Corine Van Winden & Gerard de Niet Talking About GlobalPets Community is a portal to the international pet industry, powered by PETS International. The business is run by Corine Van Winden and Gerard de Niet and since its inception in 1988, it reached 40.000+ clients located in 130+ countries.

Corinne, the CEO of the company, started as a marketeer in the financial industry. She left the financial industry in 2000 and joined PETS International in 2002 when it was more of a traditional publishing house.

Gerard complements Corine as the COO of where he joined just a few years back. With his coming to the company they set out on a new strategy which was more in the online direction, positioning the company as a community facilitator, instead of a traditional publishing house – although they kept publishing the traditional materials as well.

With their new business strategy in place, Corine and Gerard are now focused on executing it throughout 2017. I’ve been privileged to catch them for this insightful interview which I’m now happy to share it with you.

What are the main components of

The aim of our activities is to inspire companies in the pets industry by providing top level management (decision makers) with a trend driven magazine where we bring forth innovative developments. Our magazine is, in fact, a free publication with a circulation of 10,000 copies.

In terms of our readership, we’ve seen that the majority is 40+ and it is predominantly men. Although, if you compare it with 10 years ago, for instance, we see that more and more females are activating in the pets industry, including in the management levels.

We take this further, by organizing 3 conferences on a yearly basis. One major one which took place in Warsaw on 25 – 27 January. The 18th edition saw more attendees than ever, bringing together 230 pet industry representatives from 15 countries. They gathered for three days of inspiration, education and collaboration around how we can transform the pet industry and the way we organize our businesses with innovative ideas and tools.

When it comes to the online component of our business, that’s where it gets exciting because it has a lot of growth potential. That’s the reason we’re directing most of our energies throughout 2017 into expanding, especially the “Academy” section. GlobalPETS Academy is an e-learning platform specifically for the pet industry, to fill a void in educational programs worldwide. It’s a platform where professionals can increase their knowledge and learn from industry experts so that businesses can assemble the best possible team to drive them forward. We already have a catalog of 10 courses ranging from “Marketing and communication in a pet business” to “Recipes and recipe management”.

What are your current challenges?

The speed of change which the two of us have is sometimes hard to follow for people in the team, and that means sometimes that you have to push for innovation to happen. Building a team is always complicated and having a healthy culture that people can embrace and feel a part of is critical.

Over the past years, we managed to position our print magazine towards top level management and we feel like our next challenge is to grow the GlobalPETS Academy component we most of our current investment is concentrated.

Can you share a campaign/activity that you’ve done in the past year that produced successful results for you?

We published a “Purple Guide” containing in-depth high-standard articles about topics that touch upon the strategic agenda of the organization, where leading experts provided out-of-the-box inspiration for professionals in the pets industry. It’s the type of content that people felt the need to keep it within reach and consult it when needed.

If the 2016 edition was dedicated to the quality of ingredients as a recipe for success, the 2017 edition (“Back to nature, true to nature”) is already in the making, scheduled to be released on the 14th of April.

What are some of the new things you are going to try in 2017?

I think nearly 40% of our turnover is currently reinvested around the conferences, the online platforms, and print. This year we want to expand our community reach through social media campaigns.

In terms of our IT operations, we’re using a lot of 3rd party platforms to facilitate our online presence: from Drupal as our content management system to Publitas for publishing our magazines, MailChimp for e-mail campaigns and Vimeo for video content.

We’re also looking into ways of better understanding our mobile audience and if investing in an application might make sense throughout this year.

How do you see the publishing industry in general?

Gerard goes to say:

I come from a long tradition of document management; I’ve been in the IT world for many years doing document and content management. What I’ve noticed is that content is volatile – newspapers don’t bring the real news anymore, they bring background stories. Readers need a platform where they can show who they are, what they believe and communicate how they related to the stories they’re interested in.

Print is always going to have its place, but I believe the products that will stand the test of time will be those that are more stylish and manages to trigger in readers a certain level of proudness for holding it in their hands.

I think blending and mixing everything, all these channels, is really important especially for magazine publishers.

What would you recommend anybody who wants to start a publishing business today?

You must be aware that content is free so if you want to go for content ownership – forget about it. What you should focus on instead is to approach content in such a way that it provides an extra dimension to the information. Being a publisher means being in contact with the industry; your readers should know that if they come to you they’ll be connected to industry trends, leaders, and experts.

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CEO at Appticles. Tech-Biz in between guy. Passionate about entrepreneurship. Love to play tennis.

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