Subscribed Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Subscribed helps your company move to a subscription model by identifying the history of this innovative idea, how it makes businesses so successful, and what you need to do to implement it in your own company.

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Take a look at the apps on your phone. You’ve probably got Amazon, Hulu, Spotify, Netflix, and others that represent some of the biggest companies in the world. What is it about their subscription services that makes them so successful? 

Well, for one, we don’t value owning things as much as we used to. We’d rather have what we need whenever we need it, and that’s why subscription services do well.

If you’re intrigued by the power of a good subscription, you’ll love Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future – and What to Do About It, regardless of whether you’re a business or an individual.

Let’s see what we can learn about the business model of the future in just 3 lessons:

  1. If you want to survive in business, it’s crucial that you move to a customer-focused subscription model.
  2. Thinking of innovation in terms of products is a thing of the past, now you need to adapt your services based on customer’s needs.
  3. To change your company to a successful client-focused service, use the PADRE method.

Are you ready to take your entrepreneurial dreams to the next level? Let’s begin!

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Lesson 1: You must pivot to a customer-focused subscription model if you want your business to survive.

Back in 2015, Tien Tzuo argued that business school isn’t worth anyone’s time in an article in Fortune. His stance was that there’s only one idea they teach there and it’s to make an awesome product and sell a ton of it. 

But the world’s changed and so have people. That means the old innovative product method doesn’t work so well anymore. Just look at the rise of the popularity and success of subscriptions.

Customers love this business model because it gives them access and service. They don’t really want to own a car or CD. Both of these items require work to maintain if a person wants to keep having the services of transportation and music they provide.

Subscriptions, like Uber and Spotify on the other hand, give access to the service without the consumer having to own or maintain anything. It’s the music on the CD and the transportation they get from a car that people really want.

Knowing and tailoring your product to your customers in this way isn’t just a good idea, it’s necessary to stay afloat. 

Consider that only 12% of companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1955 are on it today. And even then, you don’t recognize those that made the cut because of how well they’ve changed to meet customers changing needs.

Lesson 2: Forget making innovative new products, adjust your services to meet customer’s needs.

So how does this new way of doing business actually change the way companies function? One of the biggest adjustments many are making is in the innovation process.

The old idea is that to create a unique new product, you have to follow a linear process. It begins with research then goes on to design and manufacturing. 

Everyone from engineers to product managers has a shared responsibility of making the thing and getting it out to the market. The product itself moves in a straight line, beginning with the idea all the way to release. 

Once it’s out, customers decide how well it will do. There’s no more change or improvement at that point.

Subscription plans turn this upside down to focus first on what the customer really wants. Creating a stellar service, then, is a process that requires tinkering to see what works best. You begin with what a customer wants, release that, then change it frequently based on their feedback.

A product should be something that molds to fit the customer’s needs. And with subscription models, you can get a constant flow of customer data to make those adjustments.

Everybody has a Gmail account now. But you might not remember that when it began, Google slapped the “beta” tag on the end of it and kept it there for five years. This was a reminder that they were continually making improvements on it.

Lesson 3: The PADRE method will show you how to transform your company into a successful client-focused service.

So by now you’re convinced you need to move to a subscription model. But how does that happen? 

The author’s company Zuora wanted to make this as easy to implement as it is to grasp, so they created the PADRE system:

  • Pipeline
  • Acquire
  • Deploy
  • Run
  • Expand

In the pipeline step, you make customers aware of your product and create demand through marketing. 

Next comes acquire, in which you optimize the journey the customer takes to begin a subscription. Focus on understanding what they need and experience to make sure they complete the purchase.

Deploy is after this, and involves setting your customer up with your service as fast and painlessly as you can. Don’t make the process of getting them set up take too long or they’ll lose interest.

Then you have run, or the daily operations that keep your service running. Be highly reactive to the dynamic ways your customers use it.

Last comes expand. This is where you focus on retaining subscribers through innovating the processes of growth and functionality. 

Also, focus on PPM if you want this transformation to go well. Here’s what that means:

  • People- make sure that you get the top talent on your team so your customers stay happy.
  • Product- constantly improve your offering to make sure it always meets subscriber’s needs.
  • Money- divide your resources effectively and efficiently.

By following all of these steps, you can make your company’s pivot to a subscription-based model seamlessly successful!

Subscribed Review

I knew subscription models are crazy popular, but I had no idea how successful and useful they can be until I came across Subscribed! It’s exciting to see the future of business changing and to get to be a part of it. This book and moving to a subscription-based business is going to be a game-changer for every company that tries them out.

Who would I recommend the Subscribed summary to?

The 52-year-old CEO that’s wondering what to do to take their company to the next level, the 24-year-old with a Netflix account that’s curious to know how it works, and anyone that wants to be in on the business of the future.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.