Membership Economy: Adopt or Perish?


Is an evil Superuser an oxymoron?

Is it OK to ask subscribers to pay 4 times what they are used to paying?

Listen to Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of the brand new book, The Membership Economy, to get the answers. Robbie will speak to Norcal BMA members and guests on April 22 on this very topic.

If you are like me, you are juggling a few dozen subscriptions just enough to keep your head above the deluge. Seems as though everyone has learned from American Express: "Membership has its privileges." Memberships are everywhere.

Or are they? They may just be subscriptions.

What’s the difference? Robbie has plenty to say on this very topic.

Sign up to attend her talk and find out

In this talk, Robbie will discuss actionable steps from her book:

  • How to turn digital subscriptions into forever sales
  • How to build an online community your customers will love
  • Why the sales transaction is not the end of the marketing relationship
  • RobbieBaxterVisualTips to transform freemium users into superusers
  • Creating a self-generating revenue stream
  • The 7-Steps to the Membership Economy
  • Keeping memberships and profits growing for years to come

Membership Economy is a term Robbie coined herself, to showcase how massive this movement is. For well over a decade, she has been advising scores of clients to navigate this paradigm. She maintains, "[This is] the most disruptive shift in business since the Industrial Revolution."

Robbie refers to Dawn Sweeney, CEO of National Restaurant Association, while stressing the importance of constant innovation. Dawn asks her team every few months, “If you wanted to put us out of business, what would you do?”

Perhaps adopt the membership model.

The membership model may make sense for you even if you are not worried about survival. It is simply another tool to increase your profitability.

Robbie will talk about a few case studies.

What's so great about Netflix and SurveyMonkey?

Why is Mixx a noble failure?

Sign up and find out.

You will learn that the membership model fosters loyalty in the real sense, not like some of the loyalty programs out there. It is for the long haul, having a plan for onboarding new members, nurturing them, and turning some of them into superusers who will be your champions and play a big role in onboarding future members.

The membership model is within reach for anyone who wants it. Surprisingly, not everyone sees the light. “There are a lot of companies that are moving slowly and are sitting ducks. Most loyalty programs are totally missing the boat and could be developing much deeper relationships with members,” laments Robbie.

The mind that wrote the book will be unloading the wisdom in person.

You have a chance to pick her brain. But you should be there!

Make sure you sign up for the event and mark your calendar for April 22, 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

You may just disrupt the status quo in your favor!

As I ponder the membership economy movement, a few questions come to my mind:

  • By some accounts, there is a mad rush to the freemium model among businesses. Is this the right solution for onboarding in every situation? When does it fail?
  • Is the Membership Economy panacea? Is this the answer for guaranteed success? What are the pitfalls and challenges in getting this going?
  • How do you detect and overcome evil superusers?
  • Superusers can’t spread themselves thin. They generally are loyal to just one membership group. Also, not everyone has the aptitude to become a superuser. So the question arises: As the number of businesses using the membership model grows, is there a danger of late entrants to the game not being able to develop superusers for their membership group?

I am sure you have your own questions. I encourage you to enter them as comments below. You will receive a considered response from Robbie at the talk. Plus it might inspire additional questions from fellow BMA members!

What The Membership Economy Means for B2B Marketing
by Robbie Baxter

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)

Microsoft Sunnyvale
1020 Enterprise Way, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Sign Up Now

RobbieWithBooksRobbie Kellman Baxter is the founder of Peninsula Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that helps companies excel in the Membership Economy.

Her clients have included large organizations like Netflix, SurveyMonkey and Yahoo!, as well as smaller venture-backed startups. Over the course of her career, Robbie has worked in or consulted to clients in more than twenty industries.

Robbie has captured her experience on membership economy in her new book The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue. Check out what reviewers say about it:

"There's a big difference between subscribers and members. Members are more engaged, more connected and more profitable. Read The Membership Economy to learn how to take your organisation from transactional to relational." - Katie Vanneck-Smith, Chief Customer Officer and Global Managing Director, Dow Jones

"Robbie's book is packed with innovative ideas for pricing, acquisition and engagement of customer. I highly recommend this book for any CEO who seeks to disrupt their industry by putting their customers at the center of everything they do." - Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner, Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson

"It is perhaps the best, most detailed source I've found on this subject to date, and it has very much changed the way I think about our own growing membership program." - Mark Kupferman, VP, Insights & Interactive Marketing, Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

"For survival, a [client] VAR in Silicon Valley needs to change from a high margin 1:1 selling model to a low margin, high volume recurring revenue model. Section II of this book delivers a detailed process to do just that and is actionable immediately." - Michele Bastelier, Consultant, Amazon Reviewer

6 replies
  1. nancy chou
    nancy chou says:

    Interesting topic. Looking forward to learning from Robbie, particularly regarding how to create a self-generating revenue stream via the 7-step to the membership economy model!

  2. Elizabeth Blessing
    Elizabeth Blessing says:

    It seems like many online marketers are giving out “freemiums” in the form of free reports these days. Are you finding reports are still effective lead generation and/or relationship building tools? What other types of freemiums would you recommend for online companies just beginning to develop a membership economy marketing strategy?

    • Robbie Baxter
      Robbie Baxter says:

      Sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you last night and talk in person! A freemium model is when you give someone something that is free forever. It’s usually a membership, or ongoing access to a body of content or software.

      Freemium works in 3 cases:
      1. As a type of free trial
      2. As a means of creating a network effect that provides value for paying members
      3. As a viral engine for growth (i.e. the freemium member isn’t paying, but they use the service to connect with people who might become paying members, a la SurveyMonkey, Dropbox or Hightail)

      Giving away reports to generate leads is not a freemium model, but it can be an effective way to build leads, demonstrate your organization’s expertise and point of view and capture names. Ultimately, it depends on the content though.

  3. Karla Haley
    Karla Haley says:

    This week’s annual Marketo Summit reminded many of us to focus on engagement marketing (vs. batch-and-blast or single-channel campaigns). But that requires a strategy and understanding of the buyer journey. Whether we are Marketo certified or B2B marketing executives, many of us in Silicon Valley need to understand how to turn a freemium model into a long-term revenue model.

    • Robbie Baxter
      Robbie Baxter says:

      Sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you last night and talk in person!

      I’d take engagement one step further. After the customer transacts with your organization, there is still a need to stay with them on their journey, especially if there’s a subscription model, but even if there isn’t.

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