[DEEP SUMMARY] - The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue - Robbie Kellman Baxter

[DEEP SUMMARY] - The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue - Robbie Kellman Baxter

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The book describes the future of business as moving toward a membership model and away from an ownership model. The author, Robbie Baxter, has worked with many Silicon Valley tech companies over the past decade and has seen this shift firsthand.

About ten years ago, Baxter began working with Netflix. At the time, Netflix was focused on renting DVDs by mail through a subscription model. Baxter loved Netflix as a customer because of the convenience and lack of late fees. She also loved working with Netflix as a consultant because its innovative model focused on building an ongoing relationship with subscribers.

Netflix’s model was disruptive. Unlike traditional rental stores that relied on individual transactions, Netflix built a recurring revenue stream through subscriptions. It created an excellent experience for subscribers and fostered loyalty. Netflix didn’t have many comparable business models to emulate, but it was ahead of the curve in moving toward Membership over ownership.

Baxter has advised many other companies on building subscription and community businesses. She sees enormous potential and opportunity in this model. Membership represents an “holy grail” for many because of its many benefits. Baxter believes Membership will be the future of business, replacing the traditional ownership model.

In summary, the key ideas are:

  1. Netflix pioneered an innovative subscription model 10+ years ago that Baxter sees as a precursor to the membership economy.

  2. Unlike traditional transactional models, The membership model builds loyalty and recurring revenue.

  3. Baxter has advised many companies on building membership models and sees it as the future of business.

  4. Membership provides benefits over ownership for both companies and customers.

  5. The membership economy is still emerging but holds enormous promise.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key ideas and arguments presented in the introduction? Let me know if you want me to clarify or expand the summary.

Here is a summary:

  • The Membership Economy will profoundly impact society, like the Industrial Revolution or the spread of the automobile. Organizations that fail to adapt will become obsolete.

  • The Membership Economy puts the customer at the center of the business model rather than the product or transaction. It is focused on building ongoing relationships with customers rather than one-time customers.

  • The Membership Economy appeals to basic human needs for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. It gives members recognition, stability, convenience, and connections to others.

  • The book is organized into four sections:

  1. What You Need to Know About the Membership Economy: Provides an overview of the Membership Economy, why it matters, and different types of membership models.

  2. Membership Economy Strategies and Tactics: Specific strategies and tactics for organizations to adopt the Membership Economy model.

  3. Membership Economy Organizations Come in All Shapes and Sizes: Examples of different types of organizations successfully using the Membership Economy model.

  4. The Membership Economy and Transformation: Key Inflection Points: How organizations can transition to a Membership Economy model.

  • The Membership Economy is a reaction to people becoming more socially isolated. It enables organizations to build social connections and meaningful relationships. People crave Membership and belonging.

  • There are six overarching categories of membership models: communities, subscriptions, loyalty programs, paid memberships, advocacy memberships, and project-based memberships.

  • The book guides executives, entrepreneurs, association leaders, marketers, community organizers, and others on how to build recurring revenue models and stronger customer relationships through the Membership Economy.

Here is a summary:

• Members value connection and community over privacy or ownership. They are willing to pay to belong to an organization that provides a sense of neighborhood or association.

• Membership is an emotional concept, while subscription is a financial arrangement. Successful membership organizations leverage both.

• Three forces are driving the growth of the Membership Economy: ubiquitous online access, declining data storage and processing costs, and the human need to connect and belong.

• The Membership Economy impacts many industries and companies. Examples include online media, photography, education, and more. It is becoming part of standard business practices.

• The Membership Economy and sharing economy are closely related but different. The sharing economy focuses on sharing underutilized assets between individuals. The Membership Economy is about organizations building community and access. Many sharing economy companies depend on the Membership Economy.

• Changes in technology have enabled both the sharing economy and Membership Economy. Specifically, building trust and connections at a distance and providing low-cost access.

• The Membership Economy taps into psychological needs for belonging, importance, and success. It provides ongoing value through subscription models.

• A subscription provides access, choice, low cost, and convenience. But Membership provides additional value through community, relationships, and data-driven personalization. Members have an emotional connection, not just a transactional one.

Here is a summary:

• The sharing economy is built on trust, enabled by technology like mobile devices and big data. Trust systems allow strangers to share underutilized and expensive assets.

• The membership economy provides benefits like access over ownership, community, and prestige. It meets human needs for affiliation and connection. Membership models create recurring revenue and loyal customers.

• The pendulum is swinging from ownership to access. People want less burden of owning and maintaining stuff. They desire meaningful connections and community. The membership economy minimizes ownership stress while offering community.

• There is a debate over how much private information people want to share in exchange for membership benefits. Some want anonymity while others desire recognition and belonging. The metrics for the ownership economy are conversion, transaction size and scale. For the membership economy, the metrics are retention and lifetime customer value.

• The membership economy matters because it creates recurring revenue, builds direct customer relationships and brand strength, and increases customer lifetime value. Even if you’re not a “joiner,” many organizations use membership models. Good marketers understand customer motivations and loyalty drivers, even for products they don’t personally use.

• Members love membership models because they fulfill affiliation, community, and prestige needs. While ownership also provides benefits, membership models emphasize ongoing relationships, access over ownership, and affordable payment plans. Ownership centers around security, privacy and control.

• Traditional membership models have declined in importance, but people today desire meaningful connections. Technology enables new types of memberships.

That covers the key highlights and main takeaways from the selected summary on the membership economy. Please let me know if you want me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary:

The Membership Economy is a business model in which organizations provide subscribers with ongoing access to goods, services, or experiences for a recurring fee. It is enabled by technology and emphasizes ongoing, loyal relationships over individual transactions.

There are six types of Membership Economy organizations:

  1. Digital subscriptions: Online businesses where members pay recurring fees for access to content, features, or services, e.g., Netflix and Dropbox.

  2. Online communities: Group-based networks where members share interests or goals. They may use digital subscriptions. Examples are LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest.

  3. Loyalty programs: Formal programs to track and reward customer loyalty and ongoing commitment. Examples are Starbucks, Caesars Entertainment, frequent flier programs.

  4. Traditional membership companies: For-profit companies built for Membership, e.g. American Express, T-Mobile, Curves gym, Weight Watchers.

  5. Small businesses and consultancies: Sole proprietorships and local retailers incorporating Membership Economy principles, e.g., Million Dollar Consultant Alan Weiss, Kepler’s Books.

  6. Nonprofits, professional societies and trade associations: Organizations that reinvest surplus revenues to achieve goals rather than distribute profits. Examples are Sierra Club, AARP, and APPO.

Membership benefits include predictable recurring revenue, customer loyalty and participation, referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. However, there are downsides like loss of privacy, fear of missing out, and questionable use of member data. The Membership Economy amplifies existing social issues rather than causing them.

Strategies and tactics to adopt the Membership Economy model include:

  1. Focus on the lifetime value of members rather than single transactions. Provide ongoing value and build long-term relationships.

  2. Understand members’ needs, wants and behaviors through the data they provide. Use insights to improve services and identify new opportunities.

  3. Build loyalty through participation and a sense of community among members. Loyal members will promote the organization to others.

  4. Think of Membership as an organizational structure to strengthen relationships and drive growth, participation and referrals. Any organization can benefit from Membership.

  5. Provide members access, convenience and flexibility in exchange for dues, content, information or other contributions. Meet members’ core human drives.

  6. Make it easy for members to share interests and connect, not just the organization. Community benefits everyone.

The Membership Economy is a powerful model for organizational success and sustainability. By building committed relationships, understanding members deeply, and providing ongoing value, organizations can establish a “forever transaction” and predictable revenue stream. The key is considering Membership as a long-term journey rather than a single destination.

Here's a summary:

  • To succeed in the Membership Economy, build the proper organization and culture. Focus on long-term member relationships over short-term gains.

  • Promote a culture of marketing innovation. Constantly improve offerings to meet member needs—track metrics to build better relationships. Good marketing is honest and helps members fully utilize offerings.

  • The entire organization must align with the membership strategy. Frontline staff build rapport and resolve issues. Product teams consider member impact. Community managers connect the brand and members.

  • The culture centers around evolving long-term member relationships. Roles change from acquiring big sales to nurturing many long-term members. Customer support maximizes loyalty rather than minimizing anger. Staff are empowered to please special members.

  • Membership Economy organizations have different structures, titles, and roles. Redundant roles may be cut while new roles are added. Relationships with partners and suppliers can provide further benefits to members.

  • Examples: AARP focuses on its mission over revenue. Gainsight aims for "customer success." HuffPost has community managers. Caesar's staff can please special members without approval. Airlines need more flexibility and actual loyalty programs.

Here is a summary:

  • Membership organizations provide continuous benefits and value to members to keep them engaged. They invest in innovation to enhance members' experience and meet their evolving needs.

  • Members tend to stay loyal longer than customers because they have already paid. However, their loyalty should not be taken for granted. Organizations must continuously improve their offerings to match the value promised to members. Failure to innovate can lead members to cancel their memberships.

  • Marketing membership is more accessible because you only need to acquire a member once. However, organizations should distinguish retention revenue from new revenue. New revenue shows that the current offering is appealing to new members. Cancellations indicate that the offering is no longer valuable.

  • Membership organizations should explore expanding their offerings to provide more benefits to members. However, they should be careful to maintain their focus. New offerings may be needed if growth is slowing or retention is declining. Providing increased value to loyal members is always important.

  • To succeed as a membership organization, a culture of marketing innovation and using relevant technology should be promoted. The language of Membership, community, subscription, and loyalty should be used. Continuously improving the membership experience based on insights into members' needs and wants is critical.

Here is a summary:

• You must empower your frontline staff to provide good customer service and build relationships with members. Invest in training and compensating them well.

• Focus on customer lifetime value, not just transactions. Measure customer satisfaction and provide good support.

• Build an effective acquisition funnel from the bottom up by ensuring you have the right offering and target members. Then track how many prospects move through each stage of the funnel.

• Look beyond just acquiring new members. Engage members and work to retain them by providing value. Measure their behavior and loyalty. An “hourglass” funnel tracks this.

• Refine your message to convey the value proposition without relying on executives. Test different options and find what works.

• Choose marketing and sales channels carefully based on your target members. Provide a consistent experience across channels.

• Optimize the funnel by improving the member experience, automating and optimizing marketing, and training/incentivizing the sales team. Continue testing and improving.

• Consider a “chute” model that narrows the funnel to move serious prospects to members quickly. Focus targeting and tailor the experience.

• Measure critical metrics like customer acquisition cost, lifetime value, churn rate, and customer satisfaction. These provide insight into how to improve.

• Build a culture focused on the customer and empower employees to serve them well. Continually get feedback from members and prospects.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key points about building an effective membership acquisition funnel? Let me know if you wantwant me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here's a summary:

Develop effective marketing campaigns:

  • Determine the right channel and timing to reach target buyers

  • Test different options in tiny iterations to figure out what works

  • Monitor metrics and make changes as needed

Build an effective acquisition funnel:

  • Start at the bottom and work up

  • Figure out where prospects are losing interest

  • Improve conversion ratios over time through testing

  • Focus on one part of the funnel at a time

Onboard new members for success:

  • Remove friction, deliver immediate value, reward desired behaviors

  • Repeat these steps to turn new members into loyal, active members

  • Help members build the habits and knowledge to participate fully

Define and cultivate superusers:

  • Loyal, engaged members who participate frequently

  • Formed the habit of consistent community participation

  • Demonstrate seven essential habits:

  1. Contribute content

  2. Comment on content

  3. Like and share content

  4. Start or join discussions

  5. Answer questions

  6. Welcome new members

  7. Refer new members

  • Provide extra value and recognition for superusers

  • Give superusers a path to leadership roles

Constantly improve:

  • Review metrics and member feedback regularly

  • Make ongoing changes to marketing, onboarding, programs, etc.

  • Meet changing needs to provide maximum value

The key is a disciplined, measured approach to building an effective marketing and membership model. Then continually refine and improve that model based on data and feedback.

Here is a summary:

Organizations want to encourage and incentivize superusers, who are the most engaged members. Superusers consistently participate, create content, help onboard new members, provide feedback, and attract new members. However, due to the time required, superusers can only be highly engaged in a limited number of communities.

To increase superusers, organizations should design the onboarding experience to encourage superuser behavior through gamification and other strategies. Gamification uses game elements like points, status levels, and prizes to motivate behavior before intrinsic motivation develops. Quora and Weight Watchers are examples of using gamification successfully.

Superusers are essential because they engage, attract and recruit new members. While organizations can't reliably predict who will become a superuser, they can identify potential superusers based on similarity to existing superusers and encourage their behavior. Organizations with many superusers, like CrossFit, often develop cultlike followings.

Three rules to drive loyalty and create superusers are:

  1. Make it easy

  2. Make it personal

  3. Get members involved

Following these rules and using gamification in onboarding, as Kurbo, helps create superuser behavior. The key is motivating new members until the Membership becomes intrinsically motivating.

In summary, superusers are crucial for organization success and loyalty. The key is encouraging superuser behavior through ease of use, personal connections and active involvement. Gamification and a well-designed onboarding experience are effective ways to do this.

Here is a summary:

• An organization's onboarding process should be as easy and frictionless as possible to engage new members quickly. Asking for feedback, and referrals and using data to customize the experience helps create superusers.

• Pricing is challenging but critical to get right. It should be based on the value provided to members, not just costs. Pricing also needs to be transparent and flexible enough to change as needed.

• There are seven potential revenue streams for membership organizations:

  1. Subscriptions: Most expected, with tiered pricing and options. Upgrade options provide flexibility.

  2. Usage fees: Charging for actual usage, like the number of logins or content accessed. Useful for high-volume users.

  3. Event fees: Charging for in-person or virtual events, conferences, and meetups. An excellent way to strengthen the community.

  4. Sponsorships: Working with sponsors or corporate partners to provide funding in exchange for access to members. Must be done carefully to avoid perception of "selling out."

  5. E-commerce: Selling products, gear, and merchandise to loyal members. Works best when tightly integrated with the brand and community.

  6. Advertising: Selling advertising to relevant third-parties, but can be risky if done haphazardly. Members may resent what they see as irrelevant ads.

  7. Enterprise offerings: Special high-touch offerings for prominent corporate members. Provide customized service and support. Often most profitable.

• Superusers are essential but also risky. They can drive growth and community engagement but may make excessive demands on the organization. Their influence needs to be balanced to serve the needs of all members.

• Mixx failed because it gave its superusers too much power and influence, resulting in a confusing experience for other members and an inability to adjust quickly to members' needs.

• The critical takeaway is to start simple but flexible, focus on superusers but keep all members in mind, and utilize multiple revenue streams to build a sustainable business model.

Here is a summary:

  • Understanding what motivates people to subscribe and upgrade to higher membership levels is critical. Pricing should be based on the value customers provide and the alternatives available.

  • Subscription costs can be hard to predict as usage changes over time. Data and algorithms help determine average costs to inform pricing. Pricing based on value is best. Pricing needs to account for changing needs and stay fair. Testing different payment frequencies (weekly, monthly, annually) is essential.

  • À la carte services are one-time, out-of-the-ordinary services that should not be bundled into regular membership pricing. Doing so risks members feeling overcharged or gaming the system.

  • Ancillary products are add-on products that enhance the membership experience. Partnership streams are shared revenue from referring or cross-marketing other companies' products and services.

  • Aggregated analytics use membership data over time to provide insights. These data have internal and external value.

  • Advertising and sponsorships can generate revenue if targeted and valuable to members. But advertising models are currently out of favor.

  • “Free” offerings can drive predictable revenue streams.

  • Raising prices risks increased churn and negative feedback. Strategies to minimize impact include: grandfathering existing members at old prices; adding higher-priced tiers with more benefits; being transparent about increases; and changing à la carte service pricing.

  • Lowering prices seems easier but risks signaling lower value or prestige; inability to raise prices again; and unfairness to long-time members. Only lower prices if costs drop dramatically or facing competitive pressure.

Here is a summary:

• You may need to lower your prices at some point. When you do, position it positively and explain the change clearly to your members. Even with many members, they deserve a personal explanation.

• Freemium and free trials are different. Freemium means some options are free while paid options provide more value. Free trials let people try before paying. Both can work for membership models.

• Consider your objectives and customer segments before setting pricing options. Options should meet critical customers’ needs. For example, free can attract casual users while paid tiers offer more to higher-value customers.

• Volume (of content, users, duration), features, and service are common ways to differentiate pricing tiers. Paid tiers can offer more of these while covering their costs.

• Common pricing mistakes include offering discounts too readily, pricing against loss leaders, pricing against “enthusiastic mistakes,” pricing too high or too low at first, and having too many pricing options.

• Membership models offer many revenue sources: subscriptions, add-on services, products, partnerships, data, and ads. Raising prices, while challenging, can be done if positioned well. But be careful with pricing overall.

• Use “free” as a tactic, not a strategy. Free can attract awareness and trials, build community, and start network effects. But free must eventually lead to revenue, often through a freemium model with paid upgrades. Free may be irresistible, but not sustainable alone.

• In summary, carefully consider your pricing for the best results in your membership model. Free options and trials can be helpful to tactics but don’t rely on them exclusively. And when changing prices for members, communicate with them personally and positively.

Here is a summary:

Free or freemium offerings can be an effective marketing tactic and strategy for some organizations to build awareness, drive trials and generate revenue. However, it only makes sense for some organizations and business models. Some critical considerations on when to offer free samples, trials or freemium include:

•Educate the prospects on the product value: Free samples and trials are suitable for demonstrating a product’s benefits and value. For example, Netflix offers free trials so people can experience the service and content.

•Ensure the whole experience: The free offering should provide the complete experience, not a limited version. Otherwise, it can give prospects the wrong impression about the paid Membership.

•Consider cannibalization and conditioning risks: Free can potentially cannibalize paying members and condition people to expect free services. Companies need to find the right balance between free and paid offerings.

•Look for network effects and upselling opportunities: Freemium works well with opportunities for viral growth and upselling to paid subscriptions. The free tier should drive people to upgrade to paid tiers.

•Evaluate pricing elasticity and upgrade options: For freemium to work, there must be pricing elasticity and various upgrade options to paid subscriptions.

•Consider if free removes enough friction: The free offering needs to provide enough value to overcome inertia and engage new users. It requires setting up the service and entering data which can be a source of friction.

•Assess if the primary service is necessary: Free may not make sense if the core service is a necessity rather than a luxury. It could cannibalize the paid service or not offer enough value.

•Ensure free does not violate laws: Free does not make sense if sharing content or service for free violates copyright or other laws. Napster’s free music sharing service was illegal, which ultimately led to its downfall.

In summary, free is a marketing tactic, not a business model. Companies need a plan to generate revenue from any free offerings. Free only makes sense for some organizations and business models. Companies should evaluate if free helps achieve their goals before implementing it.

Here is a summary:

• Napster pioneered free peer-to-peer music sharing in 1999 but was shut down in 2001 due to copyright violations. However, it showed how technology could enable sharing at scale.

• While Napster’s free model gained 25 million users, it was not sustainable as a business. It tried switching to a paid model but users were reluctant to pay for what they were used to getting for free.

• Napster’s legacy influences the rise of peer-to-peer networks and subscription music services. However, it also slowed the music industry’s transition to digital.

• There are lessons to learn from Napster:

› Enlightened self-interest and the right platform can enable sharing and value creation.

› A business model based solely on a large user base but no revenue is not viable.

› Moving free to pay for the same service.

It is very hard›. Be careful giving away assets that do not belong to you.

• Technology is critical for membership organizations today, enabling new ways of interacting and gaining insights. While not the only factor, the right technology platform and tools matter.

• Options include marketing automation, CRM, subscription billing, community platforms, and more. These can help with member acquisition, retention, billing, and engagement.

• Many options are available as affordable SaaS, though some build custom platforms. The choice depends on needs and capabilities.

• Ease of starting a business today means higher customer acquisition costs and a greater need to focus on retention. Technology helps enable this.

• Key technologies for the Membership Economy include:

› Marketing automation: Tracks member lifecycle and long-term relationships.

› CRM: Manages ongoing member relationships and value delivery—many options for different needs.

› Subscription billing: Enables complex, customized pricing models.

› Community platforms: Allow members to engage with each other.

› And more.

Does this summary accurately reflect the main highlights on technology and the lessons from Napster? Let me know if you wantwant me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary:

  • The organization should invest in technologies facilitating communication and engagement with members. This includes billing systems, community platforms, loyalty programs, and customer success software.

  • Billing systems provide flexibility in pricing and help the organization understand costs. They allow for customized, complex pricing and frequent billing.

  • Community platforms help build connections but organizations should retain control. Using third-party platforms like Facebook risks losing control and the ability to customize.

  • Loyalty programs go beyond punch cards and traditional retail/hospitality. They track detailed member behavior and interactions to build relationships. They enable new types of organizations like CPG companies to build direct relationships.

  • Customer success software monitors member behavior to increase value and loyalty. It turns support from a cost center into an opportunity to engage. The CIO and CMO should work together using data to drive member engagement.

  • The CIO at a membership organization plays a strategic role using data to understand members and drive loyalty. They provide recommendations to leadership on engagement and acquisition.

  • Technology facilitates building relationships and engagement with members. Organizations and leaders must become technologically literate to leverage it for their membership objectives.

