Podcast

Episode: 288 |
Robbie Kellman Baxter:
Subscription Models:
Episode
288

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Robbie Kellman Baxter

Subscription Models

Show Notes

Robbie Kellman Baxter is the author of The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction & Build Recurring Revenue, a book that has been named a top 10 marketing book of all time by BookAuthority. Robbie discussed that book on Episode 6 of this show.

In today’s episode, Robbie discusses her latest book, The Forever Transaction: How to Build a Subscription Model So Compelling, Your Customers Will Never Want to Leave.

To learn more about her work, visit: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. And I’m Will Bachman. And I’m so excited to be here today with Robbie Kalman Baxter, who was guest on episode six of this show, when we talked about her first book, the membership economy. And now Rob is back to talk about her latest book, The forever transaction. Robbie, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me. Well, so Robbie, what is a forever transaction.

Robbie Baxter 00:38
I know it sounds funny, because those two words don’t go together very often, forever means forever. And transaction implies one time, but the way I think about it a forever transaction is that moment when your customer takes off their consumer hat where they’re looking for alternatives, puts on a member hat and stops looking for alternatives and decides that your organization is going to be part of their new habits and the way that they’re going to either solve an ongoing problem or achieve an ongoing goal without looking for other ways of solving that problem. So it’s that the forever transaction is that moment when you establish a new kind of relationship that justifies recurring revenue.

Will Bachman 01:25
And, you know, so many of us that really resonates because we don’t want to have to go out and do a search every time. We want to, you know, solve a problem. You know, I’m a veteran, and I use USA. And it’s awesome, right? I’m never gonna switch insurance company. So I don’t I’ve kind of solved that problem, my life and for car insurance. And you see advertisements for Geico and stuff. But you can ignore those because like, Okay, I got that soft. So that really resonates with me the idea of sort of transitioning from I’m searching, I’m searching, I’m doing individual shopping to saying like, this is this is just, you know, I want to be a member now and not just a shopper. Yeah, why did you. So you wrote the membership economy. And then several years passed, how did kind of the ecosystem and the environment evolve, such that it led you to write the forever transaction.

Robbie Baxter 02:26
So I wrote, I wrote the membership economy, because I was seeing something. And it didn’t feel like other people were seeing it. So I wanted to write it down and explain. And that was that, you know, I’d started I had been a consultant for much of my career. And I’d worked with Netflix, and then intuits pay cycle, and Survey Monkey, and all of these businesses, it got much broader bicycles, and dental pain management, all kinds of things. But they were all rethinking their business model, building a long term relationship with the customer, using subscription pricing, using direct to consumer using digital community to build these highly engaged relationships. And I was trying to tell people, look, you can do this too, if you’re a solopreneur, running, you know, your business around your subject matter expertise, if you’re a mom and pop store, or if you’re the biggest Corporation, you know, digital natives, non native, traditional businesses, nonprofits, everybody can do this. And it’s going to have great payoff both for the customer who, as you pointed out, you know, it’s nice to be able to say, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. And it’s also great for the company that can enjoy the Predictable Revenue, the tighter relationship that’s more disruption, prove all the data and learning from having a steady relationship with a particular customer. And the higher valuation, so I’m telling people, look, this is a great model, and you should consider it. Five years ago, I was the only one thing that flash forward to today is, as you pointed out, the ecosystem has really changed. And everybody is trying to do subscriptions or do membership. And they’re running into problems. And so I wrote the forever transaction if the membership economy was what and why the forever transaction is how here’s how you build a forever transaction. Here’s what you do, when you’re just launching, here’s what you do when you found something that works and you want to scale it up. And here’s what you do to stay relevant and maintain a leadership position, even after you’ve been doing this for a while.

