Gert van der Heijden On Launching Spend Matters Netherlands

I recently spent an afternoon an evening in the Netherlands with my colleague Gert van der Heijden, who edits the Spend Matters Netherlands site, our first local language site. For our initial coverage (in English) on the launch of Spend Matters NL, we recommend reading the following articles on Spend Matters and Spend Matters UK/Europe:

Spend Matters Netherlands and UK/Europe Expansion

Spend Matters Netherlands – our new website goes live!

I sat down with Gert in his backyard office (see photo) on one of the few sunny days in July to get his take on what it’s been like to blog and how the reaction to the site has been in the Dutch sourcing community. Gert has blogged actively since launching the site with us earlier this year, posting two and three times per day during the week (the same initial recipe we followed in the US and UK).

Gert copy

Jason: What has it been like having to write a blog every day?

Gert: Writing the Spend Matters site has been a real life-changing experience! If you write a blog, you're thinking of content for ten waking hours of the day – if not more. Normally, I would just read periodicals or do research when I had to. But now, I must live in the information stream. With the speed we're writing, it really focuses you on the content and knowledge all day. In procurement and procurement consulting, I was focused only on the client or problem and solving what was in front of me -- not necessarily the best solution. Blogging makes you think, and it benefits everything I do.

Jason: Where did people get information in the Netherlands before Spend Matters

Gert: There is a Dutch magazine from the local procurement institute (like ISM), and there are a few sites and international sources as well. But with Spend Matters NL, we are trying to do something different by offering analysis and opinion from an informed perspective, in addition to covering the local Dutch procurement scene. But it is also becoming a source of “news” in the region.

Jason: What has the reaction to the blog been like?

Gert: It's starting to grow. We did a lot with the Dutch Sourcing Awards. During the event, the site got over 3,000 visits a day (more than ten times our typical traffic). My colleagues in the profession are telling me that this is the first sourcing and procurement blog with real in-depth content in our language. But not everyone is reading it yet, as social media adoption lags in the Dutch business environment.

Indeed, there is a real a real division here in the way sourcing and procurement are working. We have some traditional older readers who are beginning to feel comfortable with reading a “blog” – but this is the group in which social media such as Twitter is not used enough. We are a gateway for them to this world.

Overall, we have a smaller group of people doing social media than other consumer and even business sectors. It's mainly because people don't understand it. But a small group, especially younger people in the profession, is reading it regularly. I expect this segment of our readership to increase as we give a voice to all levels in the professions— rather than just the old guard.

Stay tuned as our discussion with Gert continues!

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