The key ideas are using technology strategically to build relationships and increase member value and loyalty. The technologies and software available provide highly customized and data-driven member engagement opportunities. Leaders, especially CIOs, must leverage these tools to play a strategic role in membership organizations.

Here's a summary:

• Reduce friction: Make it easy to engage with the organization by reducing hoops members have to jump through. This could include simple signup forms, convenient meeting times/locations, easy payment methods, etc. The easier it is, the more participation and loyalty you'll generate.

• Build loyalty from the beginning: Optimize the initial member experience. Communicate frequently in the first 30 days to highlight benefits and encourage participation. This helps build habits and behaviors that lead to long-term loyalty.

• Increase engagement over time: Find ways to keep members engaged, like inviting them to help other members, asking for their input/advice, encouraging them to create content, sending frequent communications highlighting ways to gain additional value, etc. Members need to feel connected to the organization and each other.

• The "forever transaction": Seek long-term loyalty from members like a marriage. Meet their needs and stay true to your brand promise. Make it easy for them to stay loyal through incentives, frictionless transactions, accessible communication, etc. Do small favors to build goodwill.

• Personalize the experience: Allow members to customize their experience. Recognize members personally. Adapt the experience over time based on what you learn about members and their needs. Personalization leads to loyalty.

• Simplify: Keep signup and pricing simple while allowing additional options based on member needs. The simpler for members, the more complex the organization. Remove confusing or unfair options/pricing.

• Build loyalty through free trials and acquisition: Guide non-participating trial members. Remind them to cancel before billing if they're not using the service. Tailor signup options and messaging based on what you know appeals to different member segments. Simplification starts at acquisition.

Here is a summary:

• Organizations can provide members with explicit personalization by allowing them to customize their Membership like a logo, address, or avatar. Implicit personalization uses member data and behavior to adjust the experience. Hybrid models combine both. The goal is an increasingly personalized experience over time.

• Marketo, a marketing software company, provides personalized service and a credentialing program to build loyalty. It has replaced traditional professional associations for some.

• Passive churn results from payment issues, not a member's choice. It can be reduced by working with credit card companies, giving members grace periods, and minimizing communication about billing. Active churn is when a member chooses to cancel. It can be reduced by attracting the right members, showing them value, and continuing to provide value.

• Analyzing cohorts—by join date, utilization, or source—can help reduce churn. Offering discounts or other incentives at critical times may help.

• Although "sticky" memberships that are hard to leave can help retention, canceling should still be accessible. Well-trained staff should handle cancellations and may be able to address issues, show unrecognized benefits, or offer discounts to retain the member.

• Early termination fees, long-term member discounts, and negotiated deals can also encourage loyalty for price-conscious members.

• If a member wants to stop paying and cancel, the membership organization should make canceling frictionless while expressing appreciation for their Membership. Forcing members to stay when they want to leave is unethical.

Here is a summary of the key learnings from SurveyMonkey:

• SurveyMonkey started as a simple, low-cost subscription model that provided tremendous value to customers. This built loyalty and word-of-mouth growth.

• The company professionalized the business under new leadership but was careful not to alienate its core base of loyal customers. It kept its original $20/month offer and made gradual changes.

• SurveyMonkey moved upmarket by adding higher-priced tiers with additional features and functionality targeted at more sophisticated customers. But it left its original offer in place.

• The company focused on annual contracts over month-to-month, finding annual subscribers were the most loyal and committed customers.

• SurveyMonkey used a “consumerization of the enterprise” model, allowing individuals to subscribe and expense the cost. This built adoption within companies, which later bought enterprise contracts.

• The company has maintained a commitment to customer service and support, which is vital to building loyalty.

• SurveyMonkey continues to evolve its offerings and add features based on customer feedback and requests. It makes gradual changes rather than flashy “reveals.”

• Pricing and packaging changes were made carefully by analyzing customer data and behavior. The goal was to optimize the experience for the most loyal and valuable customers.

• SurveyMonkey’s model shows how SaaS companies that start with a simple subscription model can build loyalty and move upmarket over time if done carefully. But the core value proposition and commitment to customers must remain.

Here's a summary:

SurveyMonkey and Egnyte are two technology companies that have built successful subscription models.


  • Has offered tiered subscription plans at different price points to attract new and existing customers. The vast majority of new, higher-paying subscribers were new customers.

  • Invests heavily in product innovation and development to meet customer needs and fuel growth. Two significant new product offerings are SurveyMonkey Audience and SurveyMonkey Enterprise, which provide access to survey respondents and serve large enterprise customers.

  • Enables connections between members and extends its platform through partnerships and an API strategy. This allows integration with other apps and creates network effects.


  • Provides hybrid cloud storage and file sharing for businesses. They differentiate by allowing customers to keep some files on-premises and others in the public cloud.

  • Chose not to offer a freemium model and instead partner with traditional storage providers. These partnerships allow Egnyte to access new customers and the partners to offer cloud storage without losing customers.

  • Focused on serving businesses from the start. They offer a free trial but not an ongoing free option.

  • Leverages customer success and partnerships to build a mutually beneficial relationship with customers based on trust and shared growth.

  • Has seen success targeting both small businesses and large enterprises. A significant portion of revenue comes through partnerships.

Key learnings:

  • Freemium or free trials can drive growth for subscription models.

  • Tiered plans at different price points help attract both new and existing customers.

  • Product innovation and development fuel continued growth.

  • Enabling connections and partnerships between members creates network effects and new opportunities.

  • Focusing on customer success and mutually beneficial relationships builds trust and loyalty.

  • Subscription models targeting one segment can expand into other segments over time. Partnerships are one way to access new customers.

Here is a summary:

SurveyMonkey and Egnyte started with different target customers. Still, they grew by adding higher-priced tiers, emphasizing service over usage, using partnerships, keeping prices stable, encouraging annual subscriptions, improving billing, innovating continuously, and overdelivering value.

Online communities like Match.com, LinkedIn, and Pinterest unlock new value by enabling connections and sharing among members. They extend our "infrastructure of trust" and ability to build relationships.

Match.com pioneered the membership model for dating sites. It focused on attracting women first; then men followed. Membership provided recurring revenue, ease of implementation, and opportunity for service tiers. Match.com innovates to keep people engaged even though the goal is for them to leave. It makes people more social and less lonely.

LinkedIn uses a freemium model to avoid the "chicken-and-egg" problem of attracting members to a new network. The free tools and connections draw people in, then paid tiers with more features spur upgrading and loyalty. LinkedIn started with individuals but now also serves companies and educational institutions. It continues expanding its offerings and value.

Pinterest enables people to collect, organize, and share images of their interests and hobbies. It's tools and visceral experience lead to a highly engaged community and opportunities for commercial relationships. Pinterest must balance enabling sharing with controlling quality and commercialization.

Communities can be built around existing members, not just external audiences. They can unlock stored value, reduce service costs, increase loyalty, and open new revenue streams. But they require continuous work to launch, cultivate, and govern. The opportunity is enormous for those who get it right.

Here is a summary:

Value—a requirement for the freemium offer.

• LinkedIn provided value to members from day one by offering an easy way to create a professional online profile. The network effect over time increased the value. LinkedIn designed the service to provide value to free members to attract a broad range of members. Premium services were offered to some members who needed additional features.

