The Subscription Generation

By Brendon Doig

Have you ever felt you didn’t get what you paid for with your digital agency? Budgets blown out? Deadlines missed? Tech becoming obsolete too quickly?

Unfortunately, these things are commonplace. Recently, we wrote an article about the need for change in the advertising industry. A new model, based on affordability, transparency and mutual growth. With our brave subscriptions proudly launching this week, we thought we’d provide a little background on why we think subscriptions are the smart way forward.

Times have changed and so have customers.

Today people are far less interested in owning products and more concerned with access. Gone are the days of CD’s and DVD’s. This is the Spotify and Netflix generation. We call Uber’s, through phones we pay for monthly, to get to homes we rent. There are a number of factors contributing to this. Downsizing, the gig economy and the software and devices we use play a big role in the trend towards minimising excess and paying for access over ownership. This shift has been undertaken by some of the world’s leading businesses such as General Electric and IBM who maintained competitiveness and relevance by shifting from being product providers to offering digital subscription/data services. Put simply, these changes make customer’s lives easier. They respond to major shifts in what people value and offer us the choice to not have to commit to ownership, which for many products and services is increasingly perceived as a burden. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the trends driving this shift and how businesses and customers stand to benefit from a new age of partnerships.

Transport is one industry that’s been revolutionised through on-demand, subscription services. Companies like Uber and Ola have provided transport for millions of people, provided a viable alternative to public transport and a stale taxi industry and removed the necessity of vehicle ownership for many who could do without one. Even international luxury services like aviation have even seen rapid shifts in this direction. Surf Air, a California-based private air travel provider offers a monthly subscription to private jet flights. These benefits are expansive for a business who can anticipate monthly revenue, and customers who don’t have to worry about the management of a costly, depreciating asset.

Digital product offerings have similarly seen a huge transition to subscription based services.

Businesses like Adobe and their Creative Cloud Suite, Microsoft Office and countless other digital tools are available as paid-monthly services. These offer flexibility, remove the need for the ownership and storage of physical items and ultimately, give the customer greater choice.

In this sense, the innovation and digitisation of products with increased accessibility is a response to changing customer needs. It also gives long-overdue consideration to the idea of customers as individuals, with specific needs, wants and desires. It removes the notion of one-size-fits-all and lets the customer choose based on the level of service they require. Consider an iPhone. How many of us use the text function, the internet and Google Maps, take a few photos and answer emails. Of the expansive functionality and all the bells and whistles, the majority of the population probably utilise about 30% of the services and features available on their phone. Yet we pay for it. The digital subscription idea supports the notion that you should only pay for the services required. You can opt-out of unneeded extras, with all the assurance of the brand you’re purchasing from, but with your specific use in mind. This level of tailoring is what is so appealing. In the digital advertising and marketing industry, we’ve seen a need for the same revolution to occur. The rapid digitisation and advent of social media caused a major shift in how businesses operate, interact with their customers and sell products and services. Our chat with StopPress touched on the tired agency-client model and the ‘time for change’ modus-operandi that stunts collaboration, hinders the growth of effective partnerships and prices start-ups, small businesses and challengers out of the reach of the services and digital platforms they need to stay ahead. Our new subscription model aims to solve that problem, by giving customers access to the web and digital marketing services they need, with the security of a supportive partnership. But what does that mean?

Subscription models unlike any other, are focused on relationship building and a better customer experience.

It’s a reciprocal promise - an entered into partnership. Where a one-off transaction could see a disreputable vendor take the money and run, a partnership is about continual growth. It’s a promise to the customer to maintain a stable relationship, offer constant improvements and in a service industry, the reassurance of continual support. In an industry like ours, this makes all the difference. Throughout 10 years in business, we’ve learned that through experience. That the best work, and our clients growth, comes from our investment in the shared partnership and a deep understanding of their business needs - cash flow being one of these. Affordability, the security and peace of mind that comes with guidance and support and a commitment to continual learning and refinement is something that provides benefit to both parties and is far superior to the piecemeal, campaign based approach that has driven a wedge between small businesses and agencies.

Ultimately, this model is necessary. It turns transactional box checking into a living, developing, engaging partnership. It opens up access and the untapped potential that comes with it. If you’re interested in seeing how a brave partnership could unlock yours, check out your options here. We’d love to work with you.

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