Art of Procurement is a (very) successful B2B media company that produces white papers, articles, podcasts, and live events. Nothing special there. Yet for the first five years, the business was hanging on by its fingertips. One pivot later, and the business took off. What was the pivot? Read on…
OK, let’s set the scene. Simon Owens, a media analyst from D.C. publishes a weekly Substack newsletter and hosts a lively podcast as well as a small, tight knit online media community. Yes, we’re paid subscribers, and we’re definitely biased – Simon has also written the odd post for us down the years and they’ve been some of our landmark pieces.
In this podcast, uploaded to YouTube rather than a bespoke podcast platform (many podcasters are transitioning to YouTube for visibility and better opportunities for discovery), Art of Procurement’s Founder Philip Ideson describes how he spent five years focusing on the wrong audience.
He finally figured out that it was the companies that sell products and services to procurement specialists who were his true customers, not the procurement departments themselves.Simon Owens
Owens does a far better job than we could summarising the podcast, and rather than reinvent the wheel, here is the TL;DR of Ideson’s three key lessons:
- Business models often lag audience growth: Just because you’ve figured out how to make compelling content doesn’t mean you’ve figured out what your audience will pay for.
- Your core customers will often be a subset of your larger audience: Don’t assume that the largest segment will produce the most revenue.
- Use audience validation as a motivator: External validators from key industry participants and influencers is a sure sign you’re doing something right.
16.00: “Early on I was determined I was that I going to make this a business that was funded by procurement departments rather than providers to those procurement departments. But the opportunity was on the other side.”
17.00: “I started to be very deliberate about what programs I could put in place to help (provider) companies talk about what they do but in an educational way…how can I create products that help providers get in front of procurement leaders? Digital events, webinars, podcast, whitepapers etc.”
19.20: “We operate a co-creation model with our business partners…we have full editorial control over everything we do. We guide and coach them about how to create content that is non-promotional, non commercial, but still loops back to them in terms of brand recognition and lead generation.”
35.00: “We don’t set too long terms plans so we can be adaptive….in terms of content, the growth opportunity is in niche content…We’re starting looking into related adjacent industries, for example, the supply chain industry.”
Watch the full podcast below: