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做好订阅业务的秘诀是?

做好订阅业务的秘诀是?

Roert Hackett 2020年11月21日
一个致胜关键策略是:不要一成不变。

1999年,田祖雄(Tien Tzuo)以11号员工的身份加入当时还是初创企业的Salesforce,见证了“软件即服务(SaaS)的诞生”。Salesforce的创始人马克·贝尼奥夫提出要根据客户的需求提供软件,而这一伟大创举也给贝尼奥夫带来了无限财富。

与贝尼奥夫曾经供职的甲骨文公司(Oracle)不同的是,除了销售一次性的软件产品外,Salesforce还会与客户建立更亲密的关系。订阅管理公司Zuora的现任首席执行官及联合创始人田祖雄表示:“实际上我们可以看到客户如何使用我们的产品,这是我们实现的一大成果。除了充分理解这一点外,其实我们还能够向客户提供更多服务。”11月17日,在《财富》“CEO计划”和《财富》全球论坛联合举办的虚拟活动上,田祖雄向企业高管群体发表演讲。

换句话说,Salesforce会吸引订户,收集人们的习惯和需求数据,然后不断更新产品。过去,从平面杂志到保险公司采用的都是僵化的订阅商业模式,而Salesforce则凭借反馈周期快、重视试验性脱颖而出。

到目前为止,基于订阅业务的优点已经众所周知。订阅可以带来经常性收入、在面临危机(譬如当下的新冠疫情)时具有弹性,还能够通过不断改进的产品来激发用户忠诚度。如果运用得当,基于订阅业务会产生飞轮效应,推动增长。

田祖雄表示,“现在包括洗衣机、汽车在内的所有实物产品都可以联网,每一位工程师、设计师,每一款产品都将经历同样的体验”,即基于即时反馈不断重复。

当今最大的科技巨头就能够证明这一点。Salesforce是首屈一指的软件服务供应商。亚马逊凭借Amazon Prime会员制一路高歌。快速发展的软件和服务部门为苹果带来了丰厚利润。剃须刀、服饰、餐点等等,几乎所有商品都可以定制包装盒,提供这些服务的初创企业层出不穷。就连许多媒体公司也不例外。因为在数字广告领域竞争不过谷歌和Facebook,这些公司基本上也开始转向订阅业务。

关键在于保持住回头客。在线学习平台Coursera的首席产品官兼消费者收入主管什拉万·戈利表示:“我们的真正目标在于,如何把这种松散的交互变成一种持续的互动,甚至是把它变成一种终生性的互动。”什拉万·戈利与田祖雄同为《财富》活动发言嘉宾。

IBM的高级副总裁鲍勃·罗德提供了一个产品迭代的实例。他说:“星巴克最初就采取了这样的做法。突然之间你就成了星巴克的积分会员。接下来星巴克会向你发送生日祝福,赠送免费饮品。”

罗德继续说道:“你几乎同步就能够从消费者那里得到直接反馈。因为如果免费饮品不管用,我以后就不这么做了。我要找其他的方法。”

当然,星巴克的忠诚度计划算不上真正的订阅服务,但其中包含的许多原理却与订阅服务不谋而合。这实际上可以认为是一种反向订阅,因为人们光顾就能够获得回报。

另一位演讲者、微软的游戏生态系统副总裁莎拉·邦德为探索订阅业务模式的企业提供了一些建议:从内容管理着手,继而转向个性化。她表示,微软发布基于云的游戏服务Xbox Game Pass时,重点就是按照这样的顺序为用户简化游戏体验。

邦德表示:“很多时候我们为用户解决的问题在于,如何从海量游戏中挑选我想玩的那一款?有人替你策划、帮你解决问题,这其实就是价值交换的关键。”

如果说数字订阅业务的致胜关键策略都有一个共同的特点,那就是:不要一成不变。田祖雄说:“最重要的是有所收获,然后完成实验和学习的这个过程。”(财富中文网)

译者:唐尘

1999年,田祖雄(Tien Tzuo)以11号员工的身份加入当时还是初创企业的Salesforce,见证了“软件即服务(SaaS)的诞生”。Salesforce的创始人马克·贝尼奥夫提出要根据客户的需求提供软件,而这一伟大创举也给贝尼奥夫带来了无限财富。

与贝尼奥夫曾经供职的甲骨文公司(Oracle)不同的是,除了销售一次性的软件产品外,Salesforce还会与客户建立更亲密的关系。订阅管理公司Zuora的现任首席执行官及联合创始人田祖雄表示:“实际上我们可以看到客户如何使用我们的产品,这是我们实现的一大成果。除了充分理解这一点外,其实我们还能够向客户提供更多服务。”11月17日,在《财富》“CEO计划”和《财富》全球论坛联合举办的虚拟活动上,田祖雄向企业高管群体发表演讲。

换句话说,Salesforce会吸引订户,收集人们的习惯和需求数据,然后不断更新产品。过去,从平面杂志到保险公司采用的都是僵化的订阅商业模式,而Salesforce则凭借反馈周期快、重视试验性脱颖而出。

到目前为止,基于订阅业务的优点已经众所周知。订阅可以带来经常性收入、在面临危机(譬如当下的新冠疫情)时具有弹性,还能够通过不断改进的产品来激发用户忠诚度。如果运用得当,基于订阅业务会产生飞轮效应,推动增长。

