Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches

Subscription models are crazy powerful. Savvy small companies can easily deploy them to knock huge ... more

Latest Episodes


September 30, 2020 00:41:50

Impossible Foods’ Jessie Teitz Becker on Creating a New Eating Habit to Save the Planet

Jessie Teitz Becker, the SVP Marketing at Impossible Foods, brings her impressive marketing knowledge and expertise in forming long term recurring revenue relationships to Subscription Stories. She joins Robbie to discuss how Impossible is applying principles learned at subscription companies like Netflix, YouTube and Optimizely, best practices in introducing & building habits with a new product category, and why they launched an “every day” product at special occasion restaurant Momofuku.   Highlights from this episode: 2:17 - The birth of Impossible Foods 4:24 - How Impossible earned its credibility through the famous restaurant empire, Momofuku 6:21 - Why the product, and not the marketing, is the key to creating repeating consumer habits 9:25 - How to build customer loyalty through an “easy out” 12:00 – Impossible Foods’ key to restaurant success: ensuring every employee gets a taste of their meat 15:33 - The milestones and metrics Impossible looks for 18:38 - How COVID rocked the food industry - and what Impossible did to battle it 21:03 - Why Impossible Foods made the jump to direct-to-consumer shipping 23:50 - What Impossible Foods learned from launching their own ecommerce direct to consumer 26:36- The magic of free shipping 29:10 - The ideal Impossible customer 32:45 – Impossible Foods’ loyalty program Taste Place, and how Impossible is building their Forever Transaction 39:26 - Robbie’s Speed Round   Jessie's Bio: Jessie Teitz Becker is a marketing executive based in Silicon Valley. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Impossible Foods where she leads the B2B and B2C marketing, insights, and brand marketing teams. Jessie began her career at Netflix in 2000 as one of the first people hired in the marketing department, and eventually rose to interim Chief Marketing officer. She then joined Optimizely, a B2B software ...



September 23, 2020 00:36:09

Bain’s Stuart Berman on the Power of The NPS Loyalty Forum in Deepening Client Relationships Between Engagements

Bain and Company’s Stu Berman joins Robbie to talk about what makes the Net Promoter System (NPS) Loyalty Forum itself so powerful for the members and for Bain. They also explore how the best organizations build customer-centricity into the fabric of their businesses, a core value of NPS. They discuss the value of creating a private community for senior executives across different companies to meet and discuss, how a subscription can be used to deepen relationships with key customers, and the importance of always listening to your customers first. Highlights from this episode: 4:10 - How the NPF Loyalty Forum remains an open environment for members to speak about their companies without holding back 10:08 - The origin story of the forum - how Fred Riechheld’s book lead to one of the most powerful discussion rooms 12:50 - How the forum has created a community that members never want to leave 15:00 - Subscription as a marketing tool or strategic element 16:17 - The benefits offered by the forum to keep its high-profile members engaged and open 19:20 - Stu gives a look inside the Loyalty Forum and the types of conversations that its members love so much 24:10 - Changes in the world of NPS and securing loyal subscribers over the past decade 28:03 - Stu’s advice for smaller firms and subject matter experts on creating a community around their practice or expertise 31:10 - Robbie’s Speed Round   Stu's Bio: Stuart Berman currently runs the NPS Loyalty Forum at Bain & Company where he works to build forever relationships with customers, employees, and partners. He spent the early years of his career as a management consultant at Bain before becoming General Manager of Intuit’s online store. He then worked ...



September 16, 2020 00:29:47

charity: water’s MZ Goodman on Bringing Subscriptions to the Nonprofit World

Charity: water’s MZ Goodman joins Robbie 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, Glossier and goop 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. Highlights from this episode: 2:00 - The birth of The Spring, charity: water’s subscription program 5:44 - Why a mission is the most important factor for attracting subscribers 7:15 - The importance of building a brand based on quality over charisma 11:00 - How to lure customers in with emotion, and make them stay through strong relationships 15:00 - Why charity: water is allowing subscribers to press “pause” during the COVID-19 pandemic to combat high churn rates 17:26 - Ways for nonprofits to allow members to remain active without opening their checkbooks 19:00 - MZ’s advice for product leaders who want to transition to the nonprofit world 20:24 - the differences between building a community at a news company, a make-up company, and a nonprofit 24:20 - Robbie’s Speed Round MZ's Bio: MZ Goodman is a product and marketing executive with expertise in digital products and subscriptions. MZ began as the Product Management Executive Director for The New York Times in 2007, managing the digital product team as the company first created its online subscription product. From there, MZ joined Ralph Lauren as Product Management Senior Director and was then recruited to join the leadership team at goop. After goop, MZ joined Glossier as Vice President of Digital and Business Insights. She now serves as Senior Vice President of Subscription ...



