11 episodes

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, Robbie Kellman Baxter interviews the leaders of this revolution about how they’re using subscription pricing and membership models to redefine the biggest industries and generate predictable recurring revenue along the way.

Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches Robbie Kellman Baxter

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

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, Robbie Kellman Baxter interviews the leaders of this revolution about how they’re using subscription pricing and membership models to redefine the biggest industries and generate predictable recurring revenue along the way.

    Mighty Network’s Gina Bianchini on How to Create a Community Worth Subscribing to

    Mighty Network’s Gina Bianchini on How to Create a Community Worth Subscribing to

    Gina Bianchini brings her community-building and subscription expertise to this episode. She joins Robbie to discuss the role of community in building a broader Forever Transaction, why some communities go off the rails, and how to use community as a starting point for membership, before layering in other elements of value, like content, digital courses and subscription commerce.
    Highlights from this episode:

    1:57 - Why Gina decided to create another online community platform after leaving Ning
    5:40 - The distinction between launching a subscription company, and an ad-based one
    8:20 - The Myth of More - why content is not always the answer
    11:36 - Subscription Overwhelm and how to avoid it
    13:00 - How MightyNetworks defines “community”
    15:47 - Knowing when not to build a community
    16:39 - How COVID turned a community from social running to career networking
    18:12 - The importance of focusing on helping a customer achieve their goal, not consume a product
    22:26 - Two common mistakes when building a community
    23:25 - The right resources and structure for starting that nascent community
    26:26 - MightyNetwork’s extra easy approach to onboarding
    31:21 - Story Time: how a group of Cacao Growers built a MightyNetwork of their own
    33:10 - Gina’s advice for entrepreneurs and executives who are sitting on the sidelines of community
    34:48 - Robbie’s Speed Round

    Gina's Bio:
    Gina Bianchini is the Founder & CEO of Mighty Networks, an online platform that serves “creators with a purpose.” Creators can offer experiences, relationships, and expertise to their members via community, content, online courses, and subscription commerce. All of these features are offered in one place, under the creator's brand. In addition to Mighty Networks, Gina serves as a board director of TEGNA, a $3 billion broadcast and digital media company. Under Gina’s leadership, her prior company, Ning, grew to 100 million people in 300,000 active social networks across subcultures, professional networks, entertainment, politics, and education. Gina received a BA and MBA from Stanford University.
    Links:

    Gina’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginabianchini/
    Gina’s Email: Gina@MightyNetworks.com
    Oiselle Community: https://www.oiselle.com/pages/community
    Mighty Networks: https://www.mightynetworks.com/
    Robbie’s Membership Economy Lab: http://membershipeconomylab.mn.co/
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/
    Robbie's Website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/podcast

    • 38 min
    Vena’s Hunter Madeley on Driving Engagement in a B2B Subscription Business

    Vena’s Hunter Madeley on Driving Engagement in a B2B Subscription Business

    Vena CEO Hunter Madeley joins Robbie to share best practices learned working at multiple B2B SaaS success stories. They discuss when it does and doesn’t make sense to pull out another company’s playbook, how to onboard for engagement and loyalty in a complex B2B environment, and his concept of “methodology before technology”.
     
    Highlights from this episode:
     

    2:12 - Vena’s Forever Promise and business model
    5:00 - The role community plays at Vena
    8:29 - PlanToGrow.com - Vena’s hub for community engagement
    10:09 - Using a “methodology before technology” mindset to improve the customer’s journey
    16:27 - Making sure the software follows through on its Forever Promise to the customer, the buyer, and the user
    19:23 - How Vena’s onboarding process begins before the customer makes the purchase
    21:50 - Vena’s “time to value” metric
    24:00 - Balancing the needs of the salesperson and the customer
    25:13 - When focusing on revenue can be counterproductive to creating a Forever Transaction
    28:19 - How to analyze data in a productive and unbiased way
    31:14 - Robbie’s Speed Round

     
    Hunter's Bio:
    Since 2019, Hunter Madeley, a serial SaaS entrepreneur, has served as the CEO of Vena. There, he continues his track record of leading transformational growth at some of the cloud’s most important companies. Prior to Vena, he was at HubSpot, where as chief sales officer he led annual revenue growth from $80 million to $600 million in just five years. His 20-year career also includes sales and growth leadership roles at ADP and Salesforce.com.
     
