Finding success with a subscription business after your PMBA

February 16, 2018

Here's how to go about it after finishing your PMBA program

A man delivering a parcel
Subscription businesses have exploded in popularity in recent years.

From meal kits to razor blades, and even in the world of healthcare service, there are many different kinds of subscription packages consumers can sign up for today. Many companies have taken notice of demand for convenient product delivery and access to essential services and have entered the space with great enthusiasm, adding their own unique takes on the model to the marketplace.

For companies that can get this model right, there's a great opportunity to develop a strong base of recurring customers likely to remain loyal to the brand for years to come. Curious about how you might be able to find success in the subscription niche? Here are a few tips that can help your brand thrive.

Make it as easy as possible for consumers to sign up

One of the most important considerations when starting a subscription business is access. Can consumers hop onto their device of choice, navigate to your website, and buy the subscription that they want without any trouble?

Ensuring a great, painless user experience across desktop and mobile internet-connected devices alike is absolutely critical for any subscription business hoping to appeal to the majority of today's consumers, and must be a priority for any would-be entrants to the space.

Achieving this type of intuitive web presence is something that can take a fair amount of research and development, so it will pay to have some familiarity with managing information systems and ecommerce solutions. PMBA programs include components designed to teach executives how to evaluate and manage these kinds of solutions, and are therefore an excellent way forward for businesspeople who want to have a solid understanding of how to build subscription offerings from the ground up.

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Good PMBA programs can help executives adopt the right technology for a frictionless customer experience.

Consider simplifying your model by including everything in the subscription price

Different products, different tiers of service, different contracts to negotiate and maintain – all of these are standards in the world of business. They can be effective, in that they make it clear what a given client can expect, while offering the opportunity to upsell to more expansive packages. But some businesses are turning away from this model, instead including everything they offer in a single tier of service.

The obvious con to this approach is that it takes upselling out of the equation. The potential benefit, though, is that sales can become a great deal easier. Only offering one level of service could be an opportunity to streamline your sales process and simplify billing. No more pitching different aspects of the company – you're pitching the whole thing every time.

Identifying the pros and cons of this type of approach will require some time and thinking. Professionals with an MBA in marketing will arguably be best positioned to make the call as to how well it might work, as they will have the understanding both of the economics of employing this approach to business and of how it might be sold to customers. For individuals considering a foray into subscription or other atypical business models, this type of education may prove to be the best fit.

Employ caution when considering a move into subscription territory

To some analysts, the growth in subscription businesses is not suggestive of a new paradigm, but rather another trend that will ultimately fizzle. Commonly, the subscription model is compared to the "deal" businesses like Groupon that were so popular just a few years ago, but are now fewer and less influential than before.

Before launching subscription offerings, executives should take extra care to evaluate the opportunities that exist within the space. If a subscription model is genuinely a good fit for a particular product line, and there's an expectation that customers could develop loyalty or even affection for the brand, the model could well be worth considering. An attempt to force a product to fit the model, on the other hand, will likely not be best.

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Consider whether a subscription model is right for your business.

Do you want to experiment with new approaches to business?

Prepare for success with a Master's in Business Admin from WU Executive Academy!

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