Have you ever heard of the Blue Car Syndrome? It’s the non-scientific name for what happens when you buy a blue car, then start seeing blue cars everywhere. I’ve been experiencing the effect lately when it comes to subscription businesses.
While working on a book about the implications of subscription models on marketing, I started seeing subscriptions everywhere. My Safeway club card? That’s a subscription paid with data. Amazon Prime? Subscription. Insurance policies? Check. The more I thought about them, the more variations I found on the subscription model.
John Warrillow has done the work of describing, labeling and analyzing those different models in his new book The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry.
The book identifies and labels nine distinct variations on the business model.
- Netflix, for example, uses an “all-you-can-eat library” model.
- Stitch Fix and BarkBox use the “surprise box” model.
- Facebook is built on the network model.
The book discusses the differences in these variations, as well as their fit for different industries and businesses. It does a great job of describing the overall benefits of a subscription model. Warrillow clearly explains the revenue metrics that businesses should track in a recurring revenue environment.
I loved learning about new subscription businesses I hadn’t encountered in my own searches, including Standard Cocoa and Conscious Box.
Key takeaway: If you’re not sure about how a subscription model might fit in your business, or if you’re starting up a new business and debating revenue models, this is your go-to resource.