Robbie Kellman Baxter takes a look at the Apple ONE bundling strategy to assess the pros and cons of bundling offers and partnerships from the perspective of a subscription-based business strategy.
Rumors are flying about Apple’s emerging bundling strategy. Apparently they are getting ready to launch several tiers of new bundled subscriptions, incorporating different combos of the following: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, iCloud storage and eventually a new Fitness offering.
It makes sense. We’ve already seen the power of Amazon Prime, both as a driver of revenue and as a powerful “habit driver” for all of Amazon’s offerings. I know I joined Amazon Prime several years ago just for the free shipping. Today, that free shipping has motivated me to go to Amazon first for nearly everything. Just as important, Amazon Prime has introduced me to many other features that deepen my family’s engagement and loyalty, including video, audio, storage and ebooks.
Apple has been focusing more on service revenue over the past few years, and this move is one more step on their recurring revenue journey. They already have a “forever transaction” with millions of hardware customers who have stopped looking for alternatives to Apple for their hardware purchases. Now they are simply formalizing that relationship and extending it with their various subscriptions.
Areas covered in this article include:
- Partnering with a bigger player
Read the full article, Apple ONE (Or the Pros and Cons of Subscription Bundles, Rundles and Partnerships), on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter writes about her experience as an online subscriber to Disney+ and whether Disney will deliver on their forever promise of family connection through membership.
This weekend, my family watched Hamilton on Disney+. We weren’t the only ones. I’m guessing a lot of the 54 million (as of May) subscribers were also singing along as part of a “shelter at home” Fourth of July holiday.
Like many others, we subscribed last week, specifically to watch the musical. To be specific, we upgraded from our Hulu-with-ads subscription (which I got initially so my kids could watch The Handmaid’s Tale…but then we got hooked on some other shows) to the Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle.
Disney is most certainly seeing a spike in subscribers this week, but will it last?
Will this cohort of subscribers who joined to watch Hamilton be less likely to stay engaged and more likely to cancel? Probably.
Points covered in this article include:
- The key to retention
- Five retention tactics
- Disney’s approach to on-boarding
Read the full article, Everyone Subscribed to Disney+ for Hamilton. Will Disney’s Onboarding Process Be Enough to Retain This Cohort?, on LinkedIn.
Carlos Castelan’s company blog provides five questions to help you think about and prepare for the future post COVID-19.
To say that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone is an understatement. The last six months have brought an enormity of difficulties and change to both the world of retail and the global population. While we don’t have the fabled Sports Almanac to identify future results, we wanted to share five questions that we have used with our clients to help plan for the second half of the year:
1: How are you supporting your current employees and remaining agile to meet new opportunities?
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and added challenges from homeschooling young children to caring for family members. This is no ordinary time and it is also an extraordinary opportunity for leaders to demonstrate empathy for what is happening in their team’s lives.
It’s imperative to demonstrate to all employees that people come first and that their whole lives are welcome at work regardless of whether the impacts are visible. This can take the form of extending certain benefits to help manage through those challenges such as flexible work schedules, childcare reimbursements, and family care leave. It means providing adequate sick leave and income stability to those battling the virus to ensure their recovery and the safety of their colleagues. Target, for example, temporarily raised wages, provided free backup childcare for loved ones, and up to 30 days of paid leave for team members 65 or older, pregnant, or with underlying medical conditions.
This is also a critical moment to be agile to meet new opportunities. Essential businesses are having to flex up to meet a surge in demand. How can they quickly and safely identify and onboard talent? As retailers accelerate digital transformation initiatives like online ordering and curbside fulfillment, how can they shift resources to accelerate and deliver on those initiatives? Nowhere was this more critical than Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, which has aggressively leaned into curbside pickup. To rapidly hire over 150,000 team members, they launched an expedited recruitment process and partnered with companies across restaurants, hospitality, and retail that had furloughed workers, in some cases going from application to offer within 24 hours.
The remaining four questions explore:
- Customer retention and relationships
- Impact on your industry and and competitors
- Impact on suppliers and supply chain
- Lower revenue
Read the full article, Back to the future: five questions to help you jump ahead in 2020, on the Navio Group website.
Robbie Kellman Baxter explains why the customer relationship is even more valuable and volatile during times of crisis and provides six practical steps you can take to maintain strong customer relations.
