How TheStreet.com used data modeling to boost renewal rates and price

Launched in 1996, TheStreet was co-founded by the unconventional money manager Jim Cramer, who is better known for hosting CNBC’s investment program ‘Mad Money’. And yet as prominent as TheStreet was (and still is), it’s been plagued by low renewal rates and poor customer retention statistics.

TheStreet’s old renewal pricing strategy was frustratingly basic, based solely on log-in frequency. So if a visitor logged-in frequently they were put into one group, and received a very high price. If visitors logged in a little they were put in another group and got a low price. And that was it. There was also little historical price testing.

The Strategy: Bring in outside experts to offer a new approach to a common problem

The answer resided with Minnesota-based Apex Decisions, a data science company that was brought in to create a unique one-to-one pricing model for TheStreet’s customers. As TheStreet’s Jill Marchisotto explained to Pub Exec, “We undertook a very in-depth proof of concept: We gave them half our file and we said, ‘Take it. Look at all of these different attributes we have on it, and come up with what you think you can do for us.'”

The goal of the Apex Decisions project, Marchisotto said, involved the overall renewal and engagement strategy for all TheStreet’s paid subscription products. TheStreet also wanted to significantly boost its renewal rates while also maximizing price. “And one or the other was not really an option that I was allowed to have on the table,” Marchisotto said. “This had to be something that improved [retention] rates and maximized price in order to be successful.”

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