Podcast: Sean Griffey on the Growth of Industry Dive

We discussed how they expand into new verticals, the sweet spot for media and content studios and the need for data as soon as possible.

Where to listen:

Sean Griffey is co-founder and CEO of Industry Dive, a network of business publications covering a wide variety of topics including retail, biopharma and waste management. When I think about a successfully scaled b2b media company, Industry Dive comes to mind first.

In this episode, we discussed a ton, but a few things jumped out…

On expanding into new markets

Industry Dive has a specific playbook that they use to determine what verticals they want to expand into it. It starts with a very simple question: does this fit the business model?

Because Industry Dive is marketing driven, it needs to find industries with high capital spend. That means the executives are buyers that control budgets. A mistake Sean sees many operators make is that they in industries that don’t have this.

The other very important question they ask is whether the industry is being disrupted by technology or regulation. What they’re trying to identify is whether people’s jobs require them to keep up to date on what’s going on day-to-day. If that exists, you’ve got something.

On media’s sweet spot with content studios

Industry Dive recently acquired the content studio from NewsCred in what appears to have been a match made in heaven. NewsCred was moving away from its content studio business while Industry Dive was doubling down on it.

What this reinforces is the sweet spot that media finds itself with regarding to producing content for partners. As Sean explains, any agency can create great content. That’s not the hard part.

They might even be able to create great content and distribute that content to an audience (though not as easily as a media company can.)

Only a media company can take it a step farther and consult their clients on when the narrative has shifted. Industry Dive was able to tell its partners, “hey, the audience is moving away from covid-related coverage” far faster than an agency ever could, which allowed their partners to start creating new content in the new narrative.

On data being the most important thing

Sean offered his big piece of advice for prospective media operators and it’s something that I whole heartedly agree with as well.

Operators need to start collecting user data immediately. You’ll never feel bad having a better understanding of who your audience is. More importantly, the sooner you have it, the better it’ll be when you decide to use it.

And using it doesn’t have to mean advertising products. Having better user data can also mean making better product and editorial decisions.

In Sean’s opinion, too many media companies wait to determine their user data strategy and they’d be smart to start sooner.


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