Will Bachman 04:39
Okay, great. So let’s start with some of the basics. So let’s, let’s say a company currently is more transaction focused. How do they start thinking about what does it take to become more of a membership or subscription based company that’s going to have a forever transaction with its customers

Robbie Baxter 05:00
They want to, I would advise them to start by taking a step back and defining what their forever promises, what is the promise that they are making to their customers to their best customers, or that their best customers wish they were making. So for example, if I go to a store to buy a blouse, so that I look professional, when I give a speech, what I really wish is that they would just make me look professional all the time that I wouldn’t have done that, that would be one thing that I don’t have to worry about. Right? That might be the forever promise that I wish they would make. So the first thing is to sort of take a step back and say, What is that forever promise, if you’re a consultant, you’re forever promise to a customer might be, I will continue to help you make the best possible decisions. In this particular space, whether it’s you know, sales, or AI, or retail, or whatever it is that you’re that your expertise is, then maybe part of your forever promise includes reports or benchmarking data, or connection with other like minded people, but it’s really focusing on the promise, instead of on the deliverables. That’s the first step. And then from there, you really want to get clear on who your best customer is that you’re designing your ongoing relationship with? And then you want to think about what’s the minimum viable product that you can test that relationship with? What can you offer them forever, to begin to learn about the nature of this particular ongoing relationship?

Will Bachman 06:38
Alright, let me let me do a little pop quiz. Let me ask you, I’m going to name some companies. And you tell me they’re forever promise. So this is totally unscripted. So I so Okay, so Starbucks, what’s their forever promise? Um,

Robbie Baxter 06:57
so, I’m not sure they have one. But but but I would if I were gonna if I wrote about them in the first book, and what I would say is that their promise is a comfortable place with quality food and beverage for you to hang out when you’re not working out at home. I think that’s what they might say.

Will Bachman 07:20
Yeah. clean, safe. You know, somewhat tasteful. Not super fancy, like decent coffee. Food is comfortable. Right. But I mean, I think that’s what they say it’s a comfortable place to hang out and enjoy coffee and a snack. Yeah, very consistent. Yeah, but

Robbie Baxter 07:36
it’s about it’s about hanging out. And it’s about comfort. And that’s why they’ve been able over time to you know, they’ve experimented in some ways that you wouldn’t expect a coffee shop to experiment like, they’re, you know, for a while they were giving out free song of the day, people wanted the album’s of the music that they provided because the music was music they wanted to have at home because it made them feel good. So they’re really, you know, expanding the ways that they kind of create, you know, we’ll talk about the third place, not home, not work. But where else do you hang it with the third most common place that someone might find you? I think that’s what they would what they would say they continue to evolve to layer in more value against that promise

Will Bachman 08:18
about Amazon.

Robbie Baxter 08:21
The easiest way, and the easiest, least friction filled way to get the stuff you want. And I get the apple, the elegant, the most elegant footprint for your technology, where everything works. Walmart

Will Bachman 08:46
everyday low prices, right?

Robbie Baxter 08:48
Well, that’s that’s their brand promise. I don’t know if that’s a forever promise. I don’t think that’s big enough. I think they’ve actually struggled quite a bit. I mean, it’s an interesting, I’m thinking about it. I don’t you know, they have struggled with their forever promise. It’s not, it’s not clear what to always expect from them versus, for example, Amazon. I think they’ve nailed it in their stores. But I don’t think that they’re forever promise extends to what’s the next thing that they’re going to layer in? They’ve had some some challenges there. Interesting.

Will Bachman 09:19
Okay, cool. So that was fun. So the need to get this forever promise in place? And then and then keep going. So what’s next, as a company thinks about building this forever.

