In this article, Amanda Setili explains why it’s necessary to dig below the surface of agreement to avoid the issue of last-minute naysayers.
Imagine a high-level team whose members represent different stakeholders. It might include representatives from a wide range of disciplines, divisions, companies or even communities. At first, they are all enthusiastically working together to define a common path forward.
As “consensus” nears, some members quietly begin to lose their enthusiasm. They start to wonder whether the direction in which the team is headed is even close to their original expectations. Will the path ahead be worth the time and effort? Is this still a good idea?
Such doubts often linger in the background. They may surface occasionally as polite, perhaps understated questions. But if you are leading the team and the “consensus” view is close to your own, it’s easy to miss entirely growing undercurrents of doubt.
This is a pivotal moment. If you push ahead without searching for silent naysayers, you may greatly misjudge your team’s potential. Instead of having a fully committed team that can draw on the resources of numerous groups, what you actually have is a small number of backers and a lot of doubters.
Key points include:
- Avoiding dissolution
- Consensus testing
- Setting an initial trial
Read the full post, How the Top Secret Concerns of Its Members Can Sink a Team, on LinkedIn.
Access this resource from Gaelle Lamotte’s company on how to improve your ability to execute strategies by integrating development and planning, driving focus and alignment.
How often do you win with your strategy?
Strategy development is useful for defining ambitions and long term goals. A good strategy is only as good as the capability to implement it and how well it delivers the desired outcome.
Various research concludes:
Organisations on average realise only 50-63% of the financial performance promised by their strategies.
Others suggest that the figure is in fact less than 30%.
Regardless of the data reviewed, it is not good news!
Failure to execute is often a result of poor understanding, and disjointed planning and governance processes.
Key points include:
- Identification of weak governance processes
- Build in-house capability for aligning Operational Plans and Budget with the Strategy
- The dynamic strategy management approach
Access the full PDF, Improve your ability to execute your strategies, from the Strategy Management Partners’ website.
Charity: water’s MZ Goodman joins Robbie Kellman Baxter to share how she is applying subscription model best practices to a nonprofit. They discuss how MZ leverages content marketing and digital community strategies developed in her work at The New York Times to build a donation-based subscription model, how they’ve leveraged a single 20-minute video to raise millions, and how to think about a Forever Promise in the context of engaging donors.
Welcome to the show. It’s your host, Robbie Kellman Baxter sharing subscription stories with you. Today’s guest is MZ Goodman. MZ is a true innovator, bringing the best practices of subscription, engagement, and brand from her work at The New York Times, Ralph Lauren, Glossier, and goop, to charity: water, a nonprofit that provides clean water to people in developing nations. The organization has been phenomenally successful by taking a different approach to fundraising. The 14 year old organization has raised over 450 million dollars. Join us as MZ shares the secrets of charity: water’s success and how to bring these principles to any organization. Welcome to the show, MZ.
‘Hi, Robbie, thanks so much for having me.’
‘Now your title at Charity: water, can you tell me what your title is?’
‘Sure. So I’m SVP of Subscription.’
‘That is not a title that I’m used to hearing at nonprofit.’
‘How did that happen? And what is a subscription to a nonprofit?’
‘I think it was, leadership was incredibly smart when they decided to pivot the business at the nonprofit in this direction, in that our COO, Lauren Letta, who’s incredibly visionary, she was already evaluating whether it made sense to create a subscriptions team focused on a North Star metric of predictive revenue so as to enable significant growth across the organization. And our model is very complicated. But it took a lot of moving parts. So it was a very intentional move on the part of leadership to create a cross-functional team focused on a North Star goal of building membership and growing recurring revenue.
Key points covered in this podcast include:
- Why a mission is the most important factor for attracting subscribers
- The importance of building a brand based on quality over charisma
- Ways for nonprofits to allow members to remain active without opening their checkbooks
- MZ’s advice for product leaders who want to transition to the nonprofit world
- The differences between building a community at a news company, a make-up company, and a nonprofit
Listen to the full conversation, Subscription Stories, Charity:Water, on RobbieKellmanBaxter.com.
As we begin to consider the far-reaching and long-lasting impacts of the current pandemic, Robbie Kellman Baxter thinks ahead and shares her thoughts on the future of live gatherings and how that will affect a wide range of institutions, organizations, and individuals.
A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they’re canceling any large physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021. (Some they’ll hold as virtual events.) Microsoft announced something similar. Many organizations are allowing no business travel through at least June of this year.
It looks like many organizations are going to be “virtual only” for at least another year.
And if businesses are being cautious, consumer gatherings are likely to be limited as well. What does that mean for sports, concerts, museums, theaters, theme parks and cruise ships? Industries most hard hit by the ban on large live gatherings include education, conferences, entertainment (sports, theater, concerts, amusement parks, museums, zoos) and travel.
Included in this article:
- Re-engineering virtual events
- Online content to maintain and deepen relationships
- Four ideas to help you move forward
Read the full article, “The Future of Live Gatherings and What it Means for Your Forever Transactions”, 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 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.
Robbie Kellman Baxter explains why a free trial is not always the best tactic and identifies three reasons a subscription business isn’t attracting new members.
Recently, a CEO of a major professional association asked me what I thought of a 30 day free trial for new members.
He worried that potential members would sign up for the free trial, binge the value in that free period and then cancel without paying. But his board was concerned that not enough people were joining and thought a free trial could be the solution.
In this case, I agree with the CEO, not the board, about offering a free trial. Here’s why.
A free trial is a taste of the best you’ve got, which you offer because either:
- They don’t understand what it tastes like
- They don’t believe it tastes as good as you say
Read the full article, “Free” Is a Tactic, not a Strategy, on Linkedin.