from Drupal, there are a lot of markup that are automatically generated. It can be frustrating for the developer to deal with all that markup when you need to implement a pixel perfect design.

Tailor also was a game changer compared to other CMS. Of course, Drupal has the same kind of feature with the concept of entities, field types, etc. However, it takes sooo long to create a different entity, configure the fields, etc. The possibility to define your whole model and its field in a single yaml file is a big time saver.

The simplicity and intuitive design of the OctoberCMS back office allow you to feel instantly productive as a developer, compared to Drupal that requires months, even years to master all of its aspects.

When we started to develop using October CMS, we instantly divided the development time by 2 compared to Drupal equivalent. And now, with some years of practice, our own internal starter theme and plugins to fit our workflow, we divided development time by 2 again.

Today, we have a new problem, we develop too fast which broke the balance between developers and web designers!

How has October CMS helped you to better serve your clients?

Our customers love the OctoberCMS backoffice, especially those who already had a Drupal or Wordpress site, because it gives them something to compare with.

As a result, we spend far less time in training or support because the backoffice is intuitive for the end user too.

How do you see October CMS fitting into your future plans and long-term strategy as a digital studio?

As long as OctoberCMS suits us and continues to evolve, we'll use it. We're very much looking forward to the forthcoming ecommerce version, which I hope will enable us to migrate to October CMS for our ecommerce sites, even the most ambitious ones, currently built with Prestashop.

What advice would you give to other digital studios who are considering using October CMS?

Go ahead, just go ahead, it's a breath of fresh air in the world of web development. Your developers will be happy, your designers will be happy, your customers will be happy.

Here are some examples of successful projects you have completed using October CMS for clients in different industries:

  • Finn-Est - This is a website for a wooden house builder.

  • Stem’moto - A recent website for a motorcycle dealer.

  • Complexe Le Lac - Website for a hotel and gastronomy complex.

These are quite graphical examples where the total control on the markup OctoberCMS provides was a real plus. I mention that, on these websites, the end user has total control on the content and images without any technical knowledge, just by using a tailor made backoffice.

We also have some examples using plugins provided by the marketplace:

This example highlights one of the best projects we have created with October CMS:

  • Amicale des Frontaliers - Website of an association for cross-border commuters. The site has a section reserved for members, who are managed by Microsoft Dynamics.

The project involved communicating with Dynamics APIs to create leads when a user registers on the site, as well as providing an API to the CRM to synchronize members.

This is a typical example of the power of October CMS with Laravel as its core engine. Consuming the dynamics API was easy, as was providing an API for CRM.

What benefits have you received from the October CMS Partner Program?

When we sell a solution based around OctoberCMS, it's reassuring for our customers to know that they're working with a partner agency that's well invested in the community.

OctoberCMS's biggest selling point compared with other platforms, and one that has enabled us to postpone contracts, is the demonstration of its backoffice. For tech customers, knowing that Laravel is behind is also a convincing argument.

Today, OctoberCMS is our main development tool, it makes sense for us to participate in its evolution year after year.

We hope that our long-standing partnership with OctoberCMS will enable us to be considered as a leading French agency.

Can you describe your typical client in terms of size and budget?

Mostly small local companies with less than 50 employees. Budgets are around 5k to 10k for a custom-built showcase site.

Do your clients typically care about the CMS platform you use for their website?

Generally speaking, our customers aren't interested in the technology behind their website. We sometimes have customers who come to us asking for a Wordpress site, because that's the name they hear everywhere. But when we explain the advantages of OctoberCMS over Wordpress (security, ease of use, quality of architecture...), and give them a demo, they're generally convinced.

How has October CMS helped you to improve your marketing and sales efforts?

By dividing our development times, we were able to reduce the cost for the customer. This helped our sales team to attack markets that were inaccessible in the Drupal era, where we couldn't position ourselves below €10k for a tailor made website.

How has October CMS helped you to streamline your proposal and pitch process?

I wouldn't say that October has allowed us to streamline; on the contrary, it has enabled us to take a tailor-made approach to each project, at a cost that's barely higher than a ready-made solution, and that's what sets us apart from other agencies in the region that tend to offer Wordpress sites based on a ready-made theme.

Can you share any examples of how October CMS has helped you to win new business?

I don't have a specific example to give, but we're noticing a trend: some customers come to us because we've already done a site for someone they know, and they've had the opportunity to see the backoffice we've been able to build, and they want the same thing.

Today, as an agency, it's a risky gamble to design each site on a bespoke basis, graphically speaking, to ensure that our customers' sites are unique, adapted to their image and their message, in an era of templates, website builders and ready-made sites. But it's been a winning bet, because it's set us apart from the competition. This was made possible thanks to OctoberCMS, which enabled us to drastically reduce development times, thereby cutting our costs so that this tailor-made approach didn't cost our customers too much.


Publipresse's journey with October CMS exemplifies the transformative impact a well-chosen CMS can have on a digital agency. By embracing October CMS, Publipresse has enhanced its efficiency, improved client satisfaction, and positioned itself as a leader in the industry. Their story is a testament to the power of innovation and adaptability in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Publipresse for their time, their insightful answers, and their trust in October CMS as their chosen platform provider. Stay tuned for more success stories and insights into how October CMS is helping businesses like Publipresse thrive in the digital age.

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