• Pinterest started as an online community for sharing inspirational ideas and self-expression. It has become a source for visual discovery and search. Pinterest could rival Google as a starting point for discovering many topics based on how people tag and organize content. Pinterest is working to become an entry point for people to find what they want to buy.

• Key lessons:

  • Requiring a login allows gathering member data to provide a personalized experience.

  • People want to connect, share, and engage with others online. An online community needs infrastructure and behavior guidelines to enable sharing and protect members.

  • An online community can accelerate value creation through member connections and sharing ideas, content, and products. But there needs to be protection from poor behavior.

  • Providing value to members, especially free members in a freemium model, is critical to attracting a broad range of members. Some members will pay for premium services if there is enough value.

  • A network effect, where more members increase the value, is decisive for an online community. Cultural elements like a focus on members and their experiences are essential.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key points about value as a requirement for a freemium online community offer? Let me know if you want me to clarify or expand the summary.

Here is a summary:

Promote an ongoing two-way conversation between the organization and its members, and provide value through sharing among the members.

Build long-term relationships. Retain members for life by understanding and meeting their needs.

Enable sharing of knowledge and experiences among members. This creates value and strengthens the community.

Understand that people's belonging, friendship, and community needs can be met online. Meet these needs with a robust digital platform.

Evolve the membership benefits over time to continue delivering value to members.

Learn from successful loyalty programs:

•Build something uniquely tied to your brand, as Starbucks did. Their program aligns with their brand pillars of a great experience and premium coffee.

•Put members at the center of everything, like Caesars Entertainment did. They use data to personalize rewards and experiences for members.

•Make the program easy to use with simple benefits, like Starbucks did. This removes friction and creates positive experiences.

•Use data to understand members and personalize their experience. But keep the program simple. Complexity leads to failure.

•Turn gift cards and promotions into feeders for the loyalty program to gain new members, as Starbucks did.

•Recognize your most loyal customers and provide extra value to them. They drive a considerable portion of your revenue.

•Evolve benefits over time based on members' needs and behaviors. Continue delivering on your brand promise.

•Bridge the gap between transactional and Membership models. A loyalty program can help a transactional org become more membership-focused.

Does this help summarize the key points from the article? Let me know if you wantwant me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary:

• American Express has always focused on providing Membership and premium service to its customers, called “Card Members.”

• The company’s “Membership Has Its Privileges” campaign ran from 1986 to 1991 and helped cement the brand as a premium membership organization.

• While American Express still provides premium membership tiers, it has broadened its focus to become more inclusive and appeal to a broader range of customers. It still maintains prudent lending standards.

• For example, American Express launched the Amex EveryDay Credit Card to appeal to busy people juggling work and family life. Although these customers would have qualified for other AmEx cards, they didn’t think AmEx had a product for them. AmEx designed the new card to meet their needs.

• Loyalty among existing members is strong, but American Express needs to acquire new customer segments to continue growing and staying relevant. Membership has evolved to serve a broader range of members’ needs.

• The company focuses on providing premium services unmatched by competitors. It calls customers “Card Members” to emphasize that they are American Express membership program members.

• Membership and service to members are at the core of everything American Express does. The company has reinvented Membership to match members’ changing needs while staying true to the brand promise.

• American Express is an example of a mature Membership Economy company that has gracefully evolved its membership model in response to members. It shows what fully embracing Membership at the core can achieve.

Here's a summary:

• American Express and T-Mobile are membership-based companies that aim to build loyalty by serving their customers well.

• American Express focuses on providing benefits and services to cardholders. It has a long history of innovation to serve various customer segments. For example, it started Small Business Saturday to support small businesses and help them gain more customers. It also offers prepaid cards for underbanked customers who can't qualify for traditional credit cards.

• T-Mobile transformed the wireless industry by eliminating two-year contracts and simplifying its pricing. This "uncarrier strategy" was a bold move that paid off. The company's mission is to help customers build more prosperous relationships, but its offerings and practices didn't align with that mission. So, T-Mobile changed its model to focus on its customers' needs and make them love the company.

• T-Mobile's CEO and team asked themselves how they would feel as customers and what was bothering customers. They eliminated contracts, simplified pricing based on data needs, and gave employees more latitude to delight customers.

• Both companies focus on the pain points that matter most to their customers. They are data-driven but willing to take calculated risks to better serve customers in the long run. Different customer segments have different needs, so these companies continuously innovate to reach them.

• The critical lesson is that membership brands must put customers first by understanding their needs, simplifying the experience, granting employees the power to address pain points, and being willing to take risks to build loyalty.

Here's a summary:

• Carriers are often criticized for not being responsive to customers, even though they operate in a highly fragmented industry. Most carriers have focused primarily on acquiring new customers through low pricing, making retention more difficult.

• T-Mobile tries to differentiate itself by focusing on the customer experience. It implemented a follow-up call program where the sales rep calls new customers two weeks after purchase to ensure they're satisfied. This has increased customer satisfaction, additional in-store visits, and more revenue. T-Mobile sees stores as a way to build relationships, not just make sales.

• To succeed in the membership economy, big companies must focus on members, not bureaucracy or competition. They need a clear brand promise to support members, understand their needs, and be willing to differentiate. Staying close to members helps companies evolve and meet needs. Simplifying pricing and solving members' problems are also crucial.

• Small organizations can benefit from the membership economy by focusing on a specific audience. They can use technology to operate affordably and build community. Examples include a nail salon with a membership program, Yelp, and Foursquare. Loyalty programs, community platforms, and engaging members between in-person interactions can help small businesses. Personal connections and combining online and offline channels are essential.

• Kepler's Books, an independent bookstore, was rescued by implementing a membership program after being threatened economically. Locals organized to restructure and raise funds to reopen the store. A membership program and community events have helped sustain it. The current plan is to turn Kepler's into a member-owned business, with nonprofits managing events. The community has funded the nonprofit's startup costs.

• The examples show nearly any business can benefit from the membership economy by building community, unlocking value, and generating revenue. Small organizations can leverage technology, personal connections, and multi-channel engagement to serve members. With creativity, any organization can implement membership models.

Here is a summary:

Kepler’s Books is an independent bookstore that has transitioned to a membership model to stay competitive. It looked to its community for funding and support.

Kepler’s has gone beyond a typical loyalty program and built Membership into its whole model. It provides an example for small businesses and consultants to build communities around their unique value.

Alan Weiss, the “Million Dollar Consultant,” has built a thriving community and membership program. Members pay for access to resources, events, and a network. Over time, the community has generated more value, allowing Weiss to focus less on delivery.

Small businesses and consultants can learn from examples like Kepler’s and Weiss. They show you don’t need significant resources to build Membership. The key is determining member value and building around that.

Professional associations, nonprofits, and trade groups have long been in the Membership Economy. Though different from for-profits, they provide lessons, including:

•Focus on a mission but reinvent to stay fresh.

•Governance models can be cumbersome; goals are hard to measure.

•Susceptible to disruption from targeted for-profits.

•Need to provide value to members constantly.

•Scalability is a significant challenge. Collaboration and partnerships can help.

•Can benefit from for-profit best practices like customer focus, marketing, and product development.

For-profits can also learn from nonprofits’ mission focus, vision, and membership cultures. There are opportunities for partnership and collaboration.