Robbie Baxter 09:33
So if you’re a going concern, like the companies that you described, you want to focus first on where Who are you going to make your promise to? So one of the issues, you know, reasons I struggle a little bit with Walmart is who is who is it that they really want to serve Well, with a forever promise, because that’s the best way to layer in more value is if you know who it’s for. So you want to get really focused so people sometimes forget that, you know, Amazon well today, they really want to be all things to all People, right, the easiest way to get stuff was friction free way to get stuff. But they started with just books. And guess what those books weren’t even delivered in two days, you would have to wait sometimes, you know, 1015 days to get the title you wanted. But that promise of getting any book you wanted was a good, they had the vision of, you know, the easiest way to get anything. But the first place they started was with books. And they focused on people who loved books, and then they layered in other things over time. And then they layered in Amazon Prime. And then they’ve actually evolved amazon prime to be relevant to, you know, one group after another, they’ve layered in students, people on public assistance, people globally. So, you know, you have your vision, you have your starting point, and then you have those milestones to build learning or leverage learning is, you know, if I said to you, you know, why wouldn’t you just, you know, build out your full vision right now, most people would say, well, there’s a bunch of things that I don’t know yet. So I want to learn before I invest. And my boss won’t let me these are kind of the two reasons, right? So I call the first group things you need to learn, right? Even if my boss gave me the keys to the kingdom and said, Here’s unlimited budget, and you can pick whatever team members you want and shut down whatever other businesses you want. I wouldn’t do it because I’m not confident yet. And then the other kind of questions are leveraged questions, which is, I would like to do this right now. But my boss won’t let me because I have not proven to my boss, that it’s going to be the best decision for the company. So sometimes that leverage is, you know, we can’t do this because we have partners. And if they see us moving in this direction, they’re going to shut down the partnerships before we’re ready. Or our customers are going to panic, if they see us moving in this direction, or my colleagues in a different department are going to panic. And they’re going to try to stop me because they’re worried about either their roles or about their businesses. So you want to make a list of all of those things that you need to learn and all of those places where you need leverage, and start mapping out which ones come first, which are the easiest ones to do and the most powerful ones that will answer the most important questions. And then what follows follows on. So for example, Electronic Arts, so I feature in the book, you know, they have $60 video games, but their CEO has publicly said that they want to be a player first organization. So they’ve been experimenting with subscription. Well, they didn’t start by saying let’s throw away all of our box games. And let’s make everything into one big huge subscription, because they had a lot of things to learn, right. And a lot of customers who really liked the box software, and a really strong network for distributing that. So what they started with was, you know, what they call their catalogue games, which are the games that have been out for an extended period of time and are no longer the hot new games. And they only made the subscription for catalogue games delivered. I think the first one was over the PC, which is, you know, only a fraction a small fraction of the way people access their games. You know, most people I think use the gaming console. That’s what my kids youth. And so they started there to learn how do people use a subscription? Do people want a subscription? How many games does somebody play when they play with a subscription? And then based on that learning, they were able to have the confidence to extend into you know, other channels and not just pc? And also to extend into their frontline games, their their current hot games as their emergent?

Will Bachman 13:45
Can you give us some examples of what you mean by you needing leverage where you know, partners might shut you down? So Yo, so what were some examples of that be?

Robbie Baxter 13:54
Um, well, let’s say that your video content company like, like HBO, and you have partnerships with all the cable companies and all the telcos. If you you know, when they started with their I’m sure they thought about I haven’t worked with them. But you know, when they started with their HBO, they have HBO Go and HBO Max, right? If they’re bypassing their middleman, right, they’ve been there. They’ve had partnerships for a long time, they have to be really thoughtful about the way they go direct to their customers, if those customers are also accessing them through the partner. Same thing with with EA with Electronic Arts, right? If they’re selling boxed software, box games, through, you know, retailers, right, those retailers might be concerned if they see that, you know, he is going to now distribute the games through the subscription. Right, so they have to be very thoughtful about that. Another thing is, if if you move to subscription where the subscription is designed around the customer particular customer segment. And that customer is going to access all of the different divisions of products, right, because instead of being focused on, you know, instead of structuring your organization around products, you’re structuring it around customers, the person who is the GM of each of those product union units, is suddenly not going to be the most important person, most important person is going to be the person that’s running the customer relationship. So if I’m that person that runs that business, I might be very nervous about it, rightly or wrongly, right? I might be nervous, because I’m afraid that it will destroy value for the company. And I might be worried because it means that I have less power than I used to have. So you need leverage. So that, you know you can answer or like you want your team to build products differently. If you’re a newspaper, and you’re moving to subscription from newsstand. And you’re moving to a reader generated revenue model from a ad ad revenue model. Right? If you’re the newsroom, the kind of articles you write might need to be different, what kind of article you know, one is about what kind of articles would somebody read? Right? Because it’s about eyeballs versus what kind of Article would somebody pay for. And so then you’re suddenly asking your colleagues in the product team or in the newsroom, to change how they work. And you can imagine that there’s, you know, there’s going to be a backlash or, or, or a response, where, you know, the editor might say, I don’t believe you prove to me that this is a better model, before we change our editorial strategy.

