The Supply Chain Matters blog debuts a new commentary focused column: Just Sayun.
This is where, from time to time, we share observations and brief narratives of the global supply chain management landscape from an admittedly witty perspective.
We begin with thoughts on today’s landscape of available educational and thought leadership content.Supply Chain Matters blog
Global supply chain professionals have many more choices in the availability of thought leadership.  The challenge, from this Editor’s view is a concerning trend of erosion of the quality of such content, as well as more thought leadership being mingled with blatant marketing content.
Whether the site is industry publication, professional organization, or industry analyst focused, the lines of demarcation have, from our lens, become very blurred. Too often, news stories are being regurgitated or re-purposed, without providing context, insights or important implications for readers. Too often, content is being blatantly linked to a sponsor advertisement.
Our editorial efforts cause us to visit many web sites to gather information and discern industry trends and developments. To cite one example that occurred this week, we visited a bannered supply chain management publication-based thought leadership site and was presented with no less than four simultaneous advert pop-ups that overlapped the content panel itself, only to soon discover that the termed thought leadership offering was sponsored content, authored by a vendor representative. In other examples, we noticed some supply chain professional organizations offering their email mailing lists to various technology or services providers to promote upcoming thought leadership webinars or events without fully disclosing the sponsor, with declaration of the demarcation.
This Editor was recently turned down for media credentials for an upcoming supply chain management professional organization’s conference that I have frequently attended in the past. The criteria was not being granted a credential was expressed as others offering barter agreements coupled with marketing. We speculate that this implies that media attendance is governed by revenue-sharing or marketing criteria.
Let us be clear, all of us in supply chain management focused thought leadership need to sustain our business models through revenues. That often involves partnering with vendors and services providers on marketing or other promotional campaigns. We do not hide the fact that Supply Chain Matters must sustain itself through revenues and paid sponsorships.
The difference, at least for us, is that we:

  • Always strive to differentiate our site through the quality of its content.
  • Provide reader awareness as to what content we author ourselves vs. content contributed by others. Our editorial policy is that if we produce content for a particular sponsor or client, we clearly state such in a disclosure.
  • Refrain from making this site as a blatant advertising medium. Our sponsorships are capped to a handful.
  • Maintain a specific boundary between our research content and our blog content. Supply Chain Matters serves as the platform for opinion and perspectives. In certain cases, it is a platform available to sponsors or clients in helping to leverage their brand or product visibility. In such cases, we disclose that in the content. Research is our platform for unbiased, independent thought leadership., which we make available on either a complimentary or paid basis. While clients, sponsors or vendors provide us needed background information, we make it very clear that our research viewpoints our independent.

One added disclosure relates to the current sensitivities to data and information security across the Internet and social media platforms. Since the inception of both of our business dimensions, our policy has been never to sell to third parties any client or reader email or contact information.  In the case of declared sponsored content featured on this blog, information relative to reader downloads will clearly state that certain registration information can be shared.
We conclude with final thoughts:
Sometimes, simple is better.
Sometimes, a desire by the content provider to share non-biased knowledge and objective insights should be discerned in the web sites readers visit.
Sometimes, being rated as one of the top ten or top twenty supply chain management web sites has meaning, especially when that site demonstrates respect for the intellect and thirst for knowledge of its readers.
Just Sayun.
Bob Ferrari
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