    Links:

    Hunter’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/huntermadeley/
    Vena: https://www.venasolutions.com/
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/
    Robbie's website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/podcast

    • 34 min
    EA’s Mike Blank on Keeping a “Player First” Mindset within a Subscription Business

    EA’s Mike Blank on Keeping a “Player First” Mindset within a Subscription Business

    Electronic Arts’ Mike Blank joins Robbie to talk about his journey bringing subscription to the world of gaming. They discuss the challenges of subscriptions in the gaming industry, how to encourage consumers to discover new content within the subscription, and how EA offers multiple consumer models to support their “player first” promise.
    Highlights from this episode:

    2:15 - EA’s journey to subscription and why subscription models are particularly challenging in the gaming industry
    8:00 - How EA used their “player first” mindset to create a subscription that would not cannibalize their business
    11:29 - The importance of giving subscribers a taste of the product that leaves them wanting more
    12:50 - EA Play’s ideal customer
    16:47 - The metrics EA used to measure success, and the key data point for tracking returning customers
    18:58 - Why helping a customer discover more content is so critical in a subscription business
    21:53 - How EA shares subscription data across the company without distracting from other “player first” projects.
    24:45 - How to tackle pricing in the gaming world and how EA chose its pricing model
    30:16 - How to create a subscription that is beneficial from both a business and a “player-first” standpoint
    33:29 - Mike’s advice for someone tasked with bringing subscription to a transactional or episodic business
    35:51 - Mike’s advice for creating something evergreen within a “hits” or season based industry
    37:21 - Robbie’s Speed Round

     
    Mike's Bio:
    Mike Blank is EA’s SVP of Player Network. In this role, he oversees how the company enables players to connect together, discover games and evolve to new distribution models. Mike is responsible for building teams, providing vision, and helping to invent the next generation of EA including the consumer platform and subscription-based products. Before his 18+ years with EA, Mike worked in law. He received a BA from McGill University and a JD from The University of British Columbia.
    Links:

    Mike’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blankmichael/
    EA Play, EA’s subscription service: https://www.ea.com/ea-play/news/welcome-to-ea-play
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/
    Robbie's website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/podcast

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

    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 company, as Chief Marketing Officer and later served as the Director of Marketing at Google and YouTube. Jessie holds a Bachelor’s in History from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor’s in Economics from The Wharton School and an MBA from Stanford University, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar.
     
    Links:

    Jessie’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessiebecker/
    Impossible Foods: https://buy.impossiblefoods.com/
    Podcast Website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/podcast
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/

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

    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 in startup companies for a number of years before going to work as a Group Product Manager at eBay. Stu obtained a BA with a dual major of Economics and Mathematics/Computer Science from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Stanford University. He has over 20 years of business management and development experience.
    Links:

    Stu’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartberman/
    Bain and Company’s NPS Loyalty Forum: https://www.netpromotersystem.com/resources/the-nps-loyalty-forum/
    Robbie’s Website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/

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

    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 at charity: water where she oversees consumer and subscriber revenue. MZ earned a BA in journalism from Boston University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
    Links:

    MZ’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mz-goodman/
    Charity: water’s The Spring: https://www.charitywater.org/donate/the-spring?utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=adwords&utm_content=spring_sitelink&utm_campaign=sitelinks_paid&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8qfi24rl6wIVzMDACh0cdQYdEAAYASABEgJ_KfD_BwE
    Robbie’s Website: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/
    Robbie’s Book THE FOREVER TRANSACTION: https://robbiekellmanbaxter.com/the-forever-transaction/

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

TheCordist ,

A podcast hosted by a leading expert...

Once upon a time, a great and kind queen set out on a journey.

This was no ordinary great and kind queen - she had built her empire on many levels of experience and knowledge.

And this was no ordinary journey, not in the slightest.

This journey was to take her to many different empires and and exotic lands to seek council with sages of very specific and seemingly magical talents.

The queen sought to glean and share epic stories of battles fought within the trenches of a wondrous land called The Membership Economy.

They spoke of fierce beasts known as the Metrics - Churn Rate, Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value, and many more - sharing tales on how they fearlessly face and tame each one.

Each time the queen would return to her empire, she graciously and freely offers her knowledge with her loyal followers through a mystical and hypnotic method known as Casting the Pod.

If you have found your way here, noble traveller, please do take a seat and listen as Queen Robbie Kellman Baxter and her peers share the secrets of the Forever Promise.

You will be well served.

ScottHowland ,

Very informative

Listened to the first two releases and found it a very engaging listen! Subscribed and looking forward to further episodes!

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