Will Bachman 16:38
I can imagine that in some cases, shifting from a more product based model to more of a subscription model. In the short term, it could result in, you know, sacrificing some revenue, because you’re not getting, you know, $60, all upfront for one game, but you’re charging subscription over time. How do companies navigate that, that change in the revenue model from single one time upfront, hit to more of an ongoing stream?

Robbie Baxter 17:06
So it’s first of all, it’s a really good question. Because it’s, it’s one of the areas where that really slows down companies that are moving to subscription, because there’s very real fear that they’re going to cannibalize their healthy businesses, right? We’re gonna, we’re gonna move What if we move this is everybody’s fear, right? What if we move our best customers to the subscription, so their lifetime value goes down. And we don’t attract anybody new and we don’t expand any relationships, right? Because the hope is, if we move from, like you said, the $60 games, to, let’s say, you know, I don’t know a $10 a month thing where, you know, $100 a year, that would mean that anybody who goes to that subscription that’s buying one game or less, they’re going to make more money from anybody that has historically bought two games or more, is going to get a better deal. Right. And so you want to be sure that you have enough people in the first group, to make up for the people in the second group. And so what companies usually do there is first they model it out, so they have a sense of kind of what’s the order of magnitude of the risk? And then they might do an experiment in one small market to see what actually happens in the question. You know, one of the things that’s really important with tests is you have to be clear about what you’re testing. So the test is designed to say, if we put this offer into a market, how will our best customers react? How will our light customers react? And how will our non customers react? And once you sort of have a sense of those three groups, it’s easier to make assumptions about what the impact might be, if you went broader.

Will Bachman 18:45
What sort of organizational changes do companies need to make and what kind of new skills and talents do they need to bring in to set themselves up for forever transactions.

Robbie Baxter 19:00
So when you’re in the scaling phase of this, you definitely need a different kind of culture. First of all, that is more focused on the customer relationship, and really understanding their journey and designing around that. And that is, is a mindset shift. It’s also often a skill shift. There’s a lot of people that are very good, technically, they’re very good writers. They’re very good software coders, they’re very good. surgeons, right. And now you’re suddenly telling them look, in addition to those skills we need, we need you to understand that customer and then think about how to redesign your product to better align with their goals. So you know, one point I was working with the bicycle industry, and the biggest growth area for bikes was families. Right? Mom’s buying you know, five bikes, right one for me, one for my husband, one for each of our kids. And by the way, one of them needs to be purple, and we need a basket for the you know, For the farmers market, and a lot of the manufacturers, you know, they were bike enthusiasts, they did not want to make that kind of bike. So you need both the culture where they say, No, we’re trying to design the product that that mom wants to buy, because she wants to have bike enjoyment. Or we have to say, No, we’re in the business of making bikes for, you know, people that have five to 10 bikes, you know, for special purposes. So you have to change your your product, mindset, your team mindset. And then you need skills around customer journey, onboarding, you need Customer Success instead of customer support, which is really the difference between customer support being waiting for a problem and then solving it. And that is a cost center, versus anticipating what will what a customer will need to get the most value out of what they’re already paying for. So when you onboard them, making sure that they’re seeing all the features and using it, and anticipating any problems that may be coming down the pike and making sure it doesn’t happen, because in a subscription model, you know, if the customer leaves, you lose the revenue, whereas if I sell something outright, like a car, the minute you roll it off the off the showroom floor, it’s your problem, not mine. And if you never drive it, or you just keep it in first the whole time, I still make the same amount of money. But if you were subscribing to that car, and you were keeping it in your garage and ever driving it, you might say, you know, it’s not really worth it, I’m going to I’m going to cancel my subscription.

Will Bachman 21:37
So, in practice, but and by the way, when you’re talking about bicycles, it occurred to me, you know, actually, I would really like a bicycle as a service. You know, when you have kids, right? Wouldn’t be cool to say just just pay an annual fee. And as the kids get older and bigger, I can swap out a bike for like a slightly bigger one. Anyway, it’s neither here nor there.

Robbie Baxter 21:59
Yeah, absolutely. No, that’s exactly that’s exactly the way to think about it. Like, what is the problem with bike ownership? Right? Like my bike, I only use it a few times a year. And it seems like the tires are always flat, because I don’t use it enough to keep it in good working order. Exactly. So yeah. What if What if there was a service where if you knew you were going to ride the bike this weekend, or you were going to need a bike for the kids for them to ride to school for the school season? They would deliver it and then you’d call them when you wanted an upgrade? Porsche has that for cars? That’d be awesome, right? Yeah, but you can have a Carrera on the weekends, and you can have a Cayenne for carting the kids around during the week.

Will Bachman 22:34
Yeah, that’d be great. They can buy oil the car, too. So tell me a little bit more about this customer success. So I guess I’ve heard that term before. But I didn’t really appreciate the difference between that just seemed like a newfangled term. What do you call these newfangled things? How do I do Customer Success organizations set themselves up differently? Give us an example with with a forever transaction company that is really doing a great,

Robbie Baxter 23:04
yeah, so. So the idea of customer success came out of Silicon Valley, SAS companies, where they moved, you know, so here’s what happened. Companies that they used to make software, b2b software, for the enterprise, they would do a seven figure deal, sell, you know, a million dollars worth of software to some company and implement it, and have professional services customize it. And then once it was in, if they had a problem they call customer support, right? If something’s not working, call us, we’ll fix the problem. But it didn’t really matter how good that experience was with customer support, because the company already bought the software, right. So there was less of an incentive to keep them happy in SaaS Software as a Service, where you’re subscribing to the software, and you can cancel with a lot greater ease. If people in the company are not getting the value that they’re paying for, they’ll cancel. So suddenly, these companies had to scramble to figure out not just how to sell the software, but how to ensure that the people inside the company were using it and recognize the value and expanding how it was used and going deeper with how it was used. Because that’s what the SAS business model was based on. So customer success was the team that was established. It’s kind of a hybrid of customer support with some professional services and some account management and a little dollop of sales. And they proactively reach out to a customer, the minute the transaction happens, to help onboard them to make sure that they understand how to use the product, make sure it’s implemented correctly, to train people up to answer questions. And they track the data to see how the products being used. So if you’re, you know, if somebody buys it, this happens all the time, right? somebody buys Some software, and nobody wants to use it, they like doing it the old way. And so they just ignore it. And then at the end of the year, or at the end of the period, the company cancelled. Now, you can see through the engagement data, whether that customer is likely to cancel whether people are actually using it. And if they’re not, you can have an intervention much earlier. So Customer Success teams are compensated on engagement, and expansion of relationship. So are people using the product? And are they expanding the way they’re using it using a more deeply, you know, upgrading, bringing in their colleagues to use it as well. And it’s, it’s, it’s almost, you know, it’s a very different kind of kind of model. And I’ll share one interesting story, one company that I worked with them through the software as a service company, we were trying to figure out who their best customers were. And so I gathered a team, you know, the head of sales, the head of customer success and head of marketing, we were trying to figure out who are the best customers, and we were making a list, we were actually making a list, this customer is great, this customer is great, this customer is great, these customers are mediocre, these customers are pretty bad. And we were trying to look for patterns. And suddenly the customer success. vp said, I see the issue, she said, all the ones in the good customer column, those are the most difficult companies to onboard, every one of them was a pain in the neck. And what we realized was that these difficult customers were difficult, because they were actually planning to use the software, they were completely planning to depend on it. And when you’re planning to depend on something, you really want to make sure you understand how it works. And if something doesn’t work perfectly, you’re going to want to get that fixed right away, because you’re going to count on it. So what we learned was that the success metrics to track early on, were around how difficult is the customer? How many questions? Are they asking, How many times are they calling, because if they weren’t calling and they weren’t, I don’t want to say complaining. But if they weren’t raising issues, they probably weren’t banging on the product enough and really implementing it.

Will Bachman 27:04
That’s counterintuitive. Yeah. Do you have any stories of a forever transaction company in an industry that you would not really expect? That was kind of surprising to you?

Robbie Baxter 27:17
Yeah, there’s a company right here, I’m in I’m in Silicon Valley, there’s a company in Redwood City to town next to me in Menlo Park, called carbon 3d. They make 3d printers. And you can’t buy the printers, you can only subscribe to them. So they’re supplying the manufacturing industry with 3d printers, and the resins to use a variety of presence. And what they say is, you know, if you compare a Tesla to a Mercedes, right, a Mercedes is a well constructed steel machine, with software stuck in here and there where they can make it work. And Tesla is software wrapped in steel. And they said the Jetta Simone at carbon said, we were kind of going more after the Tesla Model. We want it you know, this, this, this printer to be really smart. And so it’s software first, and then wrapped in in, you know, the manufacturing. And we let people subscribe, so they don’t have the burden of ownership. And also, we track all the data and we’re constantly sending new software upgrades to improve their experience. So unlike a car where the minute you roll it off the floor, it begins to depreciate, their printers get better over time, because to justify the subscription, they keep improving them. And then they also do benchmarking. So they can tell you if you’re using the, the printers in an efficient way. So that’s a really, to me, that’s a super interesting model. And I think they’re kind of at the beginning of the wave of, you know, reimagining what manufacturing could look like as a subscription business. Another one is, Caterpillar, the heavy equipment company, they already have a lot of services that you can subscribe to kind of wrapping around the piece of machinery, but they’re moving toward a model where you would just subscribe to the whole thing kind of like Rolls Royce has for their big jet engines power by the hour where you pay for the hour of airtime as opposed to paying to own and have to take care of the machinery. So those are some examples of kind of things that you would never think of as a subscription that that are that are moving that way really rapidly.

Will Bachman 29:47
Can you share any stories of companies that have tried to move to a forever transaction model and and I’ve done so well, either sanitized or not sanitized? stories? Yeah. Where were they kind of stumbled?

