Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches

Subscription models are crazy powerful. Savvy small companies can easily deploy them to knock huge Goliaths off kilter. We’ve seen it in entertainment, software, hardware, news, retail, hospitality—the list goes on. In her podcast series, ...more

Latest Episodes


September 07, 2022 00:36:49
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Bestselling Author Nir Eyal on How to Ethically Hook Your Subscribers

To drive recurring revenue, you need products and services that people use. Habitually. Repeatedly. Organizations strive to design addictive subscriptions. But for every beloved membership, there seem to be a dozen offerings that drive subscription fatigue. How do you design for engagement, retention and expansion, while ensuring the you’ve earned the right to do so? Bestselling author Nir Eyal has looked at this problem from both sides.  His first book, Hooked, is a how to guide for building habit-forming products. More recently, he wrote Indistractable, to help individuals control their attention and choose the lives they want. On this episode of Subscription Stories, Nir and I talk about the specific processes and tools that drive habits, what it means for your subscription business, and how to be more deliberate about how we form our own habits.   Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook Instagram ...


June 15, 2022 00:03:46
Season Three Wrap-Up and Season Four  Sneak Peak with Robbie Kellman Baxter

Season Three Wrap-Up and Season Four Sneak Peak with Robbie Kellman Baxter

Hey, it’s Robbie Kellman Baxter, host of the Subscription Stories Podcast. I wanted to just reflect on some of my favorite moments of season 3 and also share a sneak peek at Season 4.  We packed a lot into this season, truly something for everyone.  We opened the season with David Lorsch, the Chief Revenue Officer of Strava, the world’s largest athletic community, talking about how to upgrade freemium subscribers to premium.  If you’re interested in how the membership economy is transforming Health & Wellbeing, you’ll also enjoy my conversations with Ben Foster of Whoop, Joanna Strober of Midi Health, Bryan Welch of Mindful,org and Matthew Mengerink of Thirty Madison. If you’re building subscriptions around great content, check out my conversation with Ariel Zirulnick, who led the 4-year long Membership Puzzle Project which identified best practices in building deep, trusted relationships with readers of newspapers around the globe. You’ll also learn about key metrics and cultural tactics for building a member-first team from Mayur Gupta, the CMO of Gannett, and about building a membership bundle from Outside’s Tommy O’Hare (who happens to be a former Olympian).  And if your startup is looking for a great story to build traction, listen to my conversation with Chief Storyteller at GoodTrust, Daniel Sieberg  Venture investor Ira Ehrenpreis had a lot to share about the power of profit and purpose in creating iconic companies like Tesla, The RealReal and Bellwether coffee.  And Rafat Ali, CEO of the Skift talked about the power of subscriptions in travel and hospitality. For those of you who like to nerd out--Season 3 was like a PhD in subscriptions, with several experts on the cutting edge of markets and trends—Wharton Professor and author ...


May 04, 2022 00:30:25
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Midi Health's Joanna Strober on the Ultimate Forever Transaction—Healthcare

My final guest of Season Three, Joanna Strober, was the very first guest on the Subscription Stories podcast. Back then, we were talking about Kurbo, the children’s service for WW (that’s Weight Watchers new name). Today, she’s back to talk about her latest venture in direct-to-consumer healthcare, Midi Health. While Kurbo focused on helping kids get to and maintain a healthy weight, Midi is for women at midlife, helping them get better as they get older. You may have noticed my interest in how the way we stay healthy is changing—with guests from Whoop, 30 Madison, Strava, just this season alone. I am fascinated by all of the transformation in the space, as healthcare embraces the concept of a forever transaction. After all, what forever promise is more compelling than more happy, healthy minutes. Healthcare is just embarking on a massive rethinking of how to better align their business models with patient outcomes. Midi is a great example of this. In today’s talk, we cover the consumerization of healthcare and how COVID accelerated the move to digital patient-centric health, the importance of “forever transaction” in treating patients, and the challenges of developing a clear business model in a highly complex environment.   Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...



March 30, 2022 00:42:00
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How to Find Your Best Subscribers and Develop Relationships That Last with Google Chief Measurement Strategist Neil Hoyne

Not all customers are created equal. The best subscription businesses know the power of customer lifetime value (CLV). They optimize around understanding who their best subscribers are, and then deepening the relationship with those best subscribers over time. Neil Hoyne is an expert at this. As the Chief Measurement Strategist at Google, as well as a Senior Fellow at The Wharton School, Neil helps people use data to win their customer’s hearts. He’s written a new book Converted: The Data Driven Way to Win Customers’ Hearts on this topic, which I read on the beach while on vacation. It’s a book about data that’s entertaining and engaging enough to read on holiday, if you can believe it. We recently spoke about how to measure the full value of each relationship, engage in an ongoing conversation with your best subscribers, and perhaps most importantly, how to find and win new subscribers just like the ones you find most valuable. Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...



March 09, 2022 00:45:43
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Subscriptions that Combine Hardware and Software with Ben Foster, Chief Product Officer of WHOOP

The first wave of the Membership Economy was mostly digital-- software, content, and services. But increasingly we’re seeing subscriptions around physical products. Challenges abound when manufacturing comes into play, especially with the pricing model. Many companies are selling the physical product and then offering subscriptions as an add-on. Examples include Peloton, where much of the value is in the subscription, but also products like Tile, Ring and Tesla where the subscription is truly optional. One company that’s getting a lot of attention for its innovative model is WHOOP. WHOOP offers a subscription-based service that combines a wearable fitness tracker with software to achieve its mission of “Unlocking human performance”. Today I talk to WHOOP’s Chief Product Officer, Ben Foster. Ben has literally written the book on Product Management along with his co-author Rajesh Nirlikar—Build What Matters, Delivering Key Outcomes with Vision Led Product Management. In this wide-ranging conversation, Ben and I discuss the best metrics for tracking customer value, the unique challenges of a subscription that includes hardware and software and why scrappiness is a key attribute of the best product managers.    Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...



February 23, 2022 00:36:12
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Getting Good at Goodbyes: Optimizing for Retention from Hello with Patrick Campbell, CEO of ProfitWell

Most subscription-based businesses focus too much on acquisition and not enough on retention. But actually retention improvements are usually more effective, both for total revenue AND profitability. Today’s guest Patrick Campbell couldn’t understand why so many organizations weren’t doing the math, and so he started his company Profitwell to help companies better manage churn. Patrick says you have more churn levers than you think. They include how you target prospects, onboard subscribers, support engagement, and of course what you say when they are getting ready to leave. And did you know that one of the best places to look for new subscribers is in your list of former subscribers? In today’s episode, we’ll show you how to optimize your subscription for fewer and softer Goodbyes… from the moment you say Hello. Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share! Here’s How » Join the Subscription Stories Community today: Twitter Facebook ...