The summary touches on the main highlights from the examples and lessons provided regarding Membership for small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, professional associations, and trade groups. Please let me know if you want me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary:

•Nonprofits and associations face challenges in delivering their mission while adapting to changes. Established ones have had to revamp obsolete programs and processes.

•APPO is a small, new professional association that has bootstrapped its way to success. It provides value to members through best practices, resources, and certifications. It has kept costs low and grown through word-of-mouth.

•The Sierra Club is a large, established environmental advocacy group. It has many members but loose connections with them. It is rethinking Membership to attract and engage more members.

•The Sierra Club aims to provide more benefits beyond advocacy, including lifestyle benefits and access to an online activism platform. This follows the model of other large advocacy groups that have scaled effectively.

•Functional benefits are good for attracting members. Advocacy can then come later.

•Michelle Epstein, from the Sierra Club, believes organizations should over-deliver on the promise of Membership. They need to provide connection, benefits, and identity to members beyond a single benefit.

•Monthly donors and an active membership base are goals for the Sierra Club. Only 5% of members are monthly donors, compared to 50% for Greenpeace.

•The Sierra Club started as an exclusive club requiring member nominations. It later adopted more open membership recruitment and became more of a database than a close-knit community. The new initiatives aim to strengthen the community.

Here are the key takeaways from how LinkedIn got started:

• Establish a clear brand identity and vision for the long-term organization. LinkedIn founders thought about the culture and business model they wanted to build.

• Focus on a “forever transaction.” LinkedIn aimed to provide ongoing value to members from the first point of signup. This is key for any membership model.

• Consider language carefully. LinkedIn referred to members, not users, because Membership and community were central to their vision.

• Start with a valuable free offer to gain critical mass. LinkedIn began as a free professional network, building up members through invitations and word-of-mouth before launching paid offerings.

• Think about revenue models early. Although LinkedIn started as a free network, the team knew subscriptions would be part of the long-term business model. They built the platform with that in mind.

• Make it easy for members to spread the word. LinkedIn optimized the experience so new members would see the value for themselves and invite other professionals to join the network.

• Keep it simple. At the start, LinkedIn focused on capturing professional relationships and connections. They didn’t aim to capture all of a member’s content and profile details right away. They started.

• Test and iterate. LinkedIn made changes and improvements over time based on member feedback and behavior. Starting simple allowed them to see what worked before investing heavily in new features.

The key is to start with a clear vision, provide initial value to attract members, make it easy for them to spread the word, keep the offering simple while planning for revenue models, and continue testing and making improvements over time. With the right approach, building a large membership base, even with limited resources, is possible. The forever transaction mindset is critical for startup success in the Membership Economy.

Here is a summary:

Blue and Hoffman knew they could build long-term relationships with members, unlike dating sites. They saw people would use LinkedIn for 40 years if they provided continuous value.

  • Blue thinks Membership requires vetting and initiation to change someone’s status. It gives members access, value, and power. LinkedIn chose “member” over “user” to convey a lasting relationship.

  • LinkedIn started by letting people share resumes, then built a community. It grew from a narrow value to a broad set of services. It’s important to start simple with the right vision.

  • RelayRides had to convince strangers to share cars. It recruited members personally at first, then went viral. The CEO believes people will share with strangers. RelayRides built trust between people, then digitally. It started in cities, grew clusters, and adapted its model.

  • Facebook started at Harvard, where people knew each other. It grew cluster by cluster, where people trusted each other. With connections between members, it had more value.

  • Netflix focused on delivering 3 DVDs on hand. It promised a few benefits at a time. It kept its message simple instead of confusing customers. Picking one key benefit and a focused audience allowed it to deliver and build its model.

The key points are: Build long-term value and relationships. Choose membership language and status deliberately. Start simple with a vision for growth. Establish trust through personal outreach and then digitally. Target homogeneous groups where connections matter. Pick one benefit for a focused audience. Grow in clusters.

Here are the key lessons we can learn from Pandora's model:

  1. Focus on mainstream appeal from the outset. Do not go after an edgy or niche audience that limits growth potential. Pandora aimed for broad appeal to build a large membership base.

  2. Treat all members with respect and make them feel valued. Pandora views all listeners as members and communicates with them frequently. They aim to make personal connections and build loyalty.

  3. Build your brand through word-of-mouth and evangelism. Pandora's growth was primarily organic, fueled by happy members telling others about the service. They gave members opportunities and incentives to spread the word.

  4. Continuously reinvent to stay relevant. Although Pandora started with a brilliant idea, they have evolved the service to keep up with trends and member needs. They avoid complacency.

  5. Codify your membership principles and values. Pandora University and its membership principles help ensure all employees understand the importance of members and know how to serve them well.

  6. View communication as an opportunity, not a cost. Pandora aims to respond to every member communication to build stronger relationships personally. They see it as a valuable investment.

  7. Celebrate your members and give them opportunities to celebrate you. Pandora shares stories of meaningful member interactions to motivate employees. And they give members ways to express their fandom and spread enthusiasm.

  8. The acquisition funnel can be an hourglass, not just a funnel. Loyal members will recruit others, creating a virtuous cycle. Focus on delivering value and meeting their needs.

In summary, the key to Pandora's success and transition from a startup to a mature organization was building a mainstream membership, staying relentlessly focused on members, and giving them opportunities to spread a passion for the brand. By scaling through word-of-mouth and continuously improving based on feedback, Pandora proliferated while establishing itself as an industry leader.

Here is a summary:

• Pandora and Salesforce.com were early pioneers of the membership economy. They started as scrappy startups but successfully transitioned into mature companies.

• Pandora founder Tim Westergren held unscripted town hall meetings to build community. These helped spread word of mouth and gain new members. Westergren had a clear vision for the company, which helped guide its growth.

Salesforce.com used a “consumerization of the enterprise” strategy. It first targeted individual salespeople as customers, then leveraged their usage to sell to enterprises. This strategy helped the company gain critical mass.

Salesforce.com built a strong developer community through its AppExchange marketplace. This mitigated risk, drove innovation and strengthened the Membership.

• The transition from a startup to a mature company is challenging but critical. It would help to have a long-term plan, innovation, infrastructure, and leadership. Some successful startups still struggle or fail without managing this transition well.

• Being “cool” or “edgy” helps fuel early growth but is not a sustainable brand. Successful membership companies evolve into stable, innovative brands.

• Expand your membership funnel into an “hourglass” shape, engaging members more deeply.

• Once you’ve proven your model, focus on optimizing and innovation, not just acquisition. Continue evolving to avoid becoming outdated.

• Learn from the failures of companies like Yahoo, MySpace, and Ask Jeeves. Even successful startups can stumble if they don’t continue to innovate.

The key lessons are Have a vision. Build community. Focus on engagement. Continued innovation. Make a plan for long-term success. A strong start is insufficient—you must evolve into a mature yet dynamic organization.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Move aggressively to automate processes and build structure: Focus on standardizing and systematizing repetitive tasks and processes to maximize efficiency. Build frameworks and protocols to provide consistency.

  • Stay edgy to at least some people: Make a significant change to your offering or business model that appeals to early adopters or a subset of members eager for innovation. This could attract new members and generate buzz.

  • Capitalize on new mainstream benefits: With grander scale and maturity, look for ways to leverage your size and stability to provide benefits that only a large, established organization can offer. For example, partner with other major brands or provide greater credibility and authority.

  • Build protection from more prominent players: Be aware of larger companies in adjacent markets that could become competitors. Take proactive steps to strengthen your position before they focus on your market. Build strategic alliances, lock in critical partners, improve your data and analytics, invest in your brand, etc.

  • Transition from offline to online: This is a significant undertaking, so plan for challenges. Offer choices to transition members gradually. The online experience may differ significantly from the offline one. Be prepared to lose some members, but the opportunity to engage in new ways and reach new audiences is enormous.

  • Examples:

  • Weight Watchers: Gradually transitioned members online with choices. Online experience differed from offline meetings but was based on how members behaved online—huge success through constant testing and innovation.

  • News Corp: Focused on changing culture and mindset to match new digital opportunities. Developed Times+ and Sun+ paid membership and paywall offerings. Saw circulation was less critical than direct reader relationships. It was expanded globally.

The key recommendations here are Standardized and innovative. Strengthen your position for the future while capitalizing on current mainstream benefits. Make the significant transition to digital with care and vision. Transform your mindset and culture to match the new opportunities. The examples show how significant organizations have undertaken and benefited from these types of changes.

Here is a summary:

  • Businesses must transition from offline to online models to keep up with technological changes and customer expectations. This often requires completely changing their approach to delivering value.

  • Focusing on providing customers with a quality experience and lifetime value is critical. If there is enough value, customers will pay.

  • Constant experimentation and listening to customers can lead to innovations. The Field Museum partnered with a YouTube star who created videos for them, leading to more engagement with new audiences.

  • There is a shift from ownership models to access models. Customers want access to products and services without the responsibility of ownership. Companies like Adobe, Intuit, and Amazon have transitioned from selling one-time purchases to subscription services.

  • To transition to an access model, companies need to evaluate their core business and the benefits they provide to customers. They must understand how other companies provide similar benefits. The goal should be to reduce customers’ risks, costs, and hassle. Some short-term revenue loss is expected.

  • Adobe successfully transitioned from selling Creative Suite disks to a subscription Creative Cloud service. Despite complaints, they gained over a million subscribers in 6 months. Revenue is more predictable, and the subscription model encourages innovation.

  • Intuit transitioned from selling Quickbooks and TurboTax disks to online services. They focused on customers’ needs to reduce hassle and risk. Revenue declined initially but later grew much faster.

  • Amazon transitioned from an online bookseller to a subscription model with Prime. Members get free shipping, streaming media, and more for an annual fee. Revenue from subscriptions surpassed retail sales in 2016.

The key lessons are: to focus on customer experiences, reduce ownership hassles, experiment to find what works, and be willing to sustain short-term losses for long-term gains. Transitioning to access models built on subscription services or Membership can lead to more significant revenue, customer loyalty, and product innovation.

Here is a summary:

  • Adobe shifted from selling boxed software to a subscription model. Despite complaints, Adobe stuck with the new model and has thrived. While risky, Adobe’s approach was decisive and less expensive. Adobe might have had a smoother transition by supporting both models.

  • Like Adobe, Intuit moved from selling desktop software to offering QuickBooks Online as a subscription. Intuit’s transition was slower and supported both models to avoid losing customers. Intuit’s careful approach helped the transition succeed.

  • When moving from ownership to access, companies should consider the following:

  1. Rebuilding the product as a subscription, not a transaction. This often means starting over.

  2. Rethinking pricing based on the value of access over time.

  3. Communicating changes transparently to customers. Explain benefits and be honest if some won’t benefit immediately.

  • Amazon offers lessons in building Membership and community. Amazon Prime is a paid membership program that provides shipping and digital benefits to build loyalty. Amazon forums are free communities where members connect over shared interests. Woot, acquired by Amazon, has a devoted community that comments on daily deals.

  • Amazon invests in membership experiments because it sees the potential to build lasting customer relationships and turn customers into members. Amazon’s customer research provides a foundation for building community and Membership.

  • Technology has enabled new models like subscriptions that provide ongoing value to customers through access, new features, and service. Companies recognize subscriptions provide recurring revenue and closer customer relationships.

Here is a summary:

The membership model has enabled many businesses to transition to subscription and access-based models. While this can benefit both companies and customers, some customers may find the changes frustrating. Successful companies continue innovating their business models to provide ongoing customer value and differentiate themselves. They make transitions carefully to avoid upsetting loyal customers.

Some key points to consider:

  • Offer additional value to justify ongoing membership costs.

  • Support ownership models for subsets of loyal customers whose subscriptions need clarification.

  • Communicate clearly with stakeholders about changes.

  • Analyze impacts across customer segments.

  • Expect pushback and be prepared to respond.

Disruptive innovation can blindside successful companies. They may copy competitors' innovations quickly instead of planning a significant new response using their resources and relationships. Speed alone may not be enough.

LinkedIn and Airbnb are examples of disruptive companies:

  • LinkedIn provides free Membership and many benefits of professional associations. It has over 300 million members, 40% of whom use the site daily. It offers connections, jobs, content, and interest groups. It poses a threat to professional associations.

  • Airbnb unlocked the value in people's homes by enabling them to rent out spare rooms to travelers. It has disrupted the hospitality industry. Travelers get an authentic experience, and homeowners make extra money. Airbnb built a community around home-sharing.

Successful companies must return to their core missions, understand what members lack, and provide differentiated value. They may need to temporarily set aside legacy programs to reimagine members' needs and build on strengths to maintain relationships and brands.

Here's a summary:

Airbnb provides cheap room rentals and allows homeowners to open their homes to new acquaintances, building community and belonging. Airbnb sees itself as creating connections that can last a lifetime by tapping into people's desire to feel welcomed and belong. Airbnb's business model is not transactional but focused on belonging, resonating with consumers. Despite rapidly expanding and soon surpassing major hotel chains, Airbnb aims to provide a hospitality brand and the experiences of luxury hotels.

However, Airbnb's model could be disrupted. Businesses are disrupted by economic changes, new entrants, and sudden consumer behavior changes. If benefits are available elsewhere or irrelevant to members, if there's no critical mass for a network effect, or if legacy costs are passed to members, disruption is likely. Staying close to members and proactively evaluating new technologies and models can help avoid disruption.

Key lessons:

  1. The Membership Economy principles themselves can lead to disruption.

  2. Accessing stored value like underutilized assets can enable disruption.

  3. New technology can set the stage for disruption; organizations should adapt quickly.

To start transitioning:

  1. Reflect on what you learned and answer questions about what resonates, which strategies/examples grabbed you, your opportunities, risks of disruption, who can help, resources needed, and roadblocks.

  2. Discuss ideas with a few trusted colleagues.

  3. Start with a small test of the Membership Economy principles. Evaluate and scale successes.

  4. For content, community, and commerce companies, focus on unique and relevant benefits, curation, and community. Enable members to engage and shape the organization.

  5. For access-based businesses, leverage underutilized assets. For project/skills-based, focus on building trust and community.

Here's a summary:

• Set a manageable goal and start small. Pick something exciting that could have significant implications. Assign action items to build momentum.

• Build engagement and support. Make changes fun and reward contributions. Meetings should be creative and exciting.

• Tailor suggestions based on your organization type:

  • Online subscription: Ensure the model works before investing in marketing. Offerings, benefits, and members should align. Will members pay forever? Funnel working? Long and short-term strategies? Stick to one offer at first. High retention is critical.

  • Online communities: Start small, partner for critical mass, or pay active members. Engaged users will pay for new features—aggregate and sell data.

  • Loyalty programs: Incorporate loyalty into the whole business. Offer unique experiences, not just financial benefits. Redesign the program. Use data to improve and avoid cancellations.

  • Traditional Membership: Reconsider the mission and model. Acquire startups or do “skunkworks” projects to innovate. Ask how to crush your company. Continuous improvement.

  • Small businesses: Know your best customers. Build community. Customize. Focus on exclusivity and recognition.

  • Nonprofits: Reconsider offerings, fundraisers, and programs. What would a startup do? Look at cash-strapped startups as role models. Use data and access to members. Governance challenge: clear vision, plan, and metrics for the mission. Governing bodies ensure the plan and can fire the CEO.

The essential suggestions are Start small, build momentum and support; reexamine your model, offerings, and programs; look to startups and digital natives for inspiration; use your data and access; focus on your mission and metrics. Revamp loyalty and subscription programs. Provide unique experiences and customization. Partner or pay for critical mass Sell data Governance should focus on the mission and metrics.

Here's a summary:

•Build a membership model with a highly engaged base of members. Memberships provide stable revenue and the opportunity to build strong relationships.

•Focus on critical segments with a gap between the generic and the highly customized. Look for the opportunity to serve the "middle market."

•Use social media and community platforms to build connections, especially when people have a shared interest or passion. These connections can evolve into memberships.

•Deliver value through content, community, and subscription services. Offer lots of ways for people to engage and build loyalty.

•Make it easy for people to join by offering free trials and tiered pricing. Remove any barriers or friction in the signup process.

•Onboard new members to help them quickly achieve success and see the benefits. Engage and support them right from the start.

•Keep innovating and improving based on member feedback and trends. Stay connected to members and be responsive to their needs.

•Look outside your organization for support and advice. Connect with like-minded peers, mentors, and partners. Work together when possible.

•Keep learning and questioning assumptions. The membership model will continue to evolve, so stay on top of trends and make changes to adapt.

Does this help summarize the key points? Let me know if you wantwant me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary of your conversation with Bob Baxley on August 17, 2014:

  • Bob discussed how Pinterest's user base is predominantly female, yet the company leadership and engineering teams are male-dominated. This results in certain features and capabilities being prioritized over others that may be more relevant or appealing to the core user base.

  • You discussed recent social media site usage statistics from January to June 2014. The top sites were Facebook, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Pinterest had the highest growth rate at 47% compared to the previous year.

  • Bob talked about the importance of customer loyalty and how companies like Starbucks, Harrah's, and American Express have built very successful loyalty programs. Loyalty programs aim to make customers feel valued and encourage repeat business through rewards, recognition, and experiences.

  • You discussed new online learning platforms like Box and BaseCamp experimenting with subscription and membership-based business models. These companies find opportunities to supplement their offerings with additional resources, tools, and services that customers pay for continuously.

  • Bob explained how the scrapbooking company Creative Memories recently went out of business in the U.S. and Canada due to the rise of digital photo sharing and a shift from physical photo albums. However, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers co-founder has built a successful business helping people digitize and organize their printed photos.

  • You talked about the importance of scale for nonprofits and companies with a social mission. It is easier to achieve real impact by reaching a large enough number of people. Organizations must find ways to spread their message and engage more people in the cause.

Does this summary accurately reflect the main highlights and takeaways from your conversation with Bob Baxley? Let me know if you wantwant me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here is a summary:

  • Chicken-and-egg problem: The challenge of gaining a critical mass of members when a network depends on member contributions. LinkedIn addressed it through the freemium model.

  • Clayton Christensen: Noted author of The Innovator’s Dilemma; discussed competitive disruption.

  • Churches: Example of a membership organization.

  • Circulation: A key metric for media companies.

  • Clicktivism: Lack of meaningful action associated with people joining causes or groups online, often tied to inauthentic motivation or desire to virtue signal.

  • Cloud: Enables new digital membership models; provides data storage and flexible infrastructure.

  • Cohorts: Groups of people with common characteristics, experiences, or interests, e.g., original lead source cohorts based on how members first learned about the organization. Cohort analysis helps identify patterns.

  • Collective impact: Ability of membership organizations to pursue larger ambitions and drive significant change through a coordinated and collaborative effort across members and partners.

  • Commoditization: When products become indistinguishable, interchangeable commodities, e.g., due to oversupply or limited innovation. Can spur move to membership models.

  • Communication: Critical to building relationships and loyalty in membership organizations. It is enabled by technology.

  • Companies: Traditional membership companies like airlines, hotels, and retailers now compete with digital membership models. They drive loyalty through benefits and personalized service.

  • Competitive disruption: When new products, services, or business models upset an existing competitive landscape. Incumbents often struggle to respond effectively. LinkedIn disrupted job listings and recruiting.

  • Connected service customers: Customers expect personalized, convenient, and connected experiences across channels. They value access over ownership.

  • Consultancies: Example of a membership organization. Provide services to member companies, e.g., research, benchmarking, and networking—revenue from member fees.

  • Consumerization of enterprise: When consumer technology, interfaces, and expectations start influencing the business world. Enables digital membership models.

  • Content: Valuable to members and aids in driving loyalty and retention. Members often create and share content.

  • Cool factor: Important for some lifestyle brands and membership organizations. Conveys status and social currency. Can attract members seeking experiences.

  • CrossFit: Example of a cultlike membership organization using gamification and community.

  • Culture: Critical foundation for membership organizations to build. Relationship-centered, innovative, and focused on customer success. Enables loyalty.

  • Digital natives: Organizations built around digital products, experiences, and business models. Egnyte and SurveyMonkey are examples of native digital membership companies.

  • Discounts: A common benefit that drives loyalty in traditional membership models. Less valued by younger members who prefer experiences.

  • DVDs: Netflix’s original product before transitioning to the streaming membership model.

  • Fear of missing out (FOMO): Can motivate people to join membership organizations, especially lifestyle and social groups.

  • Forever transaction: Ongoing relationship between a member and organization, rather than a one-off exchange. The basis for membership models. Provides recurring revenue and rich data.

  • Free trial: A common onboarding tactic to allow people to experience value before committing to a paid membership. Important for digital membership models.

  • Friction: Any barriers, hassles, or points of difficulty that negatively impact the member experience or make it hard to accomplish desired goals. Reducing friction is critical to loyalty and retention.

  • Frontline employees: People in direct contact with members and customers. Essential for building relationships and loyalty in service-based membership organizations like airlines or hotels.

  • Gift cards: A benefit commonly provided by retailers and traditional membership companies. Less meaningful to younger, experience-focused members.

  • Griefers: Members who deliberately annoy or frustrate other members in online communities. It can damage experience and loyalty.

  • Hybrid personalization: Combines implicit data (behaviors, interactions) with explicit data (surveys, profiles) to personalize experiences for members—an essential capability for membership organizations.

  • Immediate value: The importance of members seeing and experiencing benefits quickly after joining to build loyalty, e.g., through onboarding techniques like gamification or rewards.


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