The problem with subscription marketing

IN SUMMARY: Subscription marketing only works well with a small number of products or online services. One of the biggest complaints consumers have about brand/retailers is that it’s often difficult to discontinue a subscription marketing plan. What continually brings consumers back to your brand is a great brand experience that helps them solve problems.

Burger King announced a new program that seems likely to disrupt the already contentious fast-food breakfast war, which sees brands continually try to one-up or troll each other, all in hopes of grabbing a little piece of a pie that has largely been dominated by McDonald’s. For $5 you can have all the coffee you want for a month. But is this smart?

First of all finding, a Burger King can sometimes be difficult. Unlike McDonald’s, they don’t have a store on every corner. Second, people tend to be fussy about their coffee. They want a good cup of coffee, not just swill and BK isn’t really known for their brew.

Will some people opt to also get some food with their coffee? Probably but to what it extent is unknown.

Subscription marketing is gaining steam ever since Amazon exceeded expectations with Amazon Prime but how many people really take advantage of all the Prime features beyond free shipping and two-day delivery?

The typical consumer has many subscriptions already with their Internet, TV, and premium cable channels. True, subscriptions do offer a level of convenience but as you can read online canceling some subscriptions is like asking a stranger for $100.

In the era of big data, AI and blockchains brands are forgetting that consumers are people. Mass-market segmentation doesn’t work anymore, today it’s about micro-segmentation. You need to know more about your audience than they know about themselves. Where do they go online? What’s the most important factor in converting them from a prospect to a customer?

Gillette has been trying to get their subscription service off the ground to compete with other men’s shaving subscriptions but it’s been slow to gain acceptance. It’s just easier to pick up razor blades at the store when we go shopping than to worry about ensuring your next shipment of blades arrives in time.

Subscription marketing does have advantages but it requires a well thought out strategy that includes a high level of service. Of course, with Burger King, all you have to do is throw away the coffee service card but just try canceling weekly meal deliveries or Direct TV.

It all comes down to the brand-product-customer relationship. Focus on delivering a good product and talking to people rather than selling them and business will come.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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