Robbie Baxter 30:02
Yeah, well, most of them have stumbled. But here’s here’s an example that I think a lot of people are kind of familiar with. Dollar Shave Club was a, you know, digital native subscription based company to provide people with, you know, shaving stuff, right, your cheap razors, and eventually other grooming products. Many people think that the reason that they were so successful was because of their really clever ads, which were very clever and very cute. But I think a big part of their success with their back office, their operations. And here’s an interesting thing. So Dollar Shave Club got acquired by Unilever, for billion dollars, Gillette, you know, biggest shaving companies in the in the US came up with their own model of subscription based razors, you’d think that they’d be way better at it than then some little startup. But they really struggled on the on the back end, they, they weren’t set up for small packages, they were set up for, you know, shipping pallets, they weren’t set up for returns on a small scale, or exchanges, you know, hey, that wasn’t the right razor, or they weren’t, they weren’t set up to pause a membership or change it like, Hey, I actually need three razors, not five, they weren’t prepared to handle customer support at that kind of level at a mass market level, the way they packaged the boxes, it was really hard to open and it wasn’t delightful at all. So it didn’t understand that whole kind of unboxing mentality. And then their pricing, they tried to make the pricing very fair. And so what ended up happening is, you know, they ended up with this very complex algorithm like, Well, you know, it’s a combination of how many razors and how much shaving, how frequently it’s delivered, and where you live. And if you want to deliver it on a Sunday, blah, blah, blah, so complicated that people couldn’t understand what it was going to cost them, which makes people trust them less. So they struggled in a lot of places, because they underestimated the change in culture and skill set that was going to be required to really compete with with a company like Dollar Shave Club that was optimized from the beginning for subscription. Another example, kind of a similar type of example. net, when I worked with Netflix, many, many years ago, Walmart was entering I don’t know why I’m picking on Walmart, they’re very good company. But Walmart got into the subscription movie business, actually, with an envelope that looked almost exactly like the the Netflix little red envelope, it was, I think was a turquoise with black or something like that. But anyway, um, everybody at Netflix was petrified, right Walmart, you know, deep pockets, unlimited resources, huge physical footprint, they could combine, you know, you could get your your DVDs mailed to you, but then you could drop them off at the store, or vice versa. You know, we all could see how they could completely crush Netflix. But they lacked the focus and the direct to consumer expertise to thrive and they ended up feeding the business to to Netflix, and you don’t we’re getting out of this business. And we’re recommending that anybody that had a subscription, consider going to Netflix.

Will Bachman 33:23
Wow, what a story. What, you know, any other lessons learned that you have that that are kind of the top things that you share with executives that are, you know, asking for your advice about making this transformation?

Robbie Baxter 33:36
I think the most important thing to remember is that the subscription is not a strategy. It’s a pricing tactic. And, you know, a lot of times, even the most sophisticated of executives will say to someone on their team, someone in the Strategy Group or the innovation teams say, Hey, we need to do subscription, go do subscription. And that’s sort of like saying, Go do email, like email for communicating one on one with colleagues or email marketing or an email newsletter that’s worth 1000s of dollars, because the content is so valuable. It’s just a tactic. And so when when you’re thinking about if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking about offering a subscription, ask yourself, what is the ongoing problem I’m going to solve for my customers? What’s that forever promise I’m making to them? And what do I need this subscription to do for my business? Is this about recurring revenue? Is this about building an ongoing smooth relationship to kind of smooth out the lumps in what will continue to be a lumpy business? So for example, if you’re a big consulting firm, you know, most big consulting firms still make their money on one off projects, right? We have a an engagement, we need to figure out should we enter this market it’s $3 million. But in between those big projects, maybe you create a membership that is maybe breakeven, maybe lose a little money, maybe it’s a little bit profitable. But what that does is it keeps those customers close to you so that when they’re making a big decision, they think of you first. So it’s really important to say, what is the goal of my subscription? What am I trying to accomplish? And what’s in it for my customer. And then you don’t even maybe even have to move to subscription right away just by focusing on what you know, what’s the long term relationship? It’ll give you all kinds of insights for how to think about your products and services and the way you communicate.

Will Bachman 35:39
Fantastic. Well, Robbie, thanks for coming and sharing some some tips from your latest book. Where would you like to direct people? If they want to find out more about it and go online somewhere? You share? Yeah, they can. Yeah,

Robbie Baxter 35:53
they can come to my website, Robbie. killman baxter.com It’s my name. And if you go to my name slash audience, Robbie Kellman Baxter comm slash audience, I have some some goodies for people. I have chapter eight of my new book, which is all about culture, which is a big topic that will and I talked about, and also my membership Manifesto, and some some slides that can serve as processed visuals to help you understand some of the concepts we talked about.

Will Bachman 36:26
And we will include that link in the show notes. And for listeners, if you stayed with it this far. If you’ve been thinking about giving the show a five star review on iTunes, that would be super helpful. It helps others discover the show. If you would give it a four stars or less, just don’t bother, Robin. Thanks. Thanks for joining. Thanks for having me. It’s been really fun talking to you again.

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