September 09, 2020 00:33:23

Emory University’s Dan McCarthy on a New Approach to Valuing Companies

Dan McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, joins Robbie to share his expertise on the intersection of marketing and finance. They discuss why customer lifetime value is such an important and misunderstood metric, how to rethink the way companies are valued by the public markets, and what all of this means for subscription businesses. Highlights from this episode: 2:50 - Dan introduces Customer Based Corporate Valuation (CBCV) 4:08 - The importance of knowing your customer data 8:46 - Dan’s time working with CBCV at Blue Apron 12:17 - The importance of focusing on the right metrics 15:18 - The challenges of a physical subscription 17:28 - The cycle of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) 24:11 - How COVID-19 has impacted customer behavior 27:44 - Dan’s advice for entrepreneurs 28:36 - Dan’s Advice for academics at the intersection of research and commercial 30:00 - Robbie’s Speed Round Dan's Bio: DANIEL MCCARTHY is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University's Goizueta School of Business. Among other things, he’s an expert on valuing companies by focusing on the lifetime value of their customers—a novel approach at the intersection of marketing and finance. His approach, which has won him many accolades, is known as “customer-based corporate valuation” (CBCV). His research has been accepted and published in top-tier academic journals, as well as nearly every major financial publication, from HBR to the Financial Times to CFO Magazine. In 2015, he co-founded a predictive analytics company, Zodiac, which was acquired by Nike in March 2018. Dan subsequently co-founded Theta Equity Partners to commercialize his work on customer-based corporate valuation. He earned a BSc, a BS, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Links: Dan’s LinkedIn: Dan’s Website: Dan at Emory ...



September 02, 2020 00:34:21

INMA’s Greg Piechota on the News Industry’s Big Bet on Reader Revenue

Greg Piechota, Researcher-In-Residence at the International News Media Association, joins Robbie to discuss the increasing importance of subscriptions and reader revenue in a world of declining ad sales. They talk about the value of studying one industry to gain insight for another, new models for advertisers, and the importance of customer-centricity in any subscription business. Highlights from this episode: 2:20 -- How Greg’s career took him from Poland to Massachusetts to Oxford 3:40 -- The importance of looking across industries to develop insights 6:13 -- How data causes companies from different industries to start competing with each other 9:41 -- Greg’s advice for companies dealing with competitors who come from different spaces but target the same customer 10:37 -- Advertisers that take on new business models in retail, media, and e-commerce 17:38 -- The importance of customer centricity, especially in a subscription business 24:20 -- Greg’s advice for companies that want to move to a subscription model but are worried about the cannibalization risk and leaving money on the table during while they are in between models 28:05 -- Subscriptions as a way to stabilize a business model 30:20 -- Greg’s advice for entrepreneurs and executives, in any industry, who are trying to build robust subscription businesses 31:00 -- Robbie’s Speed Round Greg's Bio: Grzegorz "Greg" Piechota studies technology-enabled disruption patterns across industries, with a focus on business model innovation in news media. Greg is a former media executive with 20+ years of industry experience. He began his career at Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza in 1996 as a reporter in one of the smallest local offices, and then rising to a news editor and a vice-president of Agora Foundation. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University from 2015-2016 and continued as ...



August 26, 2020 00:40:11

HP Instant Ink’s Anthony Napolitano: Reinventing the Razor & Razorblades Model by Focusing on Subscriber Outcomes

Anthony Napolitano, VP and General Manager of HP’s Instant Ink Subscription Service, joins Robbie to discuss his role as an intrapreneur, and what it’s like to be the subscription guy in a transactional business. They cover running a physical subscription business, ensuring customers get full value from their subscriptions, and managing a business in times of change. Highlights from this episode: 1:40 -- Anthony’s journey at HP 4:13 -- The birth of Instant Ink 6:42 -- Additional challenges of being a physical product subscription 10:57 -- The metrics used to diagnose problems or anticipate opportunities within the business 13:05 -- Addressing and solving Instant Ink’s key consumer issues 18:43 -- How Instant Ink caters to its superusers 21:54 -- The importance of a company continuing to evolve with the needs of the customers 23:21 -- Onboarding to ensure a customer gets the value they are paying for 28:26 -- Anthony’s contribution to HP as a whole 30:26 -- Advice for fellow intrapreneurs who are leading subscription in businesses that don’t typically do subscriptions 34:37 -- Anthony’s lessons learned and business approach during the COVID-19 pandemic 38:20 -- Robbie’s Speed Round Links: Anthony’s LinkedIn: Hewlett-Packard’s Instant Ink: Podcast Website: Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: Anthony's Bio: Anthony Napolitano specializes in profitably scaling subscription businesses. Anthony joined Hewlett-Packard in 1997 as a financial analyst in the Notebook Computer Division. Over the next 23 years he progressed through various levels of management in the areas of Finance, Global Supply Chain, Procurement, Quality and General Management. For the past five years, he has served as the Vice President, General Manager of HP’s Instant Ink Subscription Service. Anthony earned a BA from Loyola Marymount University and an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall ...