How a subscription model helps research publishers understand customer behaviour

  • March 27th, 2017

If you run a research business looking to take the next step in its digital development, the reasons for adopting a subscription-pay model are compelling:

  • Users can be offered a range of tools to maximise the value of their subscription
  • Content can be tailored to individuals
  • Costs can be fixed and income more accurately forecast
  • Security and renewal issues can be managed out

Throughout all these benefits runs a single golden thread that ties together and makes them possible – its analytical information.

The single most valuable aspect of adopting a subs model is how it enables publishers to reach a powerful new understanding of their customer behaviour, learn from it, and allow those messages to determine how the business develops in the future.

Content use

The beautiful part of moving to a subscription model is that the more users engage with a publisher’s content, the more the publisher understands about that material. That understanding can underpin decisions on which content to refresh regularly, which to market to particular groups, and where to focus its analyst’s time in the months and years to come.

  • What content is popular? Which isn’t? Should you create more popular material?
  • Does older content seem less popular? How can you refresh it to keep it relevant?
  • Which pieces of content are typically accessed together? What about creating a bundle?

The sell

Enhanced customer information doesn’t just make it easier to know which piece of content to author next, it can also provide compelling information on how, when, and what to sell to new and existing customers:

  • Sell content that’s more appropriate for particular audiences
  • Sell content that’s more appropriate for particular audiences
  • Is a customer renewal around the corner? Then why not incentivise this?
  • Is a user or group focusing on a particular topic or company? Then why not cross- and upsell related content?
  • Do you have a group of disengaged subscribers? Then use analytics to help work out a way of refocusing their attention or create an alert for a personal call and chat
  • Which account managers are doing well? What can the others learn from them?
  • Can you identify power users? What incentives can you offer for them to become your best advocate to the rest of their business?
  • What content is being authored, but rarely used or even seen?
  • Who are the popular analysts? Who writes the most popular content?

Analytics underpins every aspect of a smart publishing platform. It enables a subscription model to exist, but more importantly it adds incredible value to that subscription or produces the information to turn things around when renewals look like falling off.

Analytics helps powers the system. It keeps every key function running smoothly by revealing what works, what doesn’t, and what parts of the business are in need of enhancement.

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