Esther Schindler wrote a short article on CIO.com about Alfresco with the premise that the presence of a marketing department and a PR firm makes them unique in the open source world. I liked how she summed up how Alfresco’s approach was different than many open source projects when she said, “Instead of a project that began with the attitude of ‘My Dad has a barn; let’s put on a play!’ the Alfresco team started with a core competency in content management and looked for new market opportunities”.
She also rightly identified Alfresco’s competition as Documentum, OpenText, and FileNet rather than Joomla, Plone, and Drupal although Microsoft (and anyone else on Gartner’s Mysterious Magic Quadrant) should be considered fair game as well.
But I don’t think they are unique in the larger realm of open source. There are many examples of commercial open source companies with much bigger marketing budgets than Alfresco’s, although in the ECM space, I can’t think of one.