Subscription-based businesses seem to be the most resilient during this time of crisis. With predictable recurring revenue, they have greater flexibility to withstand the storm. But there’s more to it than just revenue. To hang onto customers during a crisis, you need to build a forever transaction with the people you serve.
Around the world, everyone is adjusting to their own personal “new normal.” They’re sheltering in place. They’re worrying about the elderly and immunocompromised in their community. Their kids are distance learning and not going to school or childcare. Most people, except those on the front lines and in essential businesses, are working from home. And many of those who own or run businesses are trying to hang onto their customers when seemingly all forces are working against them. Smart marketers know they can kill their brand if they screw this up.
The six steps include:
- The focus on the forever promise
- Determining your best members
- Expanding customer success
- Learning from frontline team members
- Placing the customer at meetings
- Identifying the customer challenges
Read the full article, How to Hold onto Your Customers in a Crisis – and for the Long Term, on LinkedIn.
Robbie Kellman Baxter explains what a subscription business can do to mitigate customer loss and generate customer gain through attraction and retention strategies.
‘Millennials aren’t joiners.’ ‘Millennials don’t pay for news.’ ‘Our customers love us, but the average age is going up. It seems like millennials just aren’t interested.’
These are statements I hear all the time from membership organizations that have been around for a few decades or more: professional associations and trade groups, religious institutions, newspapers, gyms, and country clubs. Having some success under your belt is both a blessing and a curse. What you’re doing seems to be working, so you keep doing it. But let complacency take hold and you’re doomed. When businesses can’t attract new members, they die a slow death as old members age out.
The problem is two-fold. One, if you don’t evolve your offerings and communication strategy, new prospects will find your company ‘old fashioned’ or ‘not for me.’ Two, you might mistake inertia for loyalty: those members are still with you out of habit, and when new competitors come along they suddenly realize someone else can better meet their needs.
Points covered in this article:
- Common mistakes made by old and new subscription businesses
- Tips to reinvention
- Self-disruption as a strategy
- The benefits of paranoia
Read the full article, Walking the Generational Tightrope: How To Keep Older Members Happy and Also Draw In Younger Ones, on LinkedIn.
This article from David Burnie’s company blog identifies the value of the contact centre, and how it helps to prevent customer attrition.
The contact centre is a necessity for any mid-large size organization. It is where customer inquiries are handled across multiple channels, such as the phone, email or live chat. It is a bustling place of energy, activity and collaboration and often a starting point for many who want to forge a career in corporate.
When built and supported the right way, the contact centre can be a highly engaging and interactive environment. Palpable energy can be felt if you were to walk the floor and observe employees in action. It is a place of discovery, learning and, most importantly, the hub of customer information. No other place in a company can provide the same insights regarding how customers are feeling.
Points covered in this article include:
- Why contact centres are undervalued
- How to prevent employee and customer attrition
- How to leverage the full value of the contact centre
Read the full article, The Value of Contact Centres, on the Burnie Group website.
Azim Nagree provides three factors that can help determine whether you need a single, mixed-function team or two separate teams when it comes to account management and customer success.
‘What’s the difference between Account Management and Customer Success? And more importantly, when do I need separate AM and CS teams?’
I’ve been asked this question multiple times in the last few months so it’s clear that many people are grappling with this problem. The short answer – it depends. Specifically, it depends upon your product, your P&L and your customers.
What’s the difference?
Most people know that Accounts Managers are different to Customer Success Managers. But what precisely is the difference? It lies in the relationship they have with the customer.
The three factors discussed are:
- Product complexity
- Profit and loss
- Customer feedback
Read the full article, Account Management? Or Customer Success? Or Both? on the Nagree Consulting website.
Karthik Rajagopalan’s company blog explains how machine learning models can facilitate a deeper understanding of the drivers of churn, leading to better solutions that can help customer retention for subscription businesses.
Subscriptions have been around for a very long time. Having come a long way from the hire-for-purchase model introduced by the Singer sewing machine company, the past few decades saw the emergence of memberships in retail, health clubs, and monthly subscriptions to services like telephone and cable television. More recently, the recurring revenue model has been pushed forward by e-commerce and software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses with the introduction of services for streaming media, connected home, connected car, gaming, etc. According to the Subscription economy index (SEI), the subscription economy has grown by nearly 300% over the last 7 years and is also increasingly correlated with traditional economy, a significant yet not so surprising development.
Topics covered in this article include:
-Customer longterm value
Read the full article, AI augmented retention program is a must for subscription businesses, on the Paramis Digital website.