Spend Matters – plans for 2012 and beyond

When I first met Jason Busch, founder of Spend Matters in the US and now my business partner in the UK / Europe venture, we discovered we had a lot in common. We both played bass guitar (fairly badly); loved good food and enjoyed cooking; were fans of both fine wine and real ale; tried to keep fit; had married strong-minded, intelligent women(!) and most importantly, were what you might describe as “procurement geeks” in that we were, and are, genuinely fascinated by the area in which we operate.

On the other hand, he lives in an apartment, so growing vegetables is not a shared interest; and he has a bit of a jazz thing going on in his music library which is deeply worrying...

In work terms, one difference is that I am intrinsically more cautious than him around business issues. So my tendency is, for instance, not to announce something until I’m sure it is happening. Whereas at times, Jason takes the approach that if you tell everyone you’re doing something, then you have to make it happen!

That’s all by way of introducing his US post from Friday, where he announced our thinking on expansion into other languages / countries. And to be fair, he does stress that this isn’t as yet all buttoned down in terms of our plans.

We're keen to bring Spend Matters to readers with both local language and flavour in markets that don't rely on English as a primary business language. Yet we haven't yet finalized our decisions and are in fact keen to gather input on this from the Spend Matters community.

And he’s asked some very good questions of our readers, and I’ll repeat them here – we really would like to hear from you in terms of your views on how we can best take Spend Matters forward internationally.

  • To what extent does a brand (e.g., Spend Matters) matter more or less in a market than the insights (or brand) of the main contributor? It's our gut feel judging by the success of the UK that the person who leads the effort in any region must also be a magnet for any venture to work
  • How important are on-the-ground insights in various markets vs. just translating and providing, perhaps, a bit of additional context around news and analysis on the global sites? Again, it's our gut local content and flavor is essential
  • Within each market, what matters most: private sector or public sector? Or in Germany, for example, the middle market within the private sector vs. large cap companies? We're not convinced there's a uniform answer to this question

You may also want to read his other Friday post here, which lays out plans for Spend Matters– some of these are more US than Europe at the moment, but we will be looking at some of the options he describes. I share Jason’s frustration with the US site design – the team produce some amazingly good research, for instance, but it isn’t always easy to find it.  The UK / Europe site is easier to use, being of 2010 rather than 2005 vintage, and having somewhat less in the way of material contained within it.

But I do find the rapid “disappearance” off the page of material a negative of the blog format, and it doesn’t encourage reader comment and debate, which for me is often the best bit of the whole Spend Matters experience!  So assuming the US site redesign works, we will probably follow the same approach here – that could be exciting in terms of possibilities for us, sponsors and readers.

In terms of Jason’s other points, there’s no desire to make Spend Matters any less useful for those who don’t want to pay for the privilege, or reduce the quantity and quality of free research and content. But as he says, there may be scope for premium content of some sort – we’ll see.  I also like the idea of more video – I have a perfect face for radio, as they say, so we may need to recruit more attractive people if we go in that direction. And we have no immediate plans to do anything in terms of conferences this side of the Atlantic just yet – I found organising our anniversary event quite stressful enough!

Anyway, again, please do let us know what you think about the future for Spend Matters  via comments or email me privately at psmith@spendmatters.com.

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Voices (3)

  1. bitter and twisted:

    Id like a forum – but imagine the moderation effort might not be worth it.

  2. Dan:

    1. Your target audience is composed of procurement bods – people who are less likely to be impressed by the brand than by the content you can deliver.

    2. Insight would be preferable to news. I can get that from a number of sources, such as supplymanagement.com. Decent analysis is much more difficult to find.

    3. Both. Public sector knowledge is useful for me (less so for someone in the private sector i would assume), but knowing what the best practice in the private sector is can help me question if the current (or proposed) public sector practice is really the best way forward.

    1. Life:

      Agree with Dan – great site because of the content, news I can and do get elsewhere. I suspect that if you had some great exclusives you’d be too decent to spill the beans early anyway..

      I agree that content disappears too quickly (I would have thought this increases the chances of site burn out also in the long haul as more content from providers rather than the punters).

      Bit worried Jason might be going rogue – doesn’t even mention UK – or is it me being a paranoid little Englander after the weekend?

      Search would be good.

      Absolutely love this to death but I think either I or the site would need to push the boat out a bit more before I paid for it.

      Don’t worry about the face for radio thing, even if it’s true, which I’m sure it’s not. Check out the FT site videos – looks like the guys are still waiting to be seen in a busy city hospital on a Saturday night but the insight is great and warrants repeat visits of the right kind.

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