田祖雄表示,“现在包括洗衣机、汽车在内的所有实物产品都可以联网,每一位工程师、设计师,每一款产品都将经历同样的体验”,即基于即时反馈不断重复。

当今最大的科技巨头就能够证明这一点。Salesforce是首屈一指的软件服务供应商。亚马逊凭借Amazon Prime会员制一路高歌。快速发展的软件和服务部门为苹果带来了丰厚利润。剃须刀、服饰、餐点等等,几乎所有商品都可以定制包装盒,提供这些服务的初创企业层出不穷。就连许多媒体公司也不例外。因为在数字广告领域竞争不过谷歌和Facebook,这些公司基本上也开始转向订阅业务。

关键在于保持住回头客。在线学习平台Coursera的首席产品官兼消费者收入主管什拉万·戈利表示:“我们的真正目标在于,如何把这种松散的交互变成一种持续的互动,甚至是把它变成一种终生性的互动。”什拉万·戈利与田祖雄同为《财富》活动发言嘉宾。

IBM的高级副总裁鲍勃·罗德提供了一个产品迭代的实例。他说:“星巴克最初就采取了这样的做法。突然之间你就成了星巴克的积分会员。接下来星巴克会向你发送生日祝福,赠送免费饮品。”

罗德继续说道:“你几乎同步就能够从消费者那里得到直接反馈。因为如果免费饮品不管用,我以后就不这么做了。我要找其他的方法。”

当然,星巴克的忠诚度计划算不上真正的订阅服务,但其中包含的许多原理却与订阅服务不谋而合。这实际上可以认为是一种反向订阅,因为人们光顾就能够获得回报。

另一位演讲者、微软的游戏生态系统副总裁莎拉·邦德为探索订阅业务模式的企业提供了一些建议:从内容管理着手,继而转向个性化。她表示,微软发布基于云的游戏服务Xbox Game Pass时,重点就是按照这样的顺序为用户简化游戏体验。

邦德表示:“很多时候我们为用户解决的问题在于,如何从海量游戏中挑选我想玩的那一款?有人替你策划、帮你解决问题,这其实就是价值交换的关键。”

如果说数字订阅业务的致胜关键策略都有一个共同的特点,那就是:不要一成不变。田祖雄说:“最重要的是有所收获,然后完成实验和学习的这个过程。”(财富中文网)

译者:唐尘

When Tien Tzuo joined Salesforce in 1999 as the then startup’s 11th employee, he witnessed “the dawn of SaaS,” or software as a service. Offering on-demand software to customers on a subscription basis was founder Marc Benioff’s grand business innovation—and his golden ticket to unfathomable riches.

Instead of just selling a one-off software product, as Oracle, Benioff’s former workplace, did at the time, Salesforce would create a more intimate relationship with customers. “Our big realization was we actually can see how our customers are using our product, and we can understand that, and we can actually deliver more to them,” said Tzuo, now CEO and cofounder of Zuora, a subscriptions management firm. Tzuo spoke told an audience of business executives at a virtual event hosted jointly by the Fortune CEO Initiative and Fortune Global Forum on November 17.

In other words, Salesforce would hook subscribers, collect data on people’s habits and desires, and then continually update the product. The speed of the feedback loop and the emphasis on experimentation are what separated Salesforce’s approach from the calcified subscription business models of yore—from print magazines to insurance companies.

By now, the virtues of subscription-based businesses are well known. They provide recurring revenue, resiliency in the face of crises (like the coronavirus pandemic), and they inspire loyalty with ever-improving products. When done properly, subscription-based businesses create a flywheel effect that can propel growth.

“With every physical product now connected to the Internet—washing machines, cars, everything—every engineer, every designer, every single product is going to go through that same experience” of iterating based on instant feedback, Tzuo said.

Look no further than today’s biggest tech titans for proof. Salesforce is a juggernaut. Amazon is riding high on Amazon Prime memberships. Apple is minting money with its fast-growing software and services unit. There is no shortage of startups shipping personalized boxes of goods—razors, clothes, meals, you name it—to consumers. Even many media companies are pivoting, broadly, back to subscriptions after failing to compete with Google and Facebook in digital advertising.

The trick is to keep people coming back for more. “The real quest for us is, how do you turn this episodic engagement into an ongoing engagement, and something even like turning it into a lifelong engagement,” said Shravan Goli, chief product officer and head of consumer revenue at Coursera, the online learning company, who spoke alongside Tzuo at the Fortune event.

Bob Lord, a senior VP at IBM, provided an example of product iteration in action. “Starbucks started this way back. All of a sudden you’re a rewards member on your card. The next thing you know, they're wishing me happy birthday, they're sending me free drinks,” he said.

“You get direct feedback back from your consumer almost instantaneously. Because, if that free drink didn't work, I'm not going to do it again. I'm going to find something else to do,” Lord continued.

Of course, the Starbucks loyalty program isn’t a true subscription service, but it incorporates many of the same principles. One could actually consider it a reverse subscription, since people receive rewards for their patronage.

Sarah Bond, corporate VP of gaming ecosystem at Microsoft, another speaker, offered some advice for businesses exploring subscription business models: Start with curation, then lean into personalization. When Microsoft released its Xbox Game Pass, a cloud-based gaming service, it focused on simplifying the experience for people in that order, she said.

“A lot of what we were solving for people was there's thousands and thousands and thousands of games out there, which ones do I want to play?” Bond said. “That someone went and curated something for you and figured something out is really key to the value exchange.”

If there’s a shared trait that could be considered the key to a successful digital subscription business, it is this: Never sit still. “The most important thing is to get something out there and then go through this process of experiment and learning,” Tzuo said.

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