Only the pleaser survives

07 Apr Only the pleaser survives

Nowadays, it may sound crazy but you can subscribe to almost anything. From the sacred cow (private lease) to whatever the cat lady wants, the subscription economy has become standard practice. Almost all products are available through this business model. In fact, products have evolved to services. As a subscriber by paying a fixed amount per period, you can take advantage of the functionality, availability and convenience of the available services. This is due to the fact that for today’s consumer, usage is more important than possession.

The supply side of the economy also doesn’t have a problem with this model because it means a stable and more predictable stream of income as compared to transaction economy. But it also involves a huge change in the way customers are dealt with. If you want to guarantee a steady stream of income, you will first have to make your subscribers use your products. In addition, they should be satisfied and appreciate the added value that the service offers. A simple web shop and shipping system is not sufficient to succeed.

Another game

One of the biggest differences between a subscription model and a transaction model is the role that marketing plays. In a transaction model the role is simple: marketing creates attention through campaigns, or conversion sales. In the subscription model, it’s different: after the conversion has taken place you will need to ensure that you continue to make use of customer service. It is no longer about a single transaction moment, but a durable, long lasting and above all, personal relationship with the subscriber. If your subscriber is no longer using your service, it is only a matter of time before you realize that your service is not really valuable. To ensure that the customers using your service continue to do so they need to become a fan of your brand. This can be approached by providing-

  1. Constant innovation: Netflix renewed its selection for a reason, and you can bet that the selection updates are based on the data they collect from customer preferences.
  1. Inspiration: It’s not for nothing that the Hello Fresh food boxes come with a subscription, an app, and collaboration with Jamie Oliver.



As these examples show the boundaries between marketing and sales are much blurrier in a subscription model than transaction model where all the marketing activities actually hinge on one static moment — typing in the PIN. The role of marketing in a subscription model is that it must provide a valuable, long-term relationship with the customer.

Therefore, things like content marketing and PR are obviously of more importance. Only by providing the right support for the customer relationship, both of these groups will be able to support the target audience. Moreover, this translates into a much more direct way of increased ROI. So, if you want to be a part of the subscription economy, you need to be aware that only the pleaser will draw the longest straw in the end.

Blog by Felix Roeland sales executive at Lubbers De Jong, an agency delivering public relations and content marketing services in the fields of technology and innovation.