54 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

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 102 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.

    Scaling a Telehealth Pet Subscription, by Starting in Person. With Zubin Bhettay, CEO of Fuzzy

    Scaling a Telehealth Pet Subscription, by Starting in Person. With Zubin Bhettay, CEO of Fuzzy

    Sometimes the best way to launch a digital subscription is to launch a physical subscription. Even if you plan to scale with a virtual business model, you can learn so much more about your customer, value proposition and messaging by starting the old fashioned way—in person. That’s the approach Zubin Bhettay used in launching Fuzzy. Today, Fuzzy’s Pet Parents get round the clock access to exceptional virtual veterinary care, as well as wellness products for their pets' health needs. But when Zubin and his cofounder launched the company in 2016, they recruited and served their Pet Parents in person. Starting slow allowed Fuzzy to “crack the Product Market Fit code” and scale rapidly, raising over $80 million in the process. Full disclosure—I’ve been involved with Fuzzy since the beginning, and think Fuzzy is one of the most thoughtful Membership Economy organizations I have ever worked with. In this conversation, Zubin and I reflect on Fuzzy’s humble beginnings in San Francisco dog parks and Pet Parent living rooms, explore the path to profitability, and discuss the right metrics at each stage.
    Excerpt:
    "We wanted to be the guide and partner of pet parents through every stage of their pet's life. We wanted to ensure that was available to every pet parent and not just a luxury service only available to the select few." Zubin Bhettay is the CEO and Co-Founder of Fuzzy, a telehealth subscription service offering virtual veterinary care. In this episode, he shares how their in-person company evolved into a digital platform, expanding their reach and saving a lot of pets in the process. Zubin explains the business scaling process they followed to fully embrace the digital scene and how to decide if a subscription model is ideal for you.
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    • 35 min
    Emerging Best Practices in Personalization with Piano.io CEO Trevor Kaufman

    Emerging Best Practices in Personalization with Piano.io CEO Trevor Kaufman

    We can learn a lot from subscription businesses that experiment with different revenue models and personalization.
    Organizations with too many offers risk overcomplicating things with competing goals. I’m talking about companies with multiple revenue streams—different promotions, pricing options and tiers and/or a combination of subscription, one-off transactions, and advertising.
    But increasingly we’re seeing examples of organizations incorporating multiple revenue streams successfully—for example, in news, fitness, streaming media and ecommerce.  
    Today’s guest, Trevor Kaufman, is an expert on subscriptions, personalization and digital experience. He is the CEO of Piano, a digital experience platform that helps organizations launch products and programs faster, strengthen customer relationships and drive personalization at scale.
    Piano recently released their annual Subscription Performance Benchmark Report. It’s full of valuable insights gleaned from their customers, and relevant across many types of subscription models.
    In our conversation, we talk about the emerging best practices in subscription pricing, the role of freemium and whether there’s a place for ads in the world of subscriptions.
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    • 39 min
    Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value in Volatile Times with Paul Larsen of Optimized Payments

    Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value in Volatile Times with Paul Larsen of Optimized Payments

    The single biggest source of churn might surprise you.
    It’s not a communications issue, or a product/market fit issue, or even an onboarding problem.
    The biggest driver of churn in most consumer subscriptions is what’s known as passive or involuntary churn.
    Involuntary churn is when a customer is canceled due to a payment issue or other technical problem.
    According to ProfitWell CEO Patrick Campbell, a recent guest on Subscription Stories, involuntary churn makes up 20-40% of overall churn. 
    Many organizations don’t even track passive churn, and that’s a mistake, because there are ways to manage.
    Today’s guest, Paul Larsen of Optimized Payments, is one of the leading experts on “card not present” payments, and works with many of the largest subscription businesses in the world on churn management. He launched his career at Reader’s Digest, one of the earliest and largest subscription publications in the world. When Paul started, churn management focused on getting people to renew their subscription by mailing in a check. Since then, he has been deep in the world of credit cards, debit cards and alternate payments, helping subscription merchants reduce costs and increase customer retention.
    In our conversation, we talk about why so many good subscribers end up in the dreaded “do not honor” bucket, who should own passive churn in the organization, and how to bring together the right team to manage involuntary churn. 
    Excerpt:
    Subscriptions are great. We love them, but there's promise and peril associated with them at all times. We are joined by Paul Larsen of Optimized Payments, one of the leading experts on "card not present" payments. He shares his vast knowledge about working with the largest subscription businesses on churn management as he discusses the reasons behind the dreaded "do not honor" bucket and how to build the dream team to address this involuntary issue.
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    • 43 min
    Building an Educational Subscription at Scale with LinkedIn Learning’s Jill Raines

    Building an Educational Subscription at Scale with LinkedIn Learning’s Jill Raines

    You’re probably all familiar with LinkedIn Learning, formerly known as Lynda.com. It’s LinkedIn’s professional development platform. They offer more than 18,000 video courses available via subscription. There’s a huge range of educational topics covered—from how to use Adobe Aftereffects, to how to have difficult conversations, to the fundamentals of customer success .
    Consumers can subscribe to LinkedIn Learning on their own, or access the platform through an enterprise license.
    My guest today, Jill Raines, is Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, where she leads the LinkedIn Learning Business.
    I first got to know her when I was developing my own LinkedIn Learning courses for the platform. I was interested in the business model for the platform. I have learned so much through my discussions with Jill. It’s fascinating to get her perspective on the unique challenges and opportunities facing the world’s largest professional development and educational platform,
    In this conversation, Jill and I discuss the LinkedIn ecosystem, and LinkedIn's Forever Promise more generally, before diving into the role of LinkedIn Learning within that ecosystem. We also talk about the specific challenges of professional development subscriptions, how to balance the needs of consumers with the needs of enterprise customers, and whether to offer both pay per course and subscriptions as pricing options.
     
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    • 35 min
    How Employee Experience and Customer Experience Drive Corporate Growth with Salesforce's Tiffani Bova

    How Employee Experience and Customer Experience Drive Corporate Growth with Salesforce's Tiffani Bova

    We’ve spoken before on the show about the importance of Customer Experience in driving growth, with guests like Wharton’s Peter Fader, Gainsight’s Nick Mehta and Bain & Company’s Stu Berman. But today’s guest says you need to think beyond the customer. If you really want to accelerate growth, you need to focus on the employee experience. 
    Tiffani Bova is the global growth evangelist at Salesforce. She’s also the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book GROWTH IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business. Tiffani has been named to the latest Thinkers50’s list of the world’s top management thinkers and is a welcomed guest on Bloomberg, CNN, Cheddar, MSNBC, and Yahoo Finance, among others. In our conversation, we talk about whether your Growth IQ is something you’re born with or something you build, the ten paths to growth, and how Software-as-a-Service has changed what it takes to thrive in Sales.
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    • 46 min
    Bestselling Author Nir Eyal on How to Ethically Hook Your Subscribers

    Bestselling Author Nir Eyal on How to Ethically Hook Your Subscribers

    To drive recurring revenue, you need products and services that people use. Habitually. Repeatedly. Organizations strive to design addictive subscriptions. But for every beloved membership, there seem to be a dozen offerings that drive subscription fatigue. How do you design for engagement, retention and expansion, while ensuring the you’ve earned the right to do so?
    Bestselling author Nir Eyal has looked at this problem from both sides. 
    His first book, Hooked, is a how to guide for building habit-forming products.
    More recently, he wrote Indistractable, to help individuals control their attention and choose the lives they want.
    On this episode of Subscription Stories, Nir and I talk about the specific processes and tools that drive habits, what it means for your subscription business, and how to be more deliberate about how we form our own habits.
     
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    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
102 Ratings

102 Ratings

OmarMo93 ,

All about subscription models- a must listen

Fantastic podcast on subscription style models- a must listen if you’re wanting to get into any business that brings recurring revenue. The guest she has on are some of the hardest hitters in the industry

Infinity blade 2 ,

Great discussion on midlife health!

I love all of your podcasts, but particularly the most recent on women in midlife health. Such a great discussion.

jandersson4 ,

Great!

Love this podcast! Robbie’s insight paired with her rapport with her guests make for great listening. Super informative!

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