Finding paying customers for a publisher by fine-tuning their value proposition with lean start-up methods

  • Client
  • Sanoma, Mechelen
  • Project
  • La Maison Victor
  • Filed under
  • E-commerce, Lean, Start-up

Sanoma Belgium is one of the largest publishers of women’s magazines. Traditionally positioned at the heart of the female target group, Sanoma is devoted to staying relevant to women. Innovating with inventive propositions that connect their core competence, print, with business models that fit the ever-evolving world of women.

In this matter SUE was asked to help discover new business opportunities for “La Maison Victor“ a DIY fashion magazine. We collaborated in fine-tuning the value proposition and finding paying customers for both the magazine and spin-offs. We did so by using lean start-up methods. In a process of build, measure & learn, we discovered a working business model and validated the business case before spending the marketing budgets.

Our contributions


  • Field research
  • Expert interviews
  • Desk research


  • Copywriting & digital design
  • Persuasion design
  • MVP: website & banners
  • Digital marketing
  • Analytics


  • Set-up customer development
  • Set-up contact strategy
  • Team coaching

Building a business without a campaign

Our challenge was to find out whether a DIY fashion brand with a print medium at the heart of it – could add up to income streams for Sanoma. After thorough research we created several value propositions and tested them in a minimal viable product; in this case, a landing page in which we integrated smart analytics to identify actual behaviour. With the main goal being to build a business first and not simply develop a campaign.

This case was awarded a Silver SpinAward in the Digital Business Idea category.

We don't hope, we measure

We initially thought the magazine would appeal to women in combination with how-to videos. Our data actually showed that this was nothing more than a hypothesis. We also assumed the paid print magazines wouldn’t be a driver for business as free DIY fashion sources like Pinterest are available to anyone. Wrong again. We learned that strategy is nothing more than an assumption. Proving, gut feeling and experience are good starting points but – if not validated – are merely a recipe for hunch based marketing.

Success factors

We followed a process of rigorous experimentation. Testing small product variations – with limited digital media exposure – to identify meaningful behaviour. In very short cycles we built, measured and learnt. Not wasting money on developing a brand identity, but focusing on building a business first. After 8 weeks we found scalable behaviour: lots of women proved willing to pay for all-inclusive packages including fabric. And the magazine? It turned out to be a significant driver for online sales after all.

We followed a process of rigorous experimentation. Testing small product variations to identify meaningful behaviour.


In one year we were able to grow a business from 0 to over 1 million euros

Online visitors


Conversion ratio


Monthly repeat ratio


Want to hear this story live?

(we are happy to share all the ins and outs with you)

other work


  • 's-Gravenhekje 1a
  • 1011TG Amsterdam
  • The Netherlands


  • (+31) 20 223 46 26

Become a master in nudging behaviour

Count me in!

Don't miss out

Receive our biweekly email with the best articles we've been reading in the meantime.

Ok, you gonna want to check your mail now


That’s me! Let's meet