The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow Part II

June 8 2019

We’ve learned why the subscription model is better, but what are the different subscription models (well, nine of them)?

The Automatic Customer

The Membership Website Model

What: Publish your content behind a paywall that requires members to buy access.

For Whom: Those with highly specialized information that keeps changing over time. Niche market.

How: Multiple formats.

Best Customer: Business-to-business companies.

Extra: Hard to only live of subscriber monetization. Additional services, e.g. conferences, coaching, courses, ma be necessary.

The All-You-Can-Eat Library Model

What: Unlimited access to large amount of knowledge that the consumer can rent. Not designed for the possibility to consume all its value.

For Whom: Those with access to, or the ability to acquire, a library of content (e.g. Netflix). Existing fans.

How: Offer an ultimatum - subscribe to the whole library or get nothing.

Best Customer: Everyone.

Extra: Requires a lot of money upfront!

The Private Club Model

What: Ongoing access to something rare.

For Whom: Those with access to something in limited supply, like a service or an experience, that affluent consumers want.

How: Do not offer access to anyone but only to those willing to pay for a long-term secret.

Best Customer: The rich.

Extra: Offering something rare, also risks that the rare thing runs out. There are also only so many rich people.

The Front-of-the-Line Model

What: Priority access to a group of customers.

For Whom: Those requiring an additional income stream to an existing subscription model.

How: Important that you have an existing baseline service. Works best in small and mid-sized businesses.

Best Customer: Existing subscribers.

Extra: For some people, waiting in line is catastrophic!

The Consumables Model

What: Replenish necessary items for a customer.

For Whom: Those with access to annoying to replenish items.

How: People must love your brand so as to compete with massive e-tailers.

Best Customer: Stressed out people.

Extra: Logistical challenge. Requires stead supply or control of manufacturing.

The Surprise Box Model

What: A curated package of items, sent every month.

For Whom: Those able to talk manufacturers into giving them discounts for adding their products. An ability to curate.

How: Major curating skills and the ability to source new and unique items.

Best Customer: The curious with disposable income.

Extra: Complex fulfillment and logistics. Competition!

The Simplifier Model

What: A service that makes a necessary activity easier. (e.g. pet grooming, tutoring, bookkeeping)

For Whom: Those responsible enough to do what the customer wants to forget.

How: Interview your target customer to find out what their to-do lists have that they dislike thinking about.

Best Customer: People with busy lives and a large income. The richer, the higher the need to simplify.

Extra: Consider cross-selling and upselling once your customer already associates “annoying tasks fixed” with you.

The Network Model

What: A platform for people-interaction. The more subscribe, the more better the value. (e.g. WhatsApp)

For Whom: Those able to offer an unusually great experience, compelling people to join and have either a lot of capital or are good at raising it.

How: Focus on limited resources on a small, tightly defined group of early-adopting customers.

Best Customer: Tech-savvy, sociable customers.

Extra: The high cost of initial implementation shields one from competitors, but the expectations of the tech-savvy are high and can flip quickly.

The Piece-of-Mind Model

What: Insurance against something a customer hope she’ll never need.

For Whom: The savvy enough to allow the absorption of cost of a claim by leveraging their existing assets rather than paying out cash (e.g. through existing equipment and labour).

How: Make sure you have the infrastructure and resources to honour the commitment made to a customer should they require your services.

Best Customer: The worried.

Extra: Challenging to gauge how frequently the customer needs the service.

to be continued…