Membership Economy

Membership Economy

 

For all those thinking about starting a subscription-based business, or adding a subscription service to a business, Robbie Kellman Baxter shares an article that identifies five things you shouldn’t do and one you should. 

Netflix is a true leader of the Membership Economy. Back in 2002 when I first started working with them, I fell in love with their business model.

I loved their focus on doing one thing really well, their Forever Promise (FP). I describe that FP as “a huge selection of professionally created video content, delivered in the most efficient way possible, with cost certainty.”

I also loved their data-driven approach, the metrics they popularized around engagement and churn, and their continuous tinkering to always improve their model. And I loved their commitment to transparency.

But that doesn’t mean that every organization that wants predictable recurring revenue should copy everything Netflix does. Building a forever transaction with your own customers requires more than the “Netflix Playbook”.

Here are some times when you should consider charting your own course rather than doing what Netflix did.

 

Key points include:

  • Subscription revenue
  • Variable costs and customer usage
  • Distinctly different customer segments

 

Read the full article, 5 Reasons NOT to Make Your Subscription “Like Netflix”​…and 1 Reason You Should, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter takes a look forward at subscription businesses in 2021 and provides a few tips on how to improve sales through improved membership strategies. 

The time leading up to American Thanksgiving is often especially busy, with a combination of major conferences, ambitious sales goals and, of course, planning for the upcoming year before people check out (physically and/or mentally) for the holiday season.

You’ve probably spent some time already thinking about your goals for next year, and what you are committing to your board and stakeholders.

A key ritual of setting the year up for success for many organizations is the Sales Kick Off (SKO).

But this year’s event is likely going to look a little (a lot?) different.

I was inspired by my friend and colleague David Meerman Scott, co-author of Standout Virtual Events to rethink the SKO. David provides some excellent tips for running a quality virtual event, including the right equipment, how to prep a speaker, and how to think about the whole program as part of a whole.

In this article, I look at the SKO from a different angle. I took a step back to really focus on the “Forever Promise” organizations make to their sales teams and which has resulted in the “product” of the SKO event. The Sales Kick Off is a time to educate, engage and inspire the team to maximize the likelihood of hitting all sales objectives in the coming year.

 

Key points include:

  • The modular model
  • Creating ‘lean in’ opportunities
  • Making the most of events

 

Read the full article, Rethinking Your 2021 Sales Kick Off With a Membership Mindset, 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.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter identifies what ‘freemium really means’, how it can be used as a tactic, and the role of freemium in both ordinary and extraordinary times. 

Lots of organizations, particularly subscription businesses, are changing their rules about what is free and what is paid, in response to the coronavirus.

The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News are a few of the many publishers that have removed the paywall in front of coronavirus-related content. In other words, non-subscribers have access to articles relating to the pandemic and impending financial meltdown.

News isn’t the only industry that is giving away more than usual during this time of crisis.

Fitness organizations, like Orange Theory are live streaming classes that were formerly in-person, for members only.

Hello Core is offering free meditation classes to the public 3x/day through Instagram Live.

Zoom Communication CEO Eric S Yuan is expanding the features available on free accounts for K-12 educators.  

Many of my clients are asking what they should be giving away–a difficult choice in a time when many businesses are desperate for short-term revenue to avoid mass layoffs and ‘keep the lights on’.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • The difference between free trial and freemium
  • Viral freemium models
  • Customer engagement and retention

 

Read the full article, In Crisis, What Should Be Free(mium)?, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shares a story about her favourite bookstore and how it provides a great example of the Membership Economy in action.

When a Menlo Park bookstore was economically threatened, the community stepped in and created a membership program to improve long-term sustainability. 

Founded in 1955 by peace activist Roy Kepler, Kepler’s Books is a large independent bookstore. After its founding, it quickly became a center for intellectual thought and community discussion for the people living in the suburbs surrounding Stanford University. Over the years, the bookstore moved to increasingly larger locations, until it found its current home in downtown Menlo Park, California. Kepler’s is a neighbor to many of the Membership Economy pioneers featured in this book. After its move to Silicon Valley, many of the most innovative and successful investors and entrepreneurs frequented Kepler’s as a favorite browsing destination. 

By 2005, however, the bookselling landscape had changed, due in large part to the innovations of online retailers like Amazon. On August 31, 2005, Kepler’s Books closed its doors.

 

Read the full article, Kepler’s Books – A Story of a Local Business and the Membership Economy, on LinkedIn.

 

Subscription businesses were a big deal in 2019, so what’s the forecast for 2020? Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her expertise on what lies ahead. 

I’m no fortune teller, but something about the beginning of a new year and a new decade makes me want to start spouting predictions. Actually, this isn’t the first time I have taken a crack at predictions. The final chapter of my new book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION is all about the future of subscription and membership models too.

Here’s what I think will happen.

 

In this post, topics covered include:

  • There will be a right-sizing of the “Subscription Box” industry.
  • Subscription “Managers” Will be Everywhere.
  • Subscription CMOs will swing back toward strategy and away from “growth hacking”.
  • Consumers will start subscribing to the thing itself, not just services and boxes.
  • Big Companies will try to buy their way into the Membership Economy through Acquisition.
  • Healthcare will become increasingly consumer-centric, which will lead to more forever transactions.

Read the full article, Crystal Ball: The World of Subscriptions in 2020, on LinkedIn.

Robbie Baxter explains why companies need to prioritize their mission over their products to take advantage of new technologies and services and build a new kind of relationship with today’s–and tomorrow’s–members.

As association leaders, many of you are Membership Pioneers. Membership is something you probably have been thinking about for years. But in the last 10 years, membership has reinvented nearly every industry. Companies like LinkedIn, Amazon and Salesforce have created forever transactions of their own with their customers by using many of the tactics that are core to the deep relationships trade groups, professional societies and other not-for-profit associations have been building for decades.

But they’re using new tactics–streaming content, frictionless checkout, recommendation engines, artificial intelligence–to create dramatically improved experiences. As a result, consumer expectations about what membership means have changed. And the drivers of this new perception are not coming from other associations, they’re coming from Silicon Valley tech.

Maybe this is a good thing though. In times of great change, there are big winners, and big losers.

So what can your organization do to be one of the winners?

 

Points covered include:

-Product market fit

-Taking advantage of new technologies and services

-Prioritizing your mission over your products

 

Read the full article, Memberships Are Changing and What it Means for Your Association, on LinkedIn.