Netflix. Spotify. Zipcar. It’s been years since these innovators proved the viability of the subscription service business model outside of more typical categories like publishing and entertainment.These are not running-to-catch-up subscription businesses like magazine publishers and cable companies, but innovative Internet-enabled companies built squarely upon a subscription-driven revenue platform.
Today, consumers and companies are gravitating to subscription-based models that offer convenience, flexibility, and cost savings in exchange for a monthly commitment. Brands and publishers looking to capitalise on growing consumer adoption of subscription service plans must see maintaining, retaining, and monetising customer relationships as both the goal and the reward. No longer solely focused on selling services or pushing products, many companies are rethinking and reformulating the way their business works.
Marketing to today’s hyper-connected consumer in the Subscription Economy requires a specialised approach that prioritises retention over selling. With consumers increasingly demanding access to the goods and services they want, whenever they want them, businesses across industries are looking for ways to provide ongoing value and better services to meet expectations.
Instead of focusing solely on getting new subscribers, publishers need to ensure that existing customers continue to see value in the relationship over time – and that includes speaking to each subscriber uniquely to help drive broader adoption. To do this, publishers must design, build, and optimise strategies tailored to subscriber behaviour.
Following a subscription journey-focused framework attracts new subscribers, reduces churn, increases revenue, and delivers better user experiences that result in the ultimate payoff: loyal, long-term customer relationships.
So how can publishers meet the expectations of this new breed of consumer? Treat them with CARE. Caring for, or nurturing, the consumer relationship is mission-critical for publishers and businesses hoping to succeed in the Subscription Economy. By creating a plan that considers the four tenets of CARE: Context, Automation, Relevancy and Engagement, publishers will drive greater conversion and adoption, maintain customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and create loyal, long-term relationships with subscribers
The CARE Methodology solution:
- Context: Today’s consumer will travel through five key stages in a standard subscription lifecycle: Acquisition, New Subscriber, Upsell/Add-on, Renewal, and Evangelist. Mapping the subscription journey is the first phase of a subscription marketing strategy, which provides the context necessary to help tailor personalised programs based on consumer behaviour and experience.
- Automation: Being relevant and timely with content and communications is a crucial piece of the Subscription Marketing puzzle. Whether triggering welcome messages at opt-in, implementing a retention series before a renewal date, or sending a personalised abandoned cart email, sophisticated automation platforms use consumer behaviour to trigger personalised messages in the micro-moment.
- Relevancy: With today’s consumer inundated with hundreds of marketing messages a day, avoiding the junk folder requires a nuanced approach. In this context, relevancy means being nimble enough in your communications to tailor content, timing, and messages based entirely on subscriber state.
- Engagement: This is not a marketing metric dashboard number, like open rates or web traffic; it is the ongoing dialog between brand and subscriber. Fostering that dialog requires focusing in on user needs, finding the right message, and determining if customers want to hear more. When engaged strategically, subscribers will be naturally moved to share their great experiences on other platforms, which will organically lead to the identification of new customers.
Success in the subscription model hangs on a publisher’s ability to acquire, retain, and delight subscribers. Of course, just like with pricing models, long-term success with a marketing strategy relies on constant testing and iteration. There is no “set it and forget it” marketing in the subscription economy. The most successful publishers stay competitive by embracing change, constantly measuring what’s working and what’s not, and using data to nimbly adjust to a rapidly-changing digital marketplace and the needs of its subscribers.
Christopher Baldwin, Head of Marketing, Northern Europe at Selligent Marketing Cloud
About Selligent Marketing Cloud
Selligent Marketing Cloud is a marketing automation platform that enables B2C brands to engage consumers across all critical channels. Built for the relationship marketer, Selligent Marketing Cloud is the only marketing cloud built on a single code base, featuring artificial intelligence and a Customer Data Platform with a universal consumer profile at the core of every action. Publishing clients include: Auto Trader, Dennis Publishing and Hearst Magazines in the UK, as well as Mediahuis and Roularta Media Group in Europe.