Commercial actions speak louder than words
It is that dialogue with the audience that makes a content platform so interesting. It was also the main reason why Bidfood (formerly Deli XL, the online wholesaler for the food service market) started the content platform Foodreporter in 2010. They were primarily known as a supplier for healthcare institutions, which was their biggest market. In order to grow within the hospitality industry, they wanted to enlarge their network, so it was important to examine the target audience in more detail.
The basic idea of Foodreporter was actually pretty simple: to get to know the target group, initiator Marco van Davenhorst simply knocked on the doors of various restaurants with a camera in his hand. It was not to get a bite to eat, but to hear what the chefs had to say. There were no sales pitches from Bidfood (in fact the Bidfood name did not even feature in the videos), there were just honest, real stories from the chefs. "Talk about what your target group talks about, not about what you want to talk about," explains Van Davenhorst. “Think like Google. First sow the seeds of reach and brand recognition and then earn money."
What’s in it for me?
And what did Bidfood get out of it? First of all, they got to know the target group very well. They heard users' wishes at first hand and could adjust their product range accordingly. For example, take a look at the video of chef Jermain de Rozario in which (while shopping in a speciality store) he says that in the Netherlands they always sell the top of the coriander plant. But as a chef from an Indonesian background, he looks for the coriander root, because it has the most flavour. That is useful feedback!
In addition, the platform also garners a lot of goodwill with the chefs. Even though by no means all of them buy from Bidfood, once they have been filmed for Foodreporter a few times, they like to give something back. So when Foodreporter approaches them for a video master class - on finger food, for example - they are happy to co-operate. And coincidently all these products are on sale at...?
What's more, Bidfood also sees the success of the platform reflected in market share. The chefs' platform is so appreciated that Bidfood's market share in the hospitality industry has increased significantly from 5.15 % to 7.5%. In the future, they want to extend this revenue model with features such as a jobs module or a marketplace module.
At any rate, it's pretty clear that an independent content platform means business.