The subscription market is changing. Recurring-revenue (RR) ‘box’ businesses such as Graze, Tails and Harrys have disrupted the market and are totally redefining how the subscription model can work. This has led to two things. Firstly massive growth in RR offerings and greater creativity in traditional subs markets.
For instance according to research by Hitwise, the RR industry has grown by 890% over the last four years and in 2017, was up ten per cent on the previous year. Traditional subscription businesses such as publishing are also on the rise. Despite dire results recently reported by News Corp Worldwide, the organisation highlighted the growth of digital paid subscribers at UK mastheads such as the Times and the Sunday Times, and hailed strong subs growth at the Wall Street Journal. Additionally digital subscriptions in Australia have increased by 15 per cent from 363,600 to 415,600 in the last 12 months. The most recent ABCs also show how subscriptions are bolstering an otherwise slovenly market. Times Literary Supplement, the weekly literary culture magazine, experienced 20 per cent year-on-year growth and attributed its success to a series of initiatives designed to increase subscriptions. These included giving away 40,000 copies at Cheltenham Literature Festival with the sole aim of driving and converting subscriptions. It’s no surprise therefore that some publishers are blending these two models and the creating magazine branded beauty boxes, such as Hearst Publishing’s Red, Good Housekeeping, Bazaar and Women’s Health boxes which include a 12 month digital subscription to a magazine of the consumers’ choice.
What is clear is at the heart of a successful subscription business (whether a box business or traditional subscription model, or blend of the two) is customer understanding. By its nature it is a model that provides rich data. Through sophisticated analytics, this data can be used to maintain business growth. For instance identifying the best customers and understanding their customer journey. Working out how to increase their value and where to find similar customers that can be recruited. Why is this crucial? A report by Information Week estimated that over the course of the last two years $1.4 billion dollars in recurring revenue was lost as a result of lapsed customers. Analytics could have flagged these customers as potential ‘drop outs’ and stopped a significant proportion of them from unsubscribing. Alternatively, they could have been reactivated through a well targeted resubscription offer.
In the recurring revenue model every single customer is important to the bottom line. It is therefore crucial that every single customer is nurtured. A subscription management platform enables this and ensures that every single customer opportunity is capitalised on. Without analytics, as highlighted by Information Week’s report, customers can easily fall through the cracks and the growth experienced by the sector, will come to a grinding